Drinking Water

Monitoring Requirements for Noncommunity Water Supplies

The owner of a public drinking water supply system is responsible for making sure all required water samples are collected and reported to the health department in a timely manner. All procedures must be strictly followed when collecting samples and sending them in for analysis. All samples must:

  • Be taken at the proper location (A specific sampling site plan is established during the sanitary survey and documented in the sanitary survey report.)
  • Be analyzed at a State of Michigan certified laboratory
  • Have the laboratory analysis paperwork fully completed and contain accurate information

If the owner or collector of the water samples does not follow proper procedures, the health department can reject the sample results and require the owner to resample. If the sample is not taken within the specified monitoring period, a monitoring violation is to be issued.

Sampling requirements are tied to the water supply classification, population served, source of water, past sample results, vulnerability of the water supply, and results of the last sanitary survey. Reduction in sampling requirements may be authorized by the health department if a sanitary survey is conducted at least every five years, the survey results in a compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the previous monitoring requirements have been met, and water quality history indicates no problems.

Coliform is a type of bacteria that is used as an indicator of the sanitary quality of drinking water. Coliform bacteria are present in great numbers in human and animal waste, soil, and surface water. The presence of the organism in drinking water indicates potential for other harmful disease causing organisms having entered the water supply. Repeat sampling is required if a routine test indicates the presence of the organism. If repeat testing confirms the presence of Coliform, an alternate source of water must be supplied and the public must be notified. The presence of E.coli or fecal Coliform is a more serious situation than the presence of total Coliform alone. E.coli or fecal Coliform presence indicates that human or animal fecal material has contaminated the water system and any ingestion of this water poses a serious health threat.

Nitrate (NO3) is an inorganic chemical and a form of nitrogen combined with oxygen. It can be converted in the body to Nitrite (NO2). Nitrate can get into water if a well is improperly constructed or located where it is subject to contamination sources. Typical sources of nitrate include: sewage disposal systems, run-off from barnyards or fertilized fields, industrial wastes, or nitrates that are naturally occurring in the soil, as found in some parts of Michigan. Because nitrate contamination can be related to human, animal, or industrial waste practices, excessive levels of nitrate in drinking water may indicate potential for the presence of other types of contaminants that may cause health problems.

In addition to Coliform bacteria and nitrates, nontransient water supplies are required to sample for the following parameters on a routine basis:

  • Arsenic
  • Metals
  • Cyanide
  • Lead & Copper
  • Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
  • Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs)

The frequencies for each facility are assigned based on risk to population, well construction, isolation to contamination sources, historic sample results and sanitary surveys.

Inorganic sampling includes: Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Cyanide, Lead, Mercury, Selenium, and Thallium.

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) samples include: Benzene, Carbon tetrachloride, 1,2-dichloroethane, Trichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, Para -dichlorobenzene, Cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, Ethylbenzene, O-dichlorobenzene, Styrene, Tetrachloroethylene, Toluene, Trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, Vinyl Chloride, Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane, 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, 1,2-dichloropropane, and Monochlorobenzene.

Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOC) samples include: Alachlor, Aldicar, Aldicarb sulfoxide, Aldicarb sulfone, Atrazine, Benzo(a)pyrene, Carbofuran, Chlordane, Di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate, Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, Dibromochloropropane, Dinoseb, Dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD), Endrin, Ethylenedibromide, Heptachlor, Heptachlor epoxide, Hexachlorobenzene, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, Lindane, Methoxychlor, Oxamyl (vydate), Pentachlorophenol, Picloram, Polychlorinated biphenyls, Simazine, Toxaphene, 2,4-D, 2,4,5-TP silvex.

Helpful Links

Sampling techniques
MDEQ Sampling Factsheets

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311 E. Alcott St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49001

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