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Frequently Asked Questions

Where does our drinking water come from?
The City operates a softening plant with a rated capacity of 4 million gallons per day. The plant located at 200 N. Lincoln operates 365 days a year and has been in operation since 1965. During the year 2005, approximately 383 million gallons of water were treated. The diagram below shows the basic layout of the treatment system.
Why do I sometimes have brown water at my faucet?
Although we do our best to prevent this from happening it does occur from time to time. Several factors contribute to rusty water entering your home. Fire hydrant use, high industrial use, or pressure surges at the plant due to power failure can all create a disturbance in the water main resulting in brown water. Other factors include age and type of city water mains as well as property owner’s service line material. Flushing of the effected area will usually clear the line. Please contact the Water Dept. if your rusty water problem persists.

What is the brownish liquid being pumped into the two ponds across from the Alma Fairgrounds?
These ponds are the Water Treatment Plant sludge ponds. Sludge accumulated from the softening process as well as silt removed from river water during treatment is deposited here.

What causes low water pressure?
Low water pressure may be experienced due to heavy water use in a particular area; lawn watering, water main breaks, fire fighting, etc. Other causes of low water pressure involve the size of home service pipes and scale build up within home plumbing. Both situations may limit the flow. Scale build up is often common in older homes, which still contain sections of galvanized pipe. Even a house plumbed entirely with copper pipe but containing one small fitting of galvanized, will tend to plug up at the galvanized connection.

The quality of our drinking water is upheld by the Safe Drinking Water Act, first passed in 1974 and updated in 1986 and 1996 by the federal government. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Drinking Water and Radiological Protection Division is responsible for enforcing the standards set forth by this Act. Each month, an MOR (Monthly Operation Report) is compiled and sent from the City of Alma to the MDEQ for evaluation. This report is composed of both treatment plant data and daily bacteriological test results. Sample testing is also performed by the MDEQ lab for regulated drinking water contaminants. These tests are outlined in our annual drinking water monitoring schedule. The official laboratory reports and the MOR support that we are in compliance with the MDEQ and the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.

How will I be notified of a "Boil Water" order?
The City of Alma uses multiple media sources to inform the public of water quality issues. Local radio and television stations will be used initially to inform the public of a boil water notice. This notice will include what the problem is, what steps are being taken to correct the problem, and what actions the public should take.

Local Government Access channel 97, the Public Access channel, the City’s web page and local newspapers will also provide this information.

How will I be notified when the "Boil Water" order has been lifted?
Residents and business owners should frequently check the media sources listed above to get information concerning the status of a boil water order. City Hall or the Water Treatment Plant may also be contacted for this information.

Contact Us

Bill Pilmore, Water Treatment Superintendant

200 N. Lincoln
Alma, MI 48801

(989)463-5669 - fax

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