By Judy Reed
The City of Cedar Springs posted a public notice on their website earlier this month noting that in September 2015, they missed taking an extra water sample after total coliform bacteria was found in a routine water test.
According to DPW Supervisor Tom Stressman, they sample all three wells once a month, as well as four points in the water distribution system once a month. In August 2015, a routine sample tested positive for total coliform, which, according to the EPA, is a group of related bacteria that is not harmful (with few exceptions) to humans. Instead, the EPA considers total coliforms a useful indicator of other pathogens in the drinking water, such as bacteria, parasites and viruses. Total coliforms are used to determine the adequacy of water treatment and the integrity of the distribution system.
If a sample tests positive for total coliform, the water supply is required to collect no less than five routine samples during the next month, which would have been September. Instead, the DPW only collected four.
Stressman said that they had never before had a positive test for total coliform, so he called the Department of Environmental Quality about it. “They told me to take another sample, and it came back fine. But they didn’t tell me I had to take an extra one (the next month), instead of the normal four. But that’s on me; I take the blame for that. As director of the water department I should have known that,” he said.
They did, however, take five samples the following month, in October 2015.
“The City is making efforts to ensure that all sampling is conducted properly in the future,” it said in the public notice.
The Post also asked Stressman about the possibility of lead in the city water supply, with the problem in Flint being in the news. He said there would not be any chance of lead in our water supply. “We didn’t have any construction here when they used lead (in the pipes),” he explained.
They do, however, test for lead, along with other things. “We are on a three-year rotation for sampling for lead. With our history of no lead pipes in Cedar Springs, we were able to get on that three-year rotation,” said Stressman.
He also noted that he posted the water quality report early this year on the website for consumer confidence purposes. Residents can access it at http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org/2016/02/04/2012-water-quality-report/ or pick one up at City Hall.