Inside the East Lansing-Meridian Water & Sewer Authority: what caused the problem?

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The boil water advisory that covers much of East Lansing and Meridian Township is set to continue through the weekend. It’s a hassle for residents and businesses and bottled water is getting harder to come by.

6 News took a look into the root of the problem after going inside the East Lansing-Meridian Water & Sewer Authority water treatment plant and found that a filter malfunction is at the root of this problem.

The good news is, it was caught early and has since been fixed…the bad news is, until more test results come in the boil water advisory continues.

Water safety is the main priority at the East Lansing-Meridian Water & Sewer Authority and workers constantly monitor the filtered water before it’s sent out in the pipes.

According to the Manager Clyde Dugan, that system worked as they caught a problem Friday morning.

“There was a filter wash going on that caused an upset in one of the operating filters and it released a little bit of cloudiness into the drinking water,” said Dugan, Manager of the East Lansing-Meridian Water & Sewer Authority.

He says that cloudiness is called turbidity which caused immediate concern.

“It indicated that there may have been a potential for the release of micro-organisms from the operating filter,” Dugan stated.

Those micro-organisms could mean bacteria got in the water but Dugan says even if that happened, chances are they were filtered out but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“When the filter upset, there was a potential that some of those micro-organisms may have been released and if they were not completely inactivated they could have caused potential for contamination,” said Dugan.

Which is why a boil water advisory was issued and while Dugan says the problem has since been fixed and one round of contamination tests have come back clean, he says results of a second set are still needed.

“The facility is operating as it was originally designed and intended but there is very good likelihood we could make some improvements to make sure that this never happens again,” Dugan said.

Dugan also says this is the first time in 40 years that the water authority has had an issue of this kind with the water. The results of the second round of tests are due in late tomorrow afternoon and he says he’s confident the boil water advisory will be lifted then.

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