Michigan’s Underground Storage Tanks are Raising Concern

Legacy tanks typically store fuel and other hazardous chemicals underground. These tanks generally receive a little-to-no maintenance and were buried before strict regulations were established.

Experts are concerned about the chemicals leaching into municipal drinking water.  A recent fuel leak in Flat Rock was suspected to be caused by a pair of underground steel tanks. The fuel spread to the Huron River by a tributary, as spotted by a fisherman.

After a swift cleanup and containment efforts (such as closing the park), the Flat Rock tanks are a microcosm for a much more significant issue throughout the entire state. Over 8,000 underground storage tanks are potentially leaking, according to the state of Michigan.

Jill Greenberg, an employee of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, said, “Of the 24,000 contaminated sites, 8,000 are leaky underground storage tanks. If there’s a property transaction and the owner knows about contamination, they are legally required to disclose it.”

Companies that are no longer in business are notorious for abandoning tanks as far back as 100 years ago. Greenberg suggested a need for heavier funding to address the unregistered sites, such as those in Flat Rock. However, state leaders anticipate a budget of $163 million to locate and remedy the tanks that have slipped through time.

The overwhelming feeling at the state and federal levels is that these storage tanks pose an urgent crisis that cannot continue to be ignored. Some representatives believe infrastructure dollars should be used toward the tanks.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) said, “EGLE inherited an outdated it system that heavily relied on paper records. We are in the process of upgrading our system and that will allow us to categorize, cross reference and track the contaminated properties we know about.”

United States Representative Debbie Dingell said the tanks in Flat Rock were 100 years old and said, “Nobody had a record of them. I’m sure there’s situations like that all over the state.”

The State of Michigan’s Office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is working in conjunction with EGLE to address the tanks. Unfortunately, holding current property owners accountable is fruitless, since many of the tanks were abandoned decades ago. Regardless, regulations should be established now to minimize surprises in the future.

Are you worried about chemicals in your water? Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Toxic Chemicals Taint Metro Detroit Drinking Water

Flint and Benton Harbor have become notorious for their toxic drinking water, but they aren’t the only Michigan communities with bad water. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), millions of people throughout Metro Detroit are innocently consuming contaminated tap water with toxins linked to cancer, brain damage, liver disease, reproductive issues, nervous system problems, and more.

EWG is an independent nonprofit that advocates for a chemical-free world; the organization has been a pioneer in clean water, exposing the toxic truth throughout the United States. Through the past two years, 56 new contaminants have been found in drinking water, including PFAS, synthetic chemicals, pesticides, radioactive materials, and water disinfectant byproducts. 

A searchable database on the EWG website analyzes water quality for every ZIP code throughout America. The database was compiled from tap water quality reports. EWG is adamant that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water regulations are out of date, and levels permitted by the agency are dangerous to those who consume them.

Sydney Evans, an EWG science analyst, said, “Most people don’t realize how many contaminants are in their drinking water. That should be concerning to people. Most people think their water is perfectly safe and pure because it’s treated, but that’s not true.”

EWG used current, peer-reviewed research to compile their own drinking water safety standards, and the water supplies servicing the metro Detroit community far surpass the limits. Some of the toxic carcinogens found in drinking water throughout our state include hexavalent chromium, PFAS, radium, nitrate, haloacetic acids, and total trihalomethanes.

EWG president Ken Cook said, “The EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] has become very good at constantly reassuring the public that all is well with the water coming out of their taps. That message is music to the ears of the polluters who’ve fouled source waters and water utilities wary of treatment and infrastructure costs. But it’s just not true – and the EPA’s own scientists know it.”

The Safe Water Drinking Act, set in 1976, put the EPA at the helm of overseeing water quality; however, the federal agency has not set a new tap water standard in almost 20 years, and some standards are over forty decades old. No new contaminants have been added to its regulated list since 2000.

Throughout the 39 communities in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, ten or more contaminants exceeded EWG guidelines. In numerous communities throughout metro Detroit, three contaminants exceeded EWG limits by more than 100 times.

With outdated regulations, utilities can legally provide unsafe levels of toxic chemicals while assuring the public they are following the law.

Are you concerned about the unsafe levels of toxins in your drinking water? Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Drinking Water Shouldn’t Reek of Chlorine

When appropriately applied, chlorine added to drinking water should not result in any type of odor reminiscent of a pool party. When chlorine can be smelled in water, there are exceedingly high levels of toxic chemical compounds reacting together.

Typically, drinking water comes from natural sources such as lakes, rivers, and streams. It can also be recycled in water treatment plants throughout cities to remove leaves, dirt, fish, and other organic waste.

One of the primary treatment methods used to remove the organic matter is chlorine, which is super-effective at killing harmful organisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses, etc.) Cholera, dysentery, and chronic diarrhea outbreaks were common before water chlorination treatment. Unfortunately, using chlorine to disinfect water isn’t foolproof.

