This page is about the City of Kalamazoo Water Supply System and Water Resources Division. For water & utility service information, please visit www.kalamazoocity.org/utilities.
The City of Kalamazoo Public Water Supply System is the second largest groundwater-based drinking water system in Michigan and is ranked one of the lowest for water rates out of the twelve largest systems within the state. The City has a Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) approved Wellhead Protection Program, and in 2014 was awarded the Exemplary Source Water Protection Award by the American Water Works Association. Kalamazoo has also been designated a Groundwater Guardian Community by the Groundwater Foundation every year since 1998. Kalamazoo's water system provides 20 million gallons of water on an average day to 123,000 customers within 10 jurisdictions. The system includes approximately 813 miles of watermain and 5,757 hydrants.
Every year, the City of Kalamazoo publishes a Water Quality Report in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, much of the information provided in this report, along with additional monitoring and testing conducted throughout the year, are provided as an extra service to our customers. The City is also in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act Lead & Copper Rule and has had a proactive annual lead and copper service replacement program for over twenty years. The City's laboratory also offers free lead & copper testing for concerned customers by calling (269) 337-8550.
The Water Resources Division also oversees the City's Environmental Services programs.
Water System Upgrades (2020)Water system upgrades are currently underway throughout the drinking water system. This includes a variety of projects upgrading or replacing residential water service lines as well as water main replacement. Updates and maps of some of these projects are provided below:
Richland Township Water Main
Cooper Township and Parchment Water Mains
Kalamazoo City and Township Water Service Replacements
Cork Street Water Main Replacement
Oakland Drive Water Main Replacement
The City of Kalamazoo offers information about water quality each year in the annual Water Quality Report, prepared in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Much of the information provided in report, along with additional monitoring and testing conducted throughout the year, is beyond the requirements of the Act and offered as an extra service to customers. The report details many of the actions and programs in place to ensure Kalamazoo provides clean and safe water to all of our customers. Additional information about our efforts to protect our water and environment is available from the Environmental Services Division, and additional resources on groundwater, stormwater, and wellhead protection are available at www.protectyourwater.net.
If you are concerned about the water in your home, please contact (269) 337-8756. The City of Kalamazoo also offers lead & copper testing to water customers. To have your water tested for lead & copper, please call (269) 337-8550 for more information and to schedule sampling.
Water System Advisory CouncilThe Water System Advisory Council exists to advise and assist the Public Services Director with the creation of materials and plans to educate the community about the dangers of lead in drinking water. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Administrative Rule R325.10410 requires the establishment of an Advisory Council for water systems with a population of 50,000 or more.
More information on this board
Lead & Copper ProgramThe City of Kalamazoo is committed to providing safe and reliable drinking water to Kalamazoo and its surrounding communities, and has consistently been in compliance with the 1991 Safe Drinking Water Act Lead and Copper Rule and all revisions of the rule.
The City has utilized a corrosion control program since 1956 that works to reduce water corrosiveness to pipes, fittings and fixtures containing lead and copper. To ensure an optimized strategy, the City of Kalamazoo performs routine monitoring of corrosion control parameters within the water distribution system and testing for lead and copper in customers’ homes. Our Public Services Department periodically evaluates the most effective corrosion control methods available and additional ways to further enhance this program. In 2018, the City began the addition of new phosphate blends to the system for corrosion control.
A proactive annual capital improvement program has been in place for over twenty years to address lead service replacements. The rate of lead service replacements continued to increase in 2018, totaling 558, due in part to a 439 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and a continued $ 500,000 contribution from the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence.
More information about Lead and Copper for Water Customers is available here
Flushing Your Property's Plumbing
From newly paved roads, new utilities, and replaced lead services, construction season can be very busy. In certain areas of the water system, customers experience periods of elevated iron causing brownish/rusty looking water. The primary cause of the majority of these situations is the “stirring up” of the water in the water mains from construction-related activities. The City performs hydrant flushing in the Spring and Fall seasons to remove much of the sediment and iron that accumulates over time in the water main. On occasion, household and businesses would also benefit from flushing their interior plumbing. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has prepared guidelines that explain how you can perform a beneficial interior flushing of your property's plumbing. The guidelines are available online here.
The City of Kalamazoo takes issues related to our water system or water quality seriously. If you have questions or concerns, please call our Water Supply Operations number at (269) 337-8756. Other water related information is available at www.protectyourwater.net.
Over time, sediment can accumulate inside water mains, narrowing the path that water can flow through to homes and businesses. Twice per year, City personnel flush the hydrants in the City water system to remove these accumulated sediments to restore water flow and improve the performance of the system. During the flushing program, City personnel also check the pumps, storage tanks, mains, valves, and hydrants in the system to ensure that all components are functioning properly.
While the Hydrant Flushing Program doesn't affect the safety of the water supply, tap water may appear cloudy or discolored immediately after flushing occurs. If you experience this, run cold water in your utility sink or bath tub until the water runs clear again. We recommend that you do not use your washing machine for 24 hours after flushing occurs in your area to avoid potential discoloration of clothing.
Hydrant flushing occurs roughly over the course of a week each Spring and Fall. A map and schedule are made available before the program begins.
Boil Water Advisories
Boil Water Advisories (BWAs) are most commonly issued when a significant temporary loss of pressure to a defined area occurs or had a reasonable potential to have occurred due to a water infrastructure break, repair, or replacement. BWAs may be issued before a planned/scheduled repair or infrastructure replacement, or issued under emergency conditions, such as a water main break or when other water infrastructure is severely damaged. Although rare, BWAs can be issued under a variety of other situations, such as an act of vandalism, terrorism, or a known or unknown source of contamination in the water system. Please note that the BWA will always describe the specific area affected, contact numbers, and any appropriate directions, such as boiling your water. The vast majority of these BWAs are cautionary and issued without any evidence of contamination.
More information on Boil Water Advisories and Orders is available in this FAQ.