New lab tests show Buena Vista water meets drinking-water standard

January 30, 2016

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BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, MI — Buena Vista Township officials received an email on Thursday, Jan. 28, informing them that township drinking water was “back in compliance with the drinking water standard.”

Bob London, of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, sent the email to Buena Vista Supervisor Dwayne Parker and Manager Dexter Mitchell.

“We received your latest lab results this morning, both of your TTHM sampling sites are averaging below 80 ppb,” London wrote.

TTHM, or trihalomethanes, are formed as a byproduct predominantly when chlorine is used to disinfect water for drinking.

Township residents were informed via a state-mandated letter in late December and early January about elevated trihalomethane levels. The results were from samples submitted for the Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 period.

Buena Vista’s drinking water, which is purchased from the city of Saginaw, is tested quarterly and of the seven samples, the township had to submit the two with the highest amount of contaminants. Also, the contaminated samples did not come from densely populated areas.

The standard for trihalomethanes is 80 pg/L, according to the letter and Buena Vista’s water tested at 83 pg/L.

Township officials informed residents that automatic flushers will be installed by June to circulate stagnate water. Officials are currently manually flushing the water.

“Even though you are currently back in compliance, you should still plan on conducting routine flushing for TTHM control as we discussed when we met on Monday,” London wrote. “As we discussed, flushing will be done manually until flushing devices are installed; after they are installed, cold weather flushing will be done manually, and warm weather flushing will be done automatically.”

Mitchell confirmed the township will continue to manually flush the water.

Buena Vista resident Verna Howard said she didn’t find out about the water issue until she read about it on MLive, but is now relieved to hear the problem is fixed.

“That’s a scary situation, especially with what’s going on in Flint,” she said. “But that’s good.”

The new data comes from samples taken this January, which began the new quarterly testing cycle. They do not reflect the quarterly average.

Bob Johnson is a reporter for MLive/The Saginaw News. Contact him at 989-395-3295, by email at or follow him on TwitterFacebook or Google+.

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