Source: Sherman Publications

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Monitoring wells show groundwater is clean

by CJ Carnacchio

November 13, 2013

Before drinking that next glass of Oxford Township or Village water, residents should know one thing it's clean.

That was the conclusion of some reports township and village officials recently received regarding the 18 monitoring wells the two municipalities installed to detect the presence of pollutants in the groundwater supply.

"There is no degradation of groundwater quality due to volatile organic compounds at any of the monitoring locations," wrote Daniel J. Whalen, an engineer with the Grand Rapids-based William & Works.

The results were based on samples taken in August.

"This is definitely good news," said township Supervisor Bill Dunn. "We set up this monitoring system to protect the health of our residents and the millions of dollars that was spent to improve our water system. It looks like it's paying off."

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from thousands of products while they're in use or even being stored, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Examples include paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

Exposure to VOCs can have short- and long-term health effects including eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination and nausea; damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system; and cancer, according to the EPA.

Back in 2011, the township and village were awarded $21,127 and $24,975, respectively, in state grants to help protect their groundwater supply from contamination.

The two municipalities are served by separate water systems, but they both pump their drinking water from the same ground.

Using this money, the township and village had monitoring wells installed at key locations to detect the presence of pollutants migrating from known sources of contamination such as industrial and commercial sites.

"This monitoring well system was designed to provide an advanced warning of any changes in the groundwater chemistry which could otherwise cause contamination to the (township or village) wellfield and surrounding aquifer," Whalen wrote. "To date there has been no evidence of contaminants migrating offsite from the known sources of contamination."

In addition to the monitoring wells, water samples were also taken from the private well system that serves Hillcrest condominiums on W. Drahner Rd. There were no detectable levels of VOC contamination there, either.