Contaminated water found in Spalding homeowner’s well

by Monique Lopez, originally posted on May 6, 2016


SPALDING, Mich. (WLUC) After a homeowner in Spalding noticed black water spurting out of the faucets in his home, he decided to get it tested. The results were shocking and not what he expected.

Homeowner Ted Janke had black colored, metallic odor smelling water coming from his private water well since February. Janke says after contacting the well drilling company to repair a part, he was told the color and smell of the water were most likely caused by the presence of manganese and should subside. But that was not the case.

“After a period of months, the homeowner opted to do a metals water test, and they got the test results back and found that there was high levels of arsenic and lead in the water,” said Nick Naser, owner of Quality Water Specialist.

Although it appeared his water ran clear when we visited his home, Janke showed us the sample of the water he says he collected from his kitchen sink less than two weeks ago to send for testing.

The Department of Environmental Quality in Lansing and the Public Health Environmental Health Division serving Delta and Menominee counties found, after testing the sample just last week, the levels of arsenic, lead and thallium far exceeded the maximum contamination and action levels set for public water. The level of arsenic found was more than 300 times the regulatory limit set for safe drinking water, lead was more than 10 times the standard and Thallium, three times the limit.

The black colored water that was spurting out of the faucets and the metallic odor that the homeowner smelled were two separate issues from there being levels of arsenic and lead found in it. The color of the water was just what drove owner to finally get it tested.

More than a handful of neighbors I spoke with say they have had the issue of black water with a metallic odor running in their homes before as well. Naser says that’s a common issue that can be attributed to other, drastically less-harmful causes and is typically a simple fix. He also says that water should be checked periodically because just because you can’t see or smell it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

“Arsenic and the lead are colorless and odorless; you wouldn’t even know that they were there,” Naser added. “We all assume that what’s in the ground is coming out pure, and in some situations, that may not be the case.”

According to Janke, the DEQ advised that both he and his wife get tested for the metals found and avoid exposure to the water. Their results were both negative.

Chuck Thomas from the DEQ in Marquette said “An investigation plan has been set in place, but needs funding,” and says that they are “still early into the process.”

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