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Detroit, Michigan Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Detroit, Michigan 

Where does Detroit get its water from?  The sources of supply to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department System are the Detroit River and Lake Huron. Water from the Detroit River is taken through the Belle Isle intakes and is treated at the Northeast and the Springwells Plants. The water taken from Lake Huron near the City of Port Huron is treated at the Lake Huron Treatment Plant. 

The Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority, incorporated in 1953, provides Detroit water through its member distribution systems to a population of 210,000 within a 56 square mile area. Current members are: Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Clawson, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Southfield and Southfield Township.   

Does Detroit add fluoride to their water? Yes, fluoride (A known neurotoxin) is also added to the water to prevent tooth decay. Is Detroit's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Detroit, MI

Contaminants Found in Detroit's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

Chromium (hexavalent)

Chromium (hexavalent) is a carcinogen that commonly contaminates American drinking water. Chromium (hexavalent) in drinking water may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater.

Nitrate

Nitrate, a fertilizer chemical, frequently contaminates drinking water due to agricultural and urban runoff, and discharges from municipal wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks. 

Radiological contaminants  

Radiological contamination of water is due to the presence of radionuclides, which are defined as atoms with unstable nuclei. In an effort to become more stable, a radionuclide emits energy in the form of rays or high-speed particles. This is called ionizing radiation because it displaces electrons, which creates ions. The three major types of ionizing radiation are alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. This utility detected Radium, combined (-226 & -228).

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform.

Fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added to drinking water by many water systems. The fluoride that is added to water is not the naturally occurring kind, the main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides” (i.e., hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate). Silicofluorides are not pharmaceutical-grade fluoride products; they are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry (Gross!). Since these silicofluorides undergo no purification procedures, they can contain elevated levels of arsenic — moreso than any other water treatment chemical. In addition, recent research suggests that the addition of silicofluorides to water is a risk factor for elevated lead exposure, particularly among residents who live in homes with old pipes.

Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

Health risks of Chromium (hexavalent) above health recommendations 

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.02 ppb for chromium (hexavalent) was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of Nitrate above health recommendations

Cancer:  The health guideline of 0.14 ppm for nitrate was defined in a peer-reviewed scientific study by EWG and corresponds to one-in-one-million annual cancer risk level.  Excessive nitrate in water can cause oxygen deprivation in infants and increase the risk of cancer.

Health risks of Radiological contaminants above health recommendations

Birth defects:  Depending on the stage of fetal development drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.

Health risks of Fluoride above health recommendations

Unknown:  A growing body of evidence reasonably indicates that fluoridated water, in addition to other sources of daily fluoride exposure, can cause or contribute to a range of serious effects, including arthritis, damage to the developing brain, reduced thyroidfunction, and possibly osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in adolescent males.

Health risks of Trihalomethanes above health recommendations 

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.8 ppb for trihalomethanes was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal, the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Contaminant Levels in Detroit, MI Compared to Other Regions

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Detroit, MI: 0.116 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Nitrate

 - Health Guideline: 0.14 ppb

 - National: 1.01 ppb

 - Detroit, MI: 0.430 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Detroit, MI: 40.8 ppb

Radiological contaminants  

No information available about this contaminant but it cannot be good. This utility detected Radium, combined (-226 & -228) & Uranium. Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. Drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.

Fluoride

 - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb

 - Detroit, MI: 0.540 ppb

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April Jones

A hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...

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