The amount of chlorine needed for water disinfection varies and teeters on a thin line between too much and not enough. If the water smells like chlorine, the water utility in charge of disinfecting might be trying to meet the EPA’s standards by creating “chlorine burnout,” to flush the system. When chlorine levels are high, chloroform can result, which causes chemically-induced asthma and pneumonia.

Chloramine is another chemical treatment companies use to disinfect water, mixed with ammonia. Studies show that more than one in five Americans ingest chloramine in drinking water. While chlorine evaporates quickly, chloramine is more stable and will last longer in the water. Chloramine also causes deterioration of municipal infrastructure because of water chemistry. With lead pipe water systems, the reaction between lead and chloramine can leak lead into the drinking water, faucets, and showerheads.

If you smell chlorine in your drinking water, contact the purification experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Distrust of Tap Water Results

Throughout the United States, an increasing number of Americans show signs of distrust in tap water. About 60 million did not drink their tap water in 2018, according to a study published by Pennsylvania State University researchers. This marked a 40 percent increase when compared to 2014.

The drinking water crisis that emerged in Flint prompted the rise in consumers questioning tap water purity. Despite assurances that the water was safe, scientists proved them wrong by conducting independent tests showing astonishingly high lead levels.

Though the water crisis in Flint was broadly publicized, other cities have struggled with lead in their water systems as well. Washington, DC, Chicago, Newark, Toledo, Ohio, and Charleston, West Virginia, have all been publicly grappling with drinking water emergencies.

Erik Olson, senior director of the National Resources Defense Council, said, “The fundamental problem with drinking water is that we continue to live off the investments of our great-grandparents. Most of the drinking water to this day is still delivered through pipes that are many decades old and treated with WWI-era technology. PFAS, found in everything from fast food wrappers to fire-fighting foams, are called ‘permanent chemicals’ because they don’t break down easily and can build up in people and animals.”

Concrete and cast-iron pipes can be over 125 years old; there are more than 250,000 water pipe breaks in the United States annually. When these pipes fracture, pathogens can contaminate water headed right into homes.  

The toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie affected Toledo, and a coal processing plant leaked chemicals from a storage tank in Charleston. Despite efforts by city authorities, advanced filtration systems still (or other pricy solutions) cause residents to be wary of drinking tap water.

“Dark Waters” is a 2019 film analyzing attorney Robert Bilott’s 20-year legal fight against DuPont. The manufacturing giant was knowingly discharging PFAS chemicals in Parkersburg, West Virginia, which caused cancer and immune system problems in humans and animals, including livestock. These “forever chemicals” are at the top of many peoples’ lists regarding tap water contamination. PFAS are present in the blood of 99 percent of humans. Environmental Working Group released an interactive map that shows the levels of PFAS contamination throughout the United States. 

Are you concerned about the number or type of chemicals in your drinking water? Let Reynolds Water Conditioning purify your water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

How Labs Are Working to Identify PFAS

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) are prominent environmental toxins found in countless products ranging from non-stick cookware, waterproof materials, cleaning products, fabrics, packaging, furniture, firefighting foam, and more. Thanks to its prevalence in industrial manufacturing, PFAS has infiltrated the global food chain and water supply. Studies have shown that more than 99 percent of the American population holds PFAS in their bloodstream. PFAS is known to cause various health issues, including cancer, liver issues, heightened cholesterol, lower infant birth weight, kidney disease, and much more.

While PFAS use is being diminished in commercial and manufacturing methods, these toxins are still widely used. Moreover, they do not break down through time, so those produced in the 20th century can still be found in our environment. There are new types of PFAS popping up frequently as industry sectors develop various products.

Soil and water supply are perfect areas for PFAS accumulation. To sample for PFAS, it is imperative to use instruments free from PFAS. There are several variants in samples, and current regulations define PFAS as a set list of contaminants. However, since evolving chemicals are constantly coming into play, there is an intensifying need for efficient analytical workflows that can spot PFAS with elevated precision or identify unidentified PFAS components in water samples.

Solid-Phase Extractions (SPE) analyze drinking water using LC-MS/MS. These techniques are time-consuming and complicated due to the use of a vacuum manifold and various chemicals. Human error can easily occur, boosting the risk of contamination. Now, new technologies for SPE are being implemented, which deliver unfailing results with minimal human interaction. This new automation process reduces the risk of contamination while simultaneously increasing overall efficiency. 

Monitoring and testing for PFAS contamination have improved thanks to recent advancements in mass spectrometry. Water testing laboratories have processes that are more cost-effective than before, achieving highly accurate results. Laboratories can now increase the range of possible objectives and more closely monitor false positives.

