PRESS RELEASE: City of Saline Offers Free Water Testing



In response to an increased number of citizen comments regarding water discoloration the City of Saline has launched a free water testing service for residents. Water will be tested for chlorine, pH, hardness, and iron. Test kits can be picked up from Saline City Hall during normal businesses hours. Residents are asked to return samples within one hour of collection and before noon on regular businesses days to ensure that samples are processed within a suitable timeframe for accuracy.  

Residents interested in pursuing their own independent testing are encouraged to consider services offered through the Washtenaw County Health Department. More information is available on the county website at

“If residents are interested in more comprehensive water testing beyond what the city is able to provide, the Washtenaw County Health Department’s Environmental Health Division coordinates testing for a variety of additional contaminants, including bacteria or chemicals,” said Kristen Schweighoefer, MPH, environmental health director with Washtenaw County Health Department. “Fees vary by the type of test requested. Residents can visit the website, call, or make an appointment for more information. Water testing can be beneficial if considering in home water treatment or softening options or to help identify in-home pipes or fixtures that may need replacement.”

The safety of municipal water supplies is monitored closely through state compliance standards by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Regular testing and strict adherence within limit standards are expected for all municipal systems. The City of Saline routinely monitors for contaminants in drinking water according to these standards. This includes testing at the source of wells, at the Water Treatment Plant, and at rotating locations throughout the distribution system. A water quality report is prepared annually that summarizes the city’s water testing parameters and results.

Similar to many other municipal systems, the City of Saline operates a well water system. Service is drawn from five wells within the city and processed at the Water Treatment Plant using reverse osmosis. The plant also provides for iron and manganese removal through the use of greensand filters. Replacement of the greensand filter media is scheduled for this fiscal year.

Director of Public Works, Larry Sirls, explains, “By the time water reaches a residential faucet there are a number of issues that could have caused discoloration including several within the home itself such as an outdated water heater, aging pipes, or stagnant conditions where a faucet has not been used in several days or more. Other times this can be caused by disruptions to the municