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City of Benton Harbor Utility Services Department’s 2014 Consumers Confidence Report

Contact Us:
Stewart A. Beach, Benton Harbor Water Plant (269) 927-8471
Darwin Watson, Benton Harbor Public Works/Utility Services Director (269) 927-8400
Kaye Jenkins, Utility Billing (269) 927-8400

WP

Water Plant Renovations are Complete

The Benton Harbor Water Plant is located in the southwest corner of Benton Harbor’s beautiful Jean Klock Park.  The Water Plant was constructed in the 1950’s as a complete treatment plant that includes chemical addition for disinfection and particulate removal; mixing and settling chambers; filters; a storage reservoir; and high lift pumps to distribute the water to the City of Benton Harbor. The water plant was aging and had experienced some failures.  The project took 2 years to complete. The principal contractor was Davis Construction with several sub-contractors, remodeled the existing plant and equipment and built the new treatment addition shown in the photograph.  There is a presentation of the project on the City of Benton Harbor’s Web Site at www.BentonHarborCity.com  The Project cost is just over $12 million and funding for the project is through the State of Michigan’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Funds, which feature low interest loans to Michigan water projects.  Additional funding was obtained from the Federal Government through the American Resources and Recovery Act, which will reduce the loan amount by 40%.   The Water Plant now has an anticipated life span in excess of 50 years and can properly treat up to 12 million gallons per day.

2014 Benton Harbor Water Quality Report

The Benton Harbor Water Plant uses Lake Michigan as its source.  There are presently 5 other water plants in Berrien County that use Lake Michigan as its source, including: New Buffalo, Bridgman, Lake Township, St. Joseph, and Benton Charter Township.  Lake Michigan is a surface water supply and is vulnerable to a wide range of contaminants. Because of this the EPA and MDEQ have very strict guidelines for the proper operation and testing of the water processed in these types of plants. Our Lake Michigan water is collected through a 36” pipeline that extends 4800 feet west of the water plant’s shoreline. The Benton Harbor Utility Service Department’s number one priority is to provide safe, high quality water to all of its customers.  In pursuit of that mission, we consistently meet, and often exceed, federal and state standards for safe water. 

The State MDEQ performed an assessment of our source water in 2003 to determine the susceptibility or the relative potential of contamination.  The susceptibility rating is on a six-tiered scale from “very-low” to “high” based primarily on geologic sensitivity, water chemistry, and contaminant sources.  The susceptibility of our source is moderately high.  This is due to the fact that the source water area for the Benton Harbor intake includes 1,236 potential contaminant sources, 121 listed potential contaminant sources within the susceptible area, plus urban and agricultural runoff from the St. Joseph River watershed in the St. Joseph River.  

General Health Information Provided by EPA

                                                                                                       
To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes limits on the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Contaminants that may be present in source water include:

  1. Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
  2. Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
  3. Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, storm-water runoff, and residential uses.
  4. Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organics, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also, come from gas stations, urban storm-water runoff and septic systems.
  5. Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or the result of oil and gas production and mining activities. In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations, which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immune-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their healthcare providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

National Primary Drinking Water Regulation Compliance
For more information about our water quality, or to receive an additional copy of this report, please contact Director of Utility Services, Stewart A. Beach (269) 927-8471 or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Tours of the Water Plant are easily arranged for school or community groups by contacting the plant.  For more information about safe drinking water, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at www.epa.gov/safewater

Water Quality Detect Tables

Benton Harbor water personnel routinely monitor over 80 potential contaminants in our drinking water according to Federal and State laws.  The following table lists detects of regulated contaminants found in our water for the year beginning January 1, 2014 and ending December 31, 2014, unless otherwise noted.


Regulated Monitoring at the Plant

Detected Substance Highest Level Allowed (MCL) EPA Goal Level (MCLG)

Highest Level Detected

(RAA)

Range 

Violation   Yes or No Date of Sample Likely Source of Contaminants
Arsenic 10* 0* Less than 2 ppb NA No 9/6/10

Erosion of natural deposits; Runoff from

Orchards; Runoff from glass and electronics production waste.

Nitrate (ppm) 10 N/A 1.5 ND to1.5 No 2/27/14 Naturally present in the environment.
Fluoride (ppm) 4 4 0.67 0.67 No 2/27/14 Water additive, which promotes strong teeth.

Chlorine

Residual

4 MRDL=4 1.73 0.9 to 3.8 No 2014 Disinfectant
TOC TT N/A 1.785 1.31 to 3.83 No 2014 Naturally present in the environment

 

Regulated Monitoring Distribution System (Stage 1 Disinfection Byproduct Rule)

Detected Substance

Highest Level Allowed (MCL) EPA Goal Level (MCLG)

Highest Level Detected/

(RAA)

Range 

Violation   Yes or No Date of Sample Likely Source of Contaminants
TTHM (ppb) 80 N/A 31 25.2 to 35 NO 2014 Formed when chlorine is added to water containing naturally occurring organic material
HAA5 (ppb) 60 N/A

64

 13 to 139 YES* 2014 Formed when chlorine is added to water containing naturally occurring organic material

*See “Public Notices Required for 2014

TTHM’s are Total Trihalomethanes and HAA5’s are Haleoacetic Acids.  We have completed a 1- year study of these Chlorine by-products in the City distribution system.  The results will dictate what sites we will sample from in the coming years to better assure the community that the waters are properly disinfected and do not pose a threat from these by-products.

