East Lansing Meridian Water and Sewer Authority held a regular meeting to discuss engineering services

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East Lansing Meridian Water and Sewer Authority, located at 2470 Burcham Dr., East Lansing, Michigan, is a wholesale water supplier for East Lansing and Meridian Township. Photo by Zewei Li.

Except for the routine treasurer’s report and manager’s report, board members of the East Lansing Meridian Water and Sewer Authority discussed on Feb. 18 the proposed bids for engineering services that include a Filter Backwash Reclaim System that is for public health protection, and the 2-Raw Water project, which is designed to improve the redundancy and reliability of water supply.

“(The) Filter Backwash Recovery System is designed and intended to improve the water quality of the water treatment plant,” said Clyde Dugan, manager at East Lansing – Meridian Water and Sewer Authority. “If we can eliminate that potential environmental contamination like bacteria, viruses, it provides an additional barrier of protection for the public health of all of our customers. The water plant is designed to handle surface water, but this project will just ensure that we have additional barrier protection for public health protection.”

For more information about the two Engineering Services:

Agenda of the Authority Board 

The board of trustees of ELMWSA held a virtual public meeting to discuss the necessary business operations and allow ongoing work to maintain and protect the water safety of residents.

“The trustees meet once a month to review the activities of the Authority and to provide guidance and oversight to management,” said Dugan. In the monthly regular meetings, the public can express their demands or questions through the Public Comments section.

Weiting Du, who lives in Cedar Creek Apartments, Okemos, Michigan, suggested the ELMWSA to expand its influence. “It would be helpful to conduct some science communication with the public by sending flyers in the residents’ mailbox, like where residents can see the water quality in their area.”

The importance of water safety

Water is the source of life. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, about 75% of Michigan residents get their water from sources that are regulated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

To ensure water quality meets the requirement, ELMWSA plans to upgrade its water filters. The filter upgrade project is to add two additional filters, which have a reliable continuous treatment capacity of 15 million gallons per day.

“The existing filters are part of the original plan so they’re a little over 40 years old,” said Dugan. “So, what we’re doing is upgrading the control systems on the existing pillars as a part of that same project so that everything is up to date.”

Some people doubt the water quality and safety. “I was not used to drinking tap water,” said Ningyuan Zha, who has lived in Okemos for three years. “I usually boil water before drinking it, which is cleaner and safer.”

Du has the same concerns as Zha. “I consider water safety guaranteed by relevant departments in the township, which means the water is within the safety limit according to the Safe Drinking Water Act,” said Du. “However, within the safety limit doesn’t mean the water is directly drinkable. I use a water filter as everyone else does because it’s more budget-friendly and accessible. ”

Some people are confident in ELMWSA. “I trust ELMWSA,” said Nan Wrisley, who has lived in Meridian Township more than 25 years. “We all use the same water sources, and I drink tap water directly without any other home water filter.”

“Each of those communities has its own water distribution system, but they went together and formed East Lansing Meridian Water Storage Authority in the late 1960s for the purpose of supplying so often treated, drinking water to both communities,” said Dugan. “We went in service in the early 1970s, and it has been a continuous service ever since, and supplies a source of drinking water to both communities.”

The mission of ELMWSA is to protect public health and maintain water safety, and it has been working toward this goal.