City of Kalamazoo
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER
Notice of Drinking Water Chemical Overfeed on January 15, 2012
Due to a problem with the operation of our treatment plant, fluoride (hydrofluosilicic acid) was overfed into the water system at concentrations exceeding the secondary health standard for fluoride of 2 parts per million (ppm). The chemical feed system used in Kalamazoo has safeguards to assure that it is added to the water at safe levels. However, on Sunday, January 15, 2012, these safeguards failed. City crews acted quickly to contain and flush the impacted water from the distribution system within the Texas Township Area. As our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what you should do.
What should I do?
This is not an emergency. City personnel have addressed the immediate concerns. Testing of the water system indicates that the water is safe to drink.
What does this mean? What happened?
Drinking water in the city of Kalamazoo is routinely treated with fluoride. Fluoride is a water treatment additive that at proper concentrations has substantial benefits in the prevention of tooth decay. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has set a maximum contaminate level (MCL) for fluoride at 4 ppm. Water samples were collected at the time of the incident to determine the concentrations in the distribution system. Although no samples were analyzed that indicated an exceedance of the MCL, results do indicate that concentrations exceeded 2 ppm, which can cause a cosmetic dental problem that might affect children under nine years of age. At low levels, fluoride can help prevent cavities, but children drinking water containing more than 2 ppm of fluoride may develop cosmetic discoloration of their permanent teeth (dental fluorosis).
Dental fluorosis in its moderate or severe forms, may result in a brown staining and or pitting of the permanent teeth. This problem occurs only in developing teeth, before they erupt from the gums. Children under nine should be provided with alternative sources of drinking water or water that has been treated to remove the fluoride to avoid the possibility of staining and pitting of their permanent teeth. You may also want to contact your dentist about proper use by young children of fluoride-containing products. Older children and adults may safely drink the water.
The overfeed occurred at station 24 on January 15, 2012. Short term health effects of drinking high concentrations of fluoride is nausea and vomiting. Although long-term ingestion of high fluoride levels can result in bone disease in adults and mottling of teeth in children, these effects should not be a concern because of the short-term nature of this event.
What is being done?
The city of Kalamazoo corrected the problem as quickly as possible, and reviewed operational procedures to determine what could be done to prevent future overfeeds.
For more information, please contact the Water Supply Supervisor at 337-8758 or the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality at 269 567-3612.
Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.