Drinking Water

Sanitary Surveys

At least once every five years, a sanitary survey / source water assessment is conducted for each noncommunity water supply by the local health department. A sanitary survey is a comprehensive inspection of the well, pumping equipment, distribution, and any treatment equipment to assess the potential for contamination to enter the water system. A written report is provided and if deficiencies are found, a compliance schedule is worked out with the owner to correct the problems. Sampling requirements may be increased in the interim.

The sanitary survey is a visual inspection of all parts of the water supply. The inspection will start at the water well and continue through the facility.

Water Well: The well is inspected for construction deficiencies. The well cap, conduit line and screened vent must be securely in place to prevent contamination. The well should be properly isolated from major sources of contamination such as sewage treatment systems, fuel storage tanks, chemical storage areas, etc.

Storage/Treatment: Storage tanks are inspected for leaks or corrosion. The tanks must be sized properly to insure the well pump runs efficiently. Treatment systems are evaluated for effectiveness and inspected to insure no cross connections have been installed.

Distribution: The distribution system is inspected for leaks, corrosion/scale problems, cross connection issues and backflow prevention devices.

Records: Record retention is important for facilities to maintain operations. A water well record should be kept in the facility for a well driller to use if a problem arises. All water sample results should be kept in accordance with the schedule provided by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Sampling: Water sampling locations are determined for all groups. The frequencies may be changed after a thorough review of the water sampling history.

Contacts: Changes to contact information should be directed to the local health department as soon as possible.

What to look for between surveys (Self inspection)

As an owner, employee, or customer, you may observe situations that can lead to contamination of the water supply. Recognizing common problems and bringing them to the attention of the individuals responsible for the water system can prevent future contamination. The following are general areas of concern:

  • The top of the well should be 12 inches above grade and not subject to flooding or ponding of surface water. Damage from snow plows, lawn mowers or vehicular traffic may open the well to contamination. The well cap should be tight fitting, sealed to prevent entrance of water, debris, bugs and rodents, and have a screen on the vent. This inspection should be performed monthly.
  • The pumping and storage equipment for the well and distribution system must be of approved design and be located in approved areas. Check for leaks around the storage tank and fix all leaks immediately. Corrosion of water pipes will lead to water quality problems.
  • The distribution system must be constructed of approved piping materials and installed properly. The water supply must also be protected against contamination by the proper installation of approved backflow prevention devices on equipment such as boilers and sprinkler systems, machines using chemicals and hose connection. Verify all backflow prevention devices are working properly annually. Replace hose bibb vacuum breakers annually.
  • If there is a water treatment device, such as a softener, chlorinator, filter, etc., it must be operated properly, in accordance with manufacturer's specifications and state regulations. Filters should be changed as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Any well that has its use permanently discontinued, is in such poor repair it cannot be used or is a threat to the groundwater resource is considered to be abandoned. If there is an abandoned well on the property, the law requires that it be plugged in accordance with State regulations. If you have such a well on your property, you should contact a registered well drilling contractor or the local health department to find out what must be done to properly plug the water well.
  • All plumbing upgrades necessitate the collection of a Coliform bacteria sample. There is a high potential for contamination of the water supply during the installation of new faucets, toilets, etc.

Contact Us

311 E. Alcott St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49001

269-373-5333 (FAX)
269-373-5200 (HCS main line)


8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday thru Friday

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