Turbidity Monitoring at the Plant

Water Clarity Highest Level Allowed (MCL) EPA Goal Level (MCLG) Highest Level Detected Range  Violation   Yes or No Date of Sample Likely Source of Contaminants
Filter Effluent NTU

0.3* or no sample

above 1.00

N/A .21 0.03 to 0.21

No

2014 Soil runoff.

* Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of the water. 

Distribution System Monitoring Lead and Copper.  Last Official Test Date 2012

Detected Substance Highest Level Allowed (AL) EPA Goal Level (AL) 90 th Percentile Detected Range Sites Found Above AL Violation Likely Source of Contaminants
Lead  (ppb) 2012 15.0 0 5 0 to 38 1 No Corrosion of Household plumbing
Copper (ppb) 2012 1300 1300 200 0 to 670 0 No Corrosion of Household plumbing

Lead and copper monitoring began in the early 1990’s.  Testing was conducted in September 2012. 

If present, elevated levels of lead cab cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.  Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing.  Benton Harbor is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking.  If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested.  Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or at http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/index.cfm

Unregulated and Special Monitoring 2/26/2014

Detected Substance

Highest Level Allowed (MCL) EPA Goal Level (MCLG) Level Detected Likely Source
Sodium N/A N/A 16 Naturally present in the environment
Sulfate N/A N/A 39

Naturally present in the environment

Chloride N/A N/A 34

Naturally present in the environment, storm water

 

Definitions

MCL

 MCLG

 MRDL

 

 MRDLG

 AL

 PPM

PPB

NTU

N/A

RAA

TOC

TT

Maximum Contaminant Level: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water.  MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below, which there is no known or expected risk to health.  MCLG’s allow for a margin of safety.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level or MRDL means the highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water.  There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

Maximum residual disinfectant level goal, or MRDLG, means the level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health.  MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant, which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements, which a water system must follow.

parts per million or milligrams per liter (mg/l)

parts per billion, or micrograms per liter (ug/l)

Nephelometric Turbidity Units, a measure of the cloudiness of water

Not applicable

Running Annual Average.

Total Organic Carbon

Treatment Technique:  A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

 

Public Notices Required for 2014

MONITORING VIOLATION

During the monitoring period July 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014, Benton Harbor did not collect the required number of routine samples for disinfection byproducts (TTHM and HAA5).  We are required to collect these samples during the month of August.  Additional samples were collected in the next monitoring period (October 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014), in the required sampling month of November, and our sampling returned to compliance.  We are reviewing our monitoring schedule to ensure this does not happen again.

MCL VIOLATION

The City of Benton Harbor is required to sample for disinfection byproducts, which includes HAA5s, on a quarterly basis. The MCL for HAA5s is based on the Locational Running Annual Average (LRAA) which is the average of the past four quarter results. During May 2014, the City of Benton Harbor had a high irregular result but results since this sample have been below the MCL. Due to this irregular result, and the missed samples from the third quarter, we our running annual average for the fourth quarter 2014 was 64 ppb, which exceeds the MCL of 60 ppb.  Some people who drink water containing haloacetic acids in excess of EPA’s standard over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer. The City of Benton Harbor collected additional samples, as required, on February 19, 2015, and the results have put the City of Benton Harbor back into compliance. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER

Monitoring Requirements Not Met for City of Benton Harbor

We are required to monitor your drinking water for specific contaminants on a regular basis.  Results of regular monitoring are an indicator of whether or not our drinking water meets health standards.  During August 2014, we did not complete all monitoring for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs), and Haloacetic Acids (HAA5s); therefore, cannot be sure of the quality of our drinking water during that time.

What should I do?  There is nothing you need to do at this time.  This is not an emergency.  You do not need to boil water or use an alternative source of water at this time.

The table below lists the contaminant we did not properly test for during August 2014, how often we are supposed to sample for this contaminant and how many samples we are supposed to take, how many samples we took, when samples should have been taken, and the date we collected follow-up samples.

Contaminant Required sampling frequency Number of samples taken When all samples should have been taken Date additional samples were (or will be) taken
TTHMs  2 0 8/1/2014 to 8/30/02014 11/1/2014 to 11/30/2014
HAA5s 2 0 8/1/2014 to 8/30/02014 11/1/2014 to 11/30/2014

 

What happened?  What is being done?   We failed to collect the necessary TTHMs and HAA5s samples for the monitoring period August 2014.    Follow-up samples during the next compliance periods of November 2014 and  February 2015 brought the City back into compliance. For more information, please contact: Stewart A. Beach at 269-927-8471

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

This notice is being sent to you by the City of Benton Harbor.

<!--p>Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immune-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their healthcare providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

National Primary Drinking Water Regulation Compliance

For more information about our water quality, or to receive an additional copy of this report, please contact the Water Superintendent, Stewart A. Beach (269) 927-8471 or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..