City of Saginaw MI -
Water Quality and Chemistry

The City of Saginaw Water Treatment Plant performs numerous tests to ensure the water is safe and of the highest quality. Some common tests are listed below.

PFAS Chemicals

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) substances are a family of man-made substances that are long-lasting and widely present in the environment. The EPA has not established enforceable drinking water standards, called maximum contaminant levels, for these chemicals. PFAS substances are currently under toxicological review and two particular substances perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are two chemicals for which the EPA has set a lifetime health advisory (LHA) level in drinking water. LHA is the level, or amount, below which adverse health effects are not expected to result. The LHA level is 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 70 ppt for PFOS. If both PFOA and PFOS are present, the LHA is 70 ppt for the combined concentration. There are many other PFAS compounds that currently do not have LHA levels

Tap Results

The City of Saginaw has been cooperating with Michigan EGLE's statewide testing of community water supplies for PFAS + PFOA. The City of Saginaw's (WSSN #5850) plant tap was sampled in both 2018 and 2019 and results are included in the table below. All samples were non-detect or below the limit of detection, except for a single result of 3 parts per trillion1, which is 25 times lower than the LHA.

Test Date Number of Samples PFOS + PFOA range of detections (ppt)Total Tested PFAS range of detections (ppt)
2019 8 ND - 31D - 31
2018 1 NDND

ND - The parameter was not detected based on the laboratory's analytical report. The test method used was EPA Method 537, except as noted.

  1. This sample was subjected to an alternate testing method intended for raw water applications.

Raw Results

Raw water sampling results of the Saginaw Midland Municipal Water Supply Corporation’s intake for levels of PFAS chemicals are listed in the table below. These samples were taken, starting in 2017, as part of an investigation after PFAS chemicals were found in The City of AuGres Drinking water. All samples taken in 2019 were non-detect or below the limit of detection. More detailed results can be viewed on the State’s website here.

Test Date Number of Samples PFOS + PFOA range of detections(ppt) Range of Other PFAS (ppt)
2019 11 All ND All ND
2018 3 0.5452 - 1.4372 0.7242 - 2.662
2017 3 2.312 - 2.742 2.42 - 3.052

ND - The parameter was not detected based on the laboratory's analytical report.
2. Laboratory report states that the amount detected is below the Reporting Limit/lowest concentration that can be accurately measured.

For additional information on PFAS please visit www.epa.gov/pfas or call the Water Treatment Plant at (989) 759-1640.

Bacterial Analyses for Detecting Coliform Bacteria

The Water Treatment Plant tests round the clock for Coliform bacteria. Coliforms are commonly found in topsoil, ponds, lakes and other surface waters. Coliform organisms themselves usually will not cause disease, although may originate in the intestines of mammals. The City of Saginaw Water Treatment Plant exceeds the stardards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) for Detecting Heterotrophic Bacteria

This test may also be referred to as Standard Plate Count. Heterotrophic bacteria can indicate how effective treatment and distribution are at controlling microorganisms. HPC measures a range of bacteria that are naturally occurring and are not indicative of a public health risk. The suggested limit for HPC is 500 colony-forming units per 1 mL of sample.

Partial Chemical Analyses

Total Hardness is the sum of calcium and magnesium concentrations in the water. City of Saginaw water hardness is approximately 110 mg/L. The suggested limit is 300 mg/L. Hardness can cause bathtub rings and scale in pipes. It can be removed by a water softener.

Chloride is a common inorganic chemical may cause a salty taste. City of Saginaw water chloride is approximately 15 mg/L. The suggested limit is 250 mg/L. Chlorides may be removed by Reverse Osmosis.

Turbidity is the clarity of the water. City of Saginaw water turbidity is usually less than 0.1 ntu. The limit is 0.3 ntu. Turbidity may be removed by filtration.

Free chlorine is a chemical residual that is used for disinfection. City of Saginaw water Free Residual Chlorine leaves the Water Plant at between 1.0-1.3 mg/L. As the water moves through the system, the residual drops slightly as it is used up or volatilizes. The limit is 4.0 mg/L. Chlorine may be removed by a water filter containing activated carbon. Once the carbon is expended, chlorine will resume passing through the filter.

Fluoride is a naturally occuring element, which is added to City of Saginaw Drinking Water to prevent tooth decay. It may cause mottling of teeth at high concentrations. The concentration in City water is 1.0 mg/L as recommended by the EPA. Fluoride may be removed by Reverse Osmosis. Additional information may be found at the following links.

Conductance is the ability of water to conduct an electric current. Conductance is used to estimate the amount of total dissolved solids in water. City of Saginaw water conductivity is usually between 250-325 umho/cm. Suggested limit is 850 umho/cm.

Each year, the Saginaw Water Treatment Plant prepares a Drinking Water Quality Report for its consumers. This report contains information about the quality of Saginaw's drinking water, health and safety issues, and whether or not plant staff achieved their goal of producing a safe and reliable supply of drinking water. It also verifies that drinking water from the Saginaw Water Treatment Plant met or surpassed all federal and state standards. Copies of the most recent reports are available below.

2019 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2018 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2017 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2016 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2015 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2014 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2013 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2012 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2011 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2010 Saginaw Water Quality Report
2009 Saginaw Water Quality Report
or request a copy by calling the water plant laboratory at (989)759-1646.
If you are concerned about your drinking water, contact your local water department, the water plant laboratory or see Frequently Asked Questions.

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