The State Has A Problem With Kalamazoo's Corrosion Control

May 9, 2019

City of Kalamazoo Public Services Director James Baker at a press conference on Thursday.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Michigan’s environmental agency is taking issue with the City of Kalamazoo’s drinking water treatment. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has issued a violation for the city related to corrosion control.

It says Kalamazoo used too little phosphate, which coats the pipes and prevents lead and copper leaching, on some occasions last year. At other times the city used too much phosphate to treat the water.

James Baker is the city’s Director of Public Services. He says Kalamazoo had to add extra phosphate when it took over the City of Parchment’s water last summer.

“The reason for that is there’s that coating that’s taking place. That phosphate is actively coating against the Parchment pipes,” he said.

Baker says there’s no indication that the City of Kalamazoo water is causing metals to leach.

“We’re not saying that we have a corrosive water situation. I think that - we don’t have data that supports that,” he said.

Baker says he expects the city to return to compliance with the state by July 1, though even one more instance of high or low phosphate readings would cause the violation to stand for another six months.

Baker says every water customer will get a letter about the violation.