To learn more about PFAS or have your water tested, contact the water treatment experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

EPA Grants 1.2M to U-M to Study Wastewater Viruses

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted the University of Michigan researchers $1.2 million. The purpose of the funds is to study the efficiency of current wastewater virus removal treatments. One of the overall goals is to increase the viability of using wastewater as drinking water.

While existing technologies might be quite effective, they can be equally complex. By upgrading the water treatment facilities – particularly in drought-prone areas – reusing wastewater might be more realistic and practical.

Krista Wigginton, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, said, “In areas where water scarcity is becoming a growing concern, they may be forced to look at methods like desalination or potable reuse for their drinking water. If we make reuse rules too stringent, and we’re not giving treatment systems the proper credit for what they’re already removing from the water, we’re going to create a much more expensive project for communities.”

Wigginton will lead a three-year study to identify what aspects of water quality can be monitored in real-time. Using three methods (ozone, coagulation/flocculation/sedimentation, and biological wastewater treatment), the researchers will evaluate whether viruses are effectively removed during those processes. 

Contaminated and strained water resources combined with a rising global population are determining factors for treating and reusing wastewater as drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, half of the global population will reside in “water-stressed” areas. In the United States, countless regions are experiencing lengthy droughts that compromise water supplies.

The EPA said, “The changing climate is challenging many communities to meet their long-term water needs. Reuse of treated wastewater and stormwater for agricultural, nonpotable or even potable uses provides an alternative source of water that can be more reliable than traditional water sources.”

Wigginton said, “We may actually be better at virus removal than we already know. For some of these processes, like ultraviolet light, we already have robust models for predicting how they eliminate viruses. But for others that may not have been studied as much, we don’t have these models. We want to correct that.”

Are you interested in purifying your water? Contact Reynolds Water Conditioning Co. today to learn how we can improve your water.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

EPA Issues First PFAS Regulations

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is focused on distinguishing chances to better protect public health and the environment. Recently, the EPA unveiled the Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15, which aims to reduce chemicals in wastewater.

In an effort to lower toxins from specific industries, the EPA enacted three new rules or guidelines to reduce per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other pollutants.

Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for Water, said, “To protect drinking water supplies, recreational waters, and aquatic ecosystems, it is essential that we utilize the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs in wastewater treatment. Importantly and for the first time, EPA is committing to limit PFAS in wastewater discharges.”

The two standards for PFAS pertain to the following industries:

  • Metal finishing industries are to remediate PFAS discharges from chromium electroplating facilities
  • Industries manufacturing organic chemicals, plastics, and synthetic fibers to clean up PFAS runoff from buildings manufacturing the chemical

Nutrient discharges from meat and poultry product industries are also to be addressed. Also included in the report was the steam electric power generating category. The EPA will consider reinforcing the already-strict limits which apply to coal power plants regarding waste streams used to produce electricity.

PFAS are man-made substances used in industrial settings to create thousands of products worldwide. Dubbed “Forever Chemicals,” these chemicals do not break down over time and are extremely persistent in the environment. Found in the blood of 99.9 percent of human beings across the globe, it’s impossible to reverse exposure to PFAS.

Present in everyday household items, food, drinking water, living organisms, workplace facilities, and much more, PFAS are found in carpet, Teflon products (cookware, Scotchguard, etc.), leather, apparel, rubber plastics, paper, packaging, and so much more. The list is seemingly endless.

PFAS is an emerging issue because it has been found to create a host of health issues in living beings, including humans. Adverse health effects include problems with the reproductive system, developmental and fetal complications, immune system impediments, autoimmune disease spikes, thyroid hormone disruption, and cancer.

To reduce PFAS from your drinking water, contact the treatment experts at Reynolds today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Ohio’s Chippewa Lake Celebrates Two Years Sans Algal Blooms

Ohio’s largest inland natural lake, Chippewa Lake, is commending its method of algal bloom treatment by celebrating the second anniversary of complete remediation. BlueGreen Water Technologies issued a press release explaining how their treatment halted five years of sky-high toxicity levels in the lake. The treatment product, called Lake Guard® Blue, removed the toxic algae in only 24 hours and marked the first full-scale United States implementation.

Dr. Moshe Harel, BlueGreen CSO, said, “The success of BlueGreen’s treatment in Chippewa Lake was achieved through a change of phytoplankton composition: the Lake Guard® Blue effectively removed the toxic cyanobacterial species to boost the “immune system” of the lake. By increasing the diversity of beneficial phytoplankton species and restoring the lake to a healthy ecosystem, we have prevented the resurgence of the harmful cyanobacteria.”

Professor Aaron Kaplan, Chair of BlueGreen’s Scientific Board, said, “This event is a milestone along BlueGreen’s road of achievements. The fact that Chippewa Lake remains clean while all other lakes in the region are under harmful algal bloom alert speaks for itself.”

