Drinking Water in Private Wells along Kalamazoo River impacted by the Oil Spill Not Harmful to Health

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112


LANSING - The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has finalized the Public Health Assessment evaluating groundwater used as residential drinking water along the stretch of the Kalamazoo River impacted by the July 2010 oil spill in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties. MDCH has concluded that people drinking water from private wells will not be harmed by oil-related chemicals. This report contains responses to comments received during the summer 2012 comment period.

Oil-related organic chemicals were not detected in samples taken from wells used for drinking water. Two oil-related inorganic chemicals, iron and nickel, were detected in a few wells, but not at levels that would be expected to cause health effects. Iron and nickel are naturally occurring and have been found before in wells from Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties.

Arsenic and lead, which were not in the crude oil of the spill, were found in some wells at levels that could cause health effects after long-term exposure. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal and lead could be naturally occurring or be present in residential plumbing. The Calhoun County Health Department and Kalamazoo County's Health and Community Services Department, and the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Community Health are available to discuss water sampling results and ways to reduce exposure to these chemicals with residents.

MDCH invites the public to read the Public Health Assessment available at: http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-54783_54784_56159-263152--,00.html. Copies also are available at the following locations:

  • Marshall District Library, located at 124 W. Green St. in Marshall
  • Willard Library, located at 7 W. Van Buren St. in Battle Creek
  • Galesburg Memorial Library, located at 188 E. Michigan Ave. in Galesburg

The MDCH's Division of Environmental Health conducted this Public Health Assessment as part of a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Information concerning the human health effects of exposure to environmental contaminants can be found online at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp.

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