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Drinking Water Contamination

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Drinking Water Contamination

Drinking water is healthy! But drinking water can become contaminated through natural and human activity. Contaminated drinking water can be unhealthy. Learn more by visiting the US Environmental Protection Agency Report on the Environment Drinking Water page.

How Water is Contaminated

Natural sources. Naturally-occurring contaminants can be found in rocks and soil that groundwater and surface water run through or over. This water eventually becomes our drinking water.

Industry and agriculture. Human-made contaminants such as pollution from manufacturing facilities, agricultural runoff, and improper waste disposal can contaminate drinking water.

Treatment and distribution. Type 1 community public water supplies will sometimes treat water to remove contaminants. However, these treatments can sometimes react, creating a harmful chemical or substance (byproduct) or causing problems with the pipes that the water flows through. Regular water testing and treatment generally remove or reduce contamination and make sure the water chemistry is safe for the pipes.

Improper private residential well maintenance. A private residential well system that is not properly maintained can lead to drinking water contamination. Your wellhead and well cap keep polluted rainwater, insects, and small animals from getting into the well. If these get in through cracks and openings on your wellhead or well cap, it can make your water unhealthy.

Diagram showing how contaminants such as chemicals in fertilizers, road salt, industrial waste, and the natural environment can make their way into your home's drinking water. - Click for Larger ImageIllustration of home with embedded images of a kitchen faucet, bathroom faucet, water valve, and water pipes.

Your home’s plumbing. Your own home’s plumbing can also be a source of contamination in your drinking water. Faucets, fittings, valves, and pipes can be made of materials, like lead, that can harm your health. As water moves through plumbing, some plumbing material can dissolve or pieces can break off into the water.

Have a drinking water concern?

No matter where your water comes from you can submit your concerns to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) through their Drinking Water Concern System. You can also call the MDHHS Drinking Water Hotline at 844-934-1315.

Drinking Water Contaminant Fact Sheets

To stay up to date with current resources and opportunities being offered through the program, subscribe to the Drinking Water and Health newsletter.

If you have questions, please contact the MDHHS Drinking Water Hotline at 844-934-1315.