Arsenic in neighborhood's groundwater could cost households $17,000

Jun 1, 2017

High levels of arsenic have been found in the groundwater of an Emmett Charter Township neighborhood, and homeowners may have to pay up to $17,000 to fix it.

(To read more about arsenic in water, see our series Michigan's Silent Poison.)

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Emmett officials will consider next week whether to move forward with a strategy to connect the affected Cherokee Hills neighborhood to the city of Battle Creek's water system.

The project is estimated to cost a total of $2 million. The installation of new water mains would charge each of the 160 affected properties $13,100. Connecting individual homes to the water mains would add $4,800 to the total cost per household.

Sampling done from 1983 through 2003 shows where arsenic levels in groundwater are the highest in Michigan. Arsenic levels are in micrograms per liter.
Credit Michigan DEQ

Michigan has one of the highest arsenic concentrations in the country. Federal standards allow drinking water to have arsenic levels of up to 10 parts per billion (ppb) -- 83% of the Emmett neighborhood homes exceeded this level, with some reaching over 40 ppb.

(Learn how to test your well for arsenic.)

High levels of arsenic in drinking water have been linked to increased risk of cancer, and low levels have been linked to everything from diabetes to a higher stroke risk. Residents have been cautioned against drinking or cooking with the affected water.

Board members will meet Thursday, June 8 at 5:00 p.m. to decide whether to move forward with the special assessment, which could potentially be blocked if 20% of affected homeowners submit objections.