City of Saginaw MI -
Frequently Asked Questions about Water

  • Q. What if I have special health needs?
  • A. Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons, such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. Environmental Protection Agency/Centers for Disease Control guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) or by e-mailing sdwa@epa.gov.
  • Q. What is the pH of Saginaw's water?
  • A. The average pH of water in Saginaw is 8.5 su. This slightly basic pH prevents corrosion of the pipes.
  • Q. Is it safe to drink water that contains chlorine?
  • A. Yes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) have established that it is safe to drink water with chlorine less than 4.0 mg/L to protect the water as it moves through the water mains and out the tap.
  • Q. How much fluoride is in Saginaw's drinking water?
  • A. Approximately 1 mg/L of fluoride is contained in Saginaw's water.
  • Q. What are the white particles coming from my tap?
  • A. The white particles are most likely either calcium carbonate deposits (scale) or the result of a deteriorating hot water heater plastic "dip tube". Contact the Saginaw Water Treatment Plant at 989-759-1640 for more information.
  • Q. Why does my water taste or smell funny?
  • A. Occasionally, bacteria in the source water can produce odors that are not removed by the treatment process. Usually, however, tastes and odors in the drinking water are caused within the home. Remove all outdoor garden hoses from spigots when you are not using them. Plastic containers can create a plastic taste if water is stored too long. Even your new drip coffee pot will need time before it stops causing the coffee to taste like plastic. Changes and updates to your plumbing can cause tastes and odors, as can consuming a new prescription medication or multivitamin. Also, make sure that any softeners or filters are being properly maintained.
  • Q. Do I need to drink bottled water?
  • A. It is unnecessary to go to the extra expense of buying bottled water in order to have safe drinking water. Bottled water costs more than $1 a gallon, and water from a Saginaw tap costs less than a tenth of a cent per gallon. In addition, the public health standards for water from municipal water supplies are higher than those for bottled water.
  • Q. What causes discolored water?
  • A. Discolored water is often the result of rusting galvanized pipe in home plumbing systems. Normally, the water clears after running a bit. Sometimes, water mains may become scoured from firefighting activities or a main break. Iron causes the discoloration; it is not a health risk.
  • Q. Do I need to use a "treatment" device in my home or business?
  • A. The water we deliver to our customers is safe to drink as determined by EPA and MDEQ standards. In-home "treatment" systems may cost several hundred dollars plus the cost of frequent filter changes. The extra expense is unnecessary as a matter of safety. If our customers wish to install filtration equipment, it is a matter of personal preference.

    We encourage those who choose to use on-site equipment to change the filter as often as the manufacturer recommends, because the filters are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. People with specific health concerns may wish to seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
  • Q. How much water does the average person use at home per day?
  • A. Estimates vary, but each person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. The largest use of household water is to flush the toilet. Taking showers and baths also accounts for a large percentage of household use of City water.
  • Q. Does a little leak in my house really waste water?
  • A. It's not the little leak that wastes water - it is the little leak that keeps on leaking that wastes water. And, the fact that the leak is so little means that maybe it is being ignored.

    How can a little leak turn into a big waste? Many toilets have a constant leak - somewhere around 22 gallons per day. This translates into about 8,000 gallons per year of wasted water - water that could be saved. Or think of a leaky water line coming into your house. If it leaks 1 gallon of water every 10 minutes, that means that you are losing (and paying for) 144 gallons per day, or 52,560 gallons per year.
  • Q. How do I check for and identify leaks?
  • A. To test toilets for leaks first, remove tank-mounted cleaners and flush until all coloring is gone from inside the tank and bowl or basin of the toilet. Then add 40 to 50 drops of food coloring (blue, red or green) to a glass of warm water, and then carefully pour it into the tank, stirring it to mix the food coloring throughout the tank. Check the toilet bowl periodically over the next two hours. Food coloring in the bowl indicates a leak.

    Another way to check for water leaks is to read the water meter in your home and write down the numbers, including the number to which the needle is pointing. After two hours of not using any water in the house, read the water meter again and compare the numbers to the original reading from the beginning of the test. If the needle has moved or any of the readings have changed, that means that water has passed through the meter even though no water faucets were turned on or toilets flushed, etc., during that time. In this case, a change in the needle's position on the meter indicates a leak or open valve somewhere in the home.
  • Q. Why is there a black ring inside my toilet bowl?
  • A. There is no relation between the water being delivered to your household and the black ring that occasionally appears in your toilet bowl. This is actually mildew that forms due to room temperature, facility usage and lighting. It is suggested that you use a chlorine-based bowl cleaner plus more ventilation during showers to help reduce this problem.
  • Q. What is the Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water Supply Corporation?
  • A. The Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water Supply Corporation is a cooperative venture between the cities of Saginaw and Midland that brings Lake Huron water from near Au Gres to both communities via 65 miles of underground infrastructure.
  • Q. I am thinking of Installing a water softener, is there anything special I need to know?
  • A. City of Saginaw Water is considered moderately hard. While softening is not necessary, if you are installing a water softener follow these guidelines: Place the hardness setting at 7 grains per gallon. The iron concentration is <0.05 mg/L.
  • Q. I am thinking of Installing a water filter, is there anything special I need to know?
  • A. City of Saginaw Water is of very good quality. It has won several regional AWWA taste-offs in past years. The water contains chlorine for disinfection. The water we deliver to our customers is safe to drink as determined by EPA and MDEQ standards. In-home "treatment" systems may cost several hundred dollars plus the cost of frequent filter changes. The extra expense is unnecessary as a matter of safety. While filtering is not necessary, if you are installing a water filter follow the guideline below. It may help in reducing any tastes and odors and will remove chlorine.

    Replace the filter at manufacturers recommended intervals. Most filters contain filter fibers and Activated Carbon. The filters are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. <0.05 mg/L.
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