High arsenic levels found in drinking water near Wayland

Barry County

YANKEE SPRINGS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Concerns over potentially toxic drinking water at a mobile home park in Barry County has residents on high alert.

The water supply serving the Yankee Springs Meadows community tested for arsenic levels above the drinking water standard, according to officials with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

The samples were taken during quarterly testing in July, but residents were just made aware of the results this week.

Residents at Yankee Springs Meadows are worried about the level of arsenic in their water. (Sept. 28, 2021)

“You can’t taste it, you can’t see it, you can’t smell it… it’s terrifying,” resident Destiny Davis said.

Davis and her neighbors stopped using the water after learning the results, as drinking water with high arsenic levels can be harmful to your health.

“We want answers and solutions because we don’t feel safe living here,” she said. “We’re not mad per say, but we just want to know what to do to keep our families safe.”

EGLE spokesperson Scott Dean said elevated levels of arsenic were detected in two of three wells serving the mobile home park.

“The arsenic concentration for Well 5 was 17.5 ppb and Well 6 was 13.9 ppb,” Dean said. “The drinking water standard for arsenic is 10 ppb.”

No violation has been issued to the park because compliance with the arsenic standard is based on the running annual average of quarterly results. Dean said the July test results were the first time they’ve detected arsenic concentrations above 10 ppb.

“EGLE takes compliance with safe drinking water regulations seriously and is in contact with Yankee Springs Meadows in Barry County over what could lead to an exceedance of arsenic standards by year-end,” Dean said. “EGLE is also working with the mobile home community to take actions to prevent an exceedance of the regulatory standards and protect public health.”

If the annual average of results exceeds 10 ppb, a violation would be issued to Yes Communities, the manufactured housing community that owns the park. The on-site manager referred our questions to Yes Communities’ corporate office in Denver, Colorado, but they’ve yet to respond to our questions about what’s being done to protect residents’ health.

In the meantime, parents like Davis aren’t taking any chances.

“I’m having my kids tested tomorrow for arsenic poisoning,” she said.

The mom of four said she discussed the matter with her kids’ doctor during a checkup Tuesday.

“I told her what was going on in the park and she set it up and (we’re) going tomorrow to go get it done,” Davis said.

Yankee Springs Township Supervisor Rob Heethius said they’ve met with the park’s management to discuss long-term solutions. He said one possibility would be to pair the park’s water supply with the township water system.

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