The Water Division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the city's water production and treatment facility at the Verona Well Field, as well as the city's water storage and pumping facilities and 368 miles of water main located throughout the Battle Creek area. We ensure that the community's drinking water is safe and meets all federal and state drinking water standards.
Related to water, we discuss many treatments, chemicals, and contamination in a measurement of "parts per million." Check out this TED-Ed video to understand what that means:
Battle Creek treatment technique violation
This does not create an immediate health or safety concern and you may continue to safely use the drinking water we provide.
The City of Battle Creek recently received notice from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy about a violation of a treatment technique at our water plant, related to the addition of phosphate to the water. We are required to maintain a level of phosphate that is within designated state parameters.
Phosphate provides corrosion control, helping keep lead and copper from our drinking water.
What happened? What are we doing about it?
Battle Creek failed to maintain water quality levels within the state-designated ranges at the treatment plant on 15 days between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2020.
This was a time during our rehabilitation project at the treatment plant, when a pipe supplying phosphate in the plant was damaged by construction activity. This damaged pipe led to a lower rate of phosphate being applied to the water. There were also two days during phasing of the rehabilitation project that phosphate was applied to the water at a reduced amount, while a portion of the treatment plant was out of service. The rehabilitation project at the treatment plant is now complete.
There were two other instances when the phosphate dosing appears to have gone above the state-designated range. Our investigation has revealed that these readings were data-entry errors. The three different sample results on those days were not averaged prior to entering the data. The corrected levels are displayed in red in the Phosphate Excursions document below, and are within the defined range.
The events were investigated, identified, adjustments to the dosing rate have been made, standard operation procedures have been updated and treatment staff have been trained on the matter to prevent this from happening again.
- State EGLE violation notice
- City notice to water customers
- Phosphate chart
- Phosphate Excursions - July 2019-June 2020
- Phosphate FAQs
- CARUS 8500 Data Sheet (chemical the city uses)
- Noticia pública de la ciudad en Español
- Tabla de fosfato en Español
- Burmese - City notice to water customers
- Burmese - Phosphate chart
Water from the Verona Pumping Station was sampled July 25, 2018, then tested for PFAS in the city water system. This is part of a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality statewide initiative to test drinking water from community water supplies, and schools that use well water.
PFAS are a group of manmade chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They are found in firefighting foam, stain repellents, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food wrappers, and other household products. They do not break down in the environment.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion of two PFAS compounds. All tests for PFAS compounds in city water returned non-detect, meaning they were not found in city water at any level.
-Letter from MDEQ to City of Battle Creek (Sept. 6, 2018)
We flush the city's fire hydrants every year. We do this work overnight to minimize the inconvenience to our customers, and to allow the water to stabilize before regular daily use begins. Regular flushing contributes to the highest water quality, and allows us to verify that the water system is operating properly. This also ensures the hydrants are ready when the Fire Department needs them.
We have changed our flushing program significantly in recent years. We now flush hydrants in the late summer or early fall. We also incorporate hydrant testing into the program. During flushing, we conduct 20 flow test at different locations. The test results help us calibrate our hydraulic model, so we better understand how the water system operates, and how we can optimize future system improvements.
Water System Information
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Boil Water Advisory
Explanation of Boil Water Advisory (PDF), written by Utility Administrator Perry Hart.
For information about Battle Creek water quality, view at list of the Annual Water Quality Reports.
The Wastewater Division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the city's Wastewater Treatment Plant, as well as the 124 sanitary sewer lift stations and 414 miles of sanitary sewer mains located throughout the Battle Creek area. We ensure that the community's wastewater is cleaned and treated to meet all federal and state standards before it is discharged into the Kalamazoo River.