BlueGreen was named the Global Water Awards’ “2021 Breakthrough Technology Company of the Year” by Global Water Intelligence (GWI) and operates on a global scale to identify and remedy toxic blue-green algae blooms.

Dr. Waleed Nasser, Director of Operations of BlueGreen US, said, “The significance of this milestone cannot be overstated, as recurring toxic blooms can be so devastating to communities like Chippewa Lake.”

Do you want to ensure your water is clean, pure, and refreshing? Contact the water treatment experts today at Reynolds Water Conditioning.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

America’s Water Towers Are Contaminated

A recent article published by USA TODAY investigates the issues with water towers across America. This in-depth analysis is imperative, as most Americans take clean water for granted. Water towers generally serve as the most visible – and vulnerable – point in public water supplies. Openings as tiny as a few millimeters could be a factor in the difference between consuming clean or contaminated water.

Investigators are known to find dead snakes, mice, and raccoons floating in water storage tanks, along with pigeon feces and other animal excrements. Experts estimate that contaminated tap water causes tens of millions of illnesses yearly, leading to nearly 1,000 deaths throughout America; however, the number of deaths caused by water tower contamination is unknown, as this is not tracked.

USA TODAY and Indiana University’s Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism started a joint investigation that found disparities in water tank management. As a result, the public is at risk for multiple risks, especially in the absence of federal regulations. Each state has the authority to determine how to handle inspection frequency, cleaning, and more. Surprisingly, some states appear to have no rules whatsoever. Some are only checked every three to five years due to federal law.

Enforcement of the rules can be lax; a city investigation stemmed from customer complaints found a 50-year maintenance gap in Delray Beach, Florida. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, water storage tanks must be inspected and cleaned every five years. The water storage tank of Delray Beach, Florida, had not been cleaned since it was built in 1972.

“Nobody could remember a time when those [water] tanks were cleaned,” said George Gretsas, Delray’s city manager at the time, after inquiring with staff members. “It’s widespread corruption within the utilities department. They regularly cover themselves up,” he added.

Some examples of water tank maintenance across the United States:

  • In 1993, 650 people were sick – seven died – from a salmonella outbreak in Gideon, Missouri. Apparently, bird droppings entered the water tank through a vent.
  • Roughly 1,300 people were sick, and one died, after a salmonella outbreak in 2008, stemming from the water storage tank in Alamosa, Colorado.
  • Two five-year-old boys died in 2002 after bathing in tap water contaminated by Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic organism that infects the brain. In an investigation, a chlorinated water storage tank in Peoria, Arizona, was found to be the culprit.

There are countless stories regarding contaminated water tanks and millions of cases of gastrointestinal or respiratory illnesses that people inadvertently got from their drinking water.

Read the full report from USA TODAY to learn more. To purify your drinking water and protect yourself and your family from contaminants, contact the experts at Reynolds today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Michiganders Advised to Avoid Foam on Lakes and Rivers

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a press release warning residents to stay clear of foam on Michigan lakes, rivers, and streams. The foam is typically associated with bacteria or chemicals, specifically per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which resembles shaving cream and is bright white. The foam can blow onto beaches and pile up on shorelines. In contrast, naturally-occurring foam is typically seen in bays, eddies, or river barriers. It’s also off-white or brown and smells somewhat earthy or fishy.

Rinse or wash off foam as soon as contact is made, especially if PFAS contamination is suspected.

PFAS is an emerging toxic chemical and can be found in:

  • Food: packaged, processed, or grown in PFAS-contaminated areas
  • Household products: stain and water repellent fabrics, nonstick products (Teflon), waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a significant source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases)
  • Workplaces: production facilities or industrial buildings using chrome plating, electronics manufacturing, or oil recovery
  • Drinking water: near manufacturing plants, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, firefighter training facilities
  • Living organisms: fish, animals, humans, etc., where PFAS can build and persist over time.

PFAS can cause a multitude of health issues and are dubbed as “Forever Chemicals” because they never break down once they are released into the environment. PFAS are found in 99.9% of all Americans’ blood. They build up in our blood and organs, increasing the risk of cancer, harms fetuses, changes liver enzymes, increases cholesterol levels, while decreasing vaccine response in children, and more.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS said, “Although current science shows that the risk of PFAS getting into your system from contact with skin is low, you can minimize exposure to PFAS by rinsing or showering after you are done with your recreational activities. In general, washing hands and rinsing off after swimming will help to protect people from chemicals and bacteria that may be in waterbodies.”

MDHHS recommends people of all ages steer clear of foamy water, including young children. PFAS foam typically has a much higher concentration of chemicals than what is generally seen in everyday environments. Dogs and other pets should also not come in contact with – or swallow – the foam.

To remove PFAS from your drinking water, contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.