Mercantile Way, Ste 5
Lansing, MI 48911
|U.S. Department of the Interior|
|U.S. Geological Survey|
|Feb 16, 2001||Jaye Lunsford||(517) 887-8903||(517) 887-8937|
LOW CONCENTRATIONS OF ARSENIC FOUND IN GROUND WATER IN MANY SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN COUNTIES
concentrations of naturally-occurring arsenic are present in ground water in 9
southeast Michigan counties. These
results come from a recently completed cooperative effort by U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS), Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and the
Health Departments of Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland, Sanilac,
Shiawassee, Tuscola and Washtenaw Counties.
Median arsenic concentrations in ground water in the 9 counties ranged
from 2.9 micrograms per liter in Washtenaw County, to 16.6 micrograms per liter
in Genesee County.
study examined records of arsenic concentration in 3,022 domestic and public
wells in the 9-county area. All of
the counties studied had some wells with arsenic concentrations above the
Environmental Protection Agency’s new standard of 0.01 milligrams (10
micrograms) per liter, set to take effect Jan 23, 2006; all except Livingston,
Shiawassee, and Washtenaw had some arsenic concentrations exceeding the old
standard of 50 micrograms per liter. Arsenic
concentrations above 50 micrograms per liter were found in water from wells
tapping the Marshall Sandstone, Saginaw Formation, Michigan Formation, and
Coldwater Shale, and above 40 micrograms per liter in overlying glacial
materials. Long-term consumption of
arsenic has been linked to skin, bladder, lung, and prostate cancer, as well as
other non-cancerous health effects. However,
the concentrations of arsenic that result in these long-term effects have not
been clearly established.
of the study are provided in a set of eight fact sheets -- one for each county
-- titled “Arsenic in Ground Water in XXX County, Michigan” by Sheridan K.
Haack and Cynthia M. Rachol. Oakland
County results were previously released in a report titled “Arsenic, Nitrate,
and Chloride in Ground Water, Oakland County, Michigan, by Stephen Aichele,
Richard Hill-Rowley, and Matt Malone. The fact sheets, with maps showing arsenic
distribution in each of the counties, and other information about arsenic in
drinking water are also available at USGS Michigan District’s web site at http://mi.water.usgs.gov. Information on arsenic nationwide is at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/trace/arsenic/.
reports provide information that can be used by private citizens, public health
officials and water resource managers. “Our cooperative study tackled some
very difficult scientific questions regarding the causes for the distribution of
arsenic in ground water. As is often the case, the scientific answers were not
simple, and many questions remain,” says Jim Nicholas, chief of USGS’s
District Office in Lansing. “Nevertheless, the results remain timely as the
new standards for the concentration of arsenic in drinking water, recently
promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, take effect.
Southeastern Michigan has addressed the issue of arsenic occurrence in a manner
that is a model for much of the rest of the country.”
For more information, contact the county health department – Genesee (810-257-3603), Huron (517-269-9721), Lapeer (810-667-0392), Livingston (517-546-9858), Oakland (248-858-1312), Sanilac (810-648-2150), Shiawassee (517-743-2390), Tuscola (517-673-8114), Washtenaw (734-971-4542). For statewide information, contact Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Drinking Water and Radiological Protection Division (517-335-9218); Michigan Department of Community Health, (517-335-8350), or USGS (517-887-8903)
As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the conservation and the sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.
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Haack, S.K., Rachol, C.M., 2000, Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, USGS Fact Sheets on Arsenic in Ground Water: Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Livingston, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Washtenaw counties, 2000, FS-127-00 through FS-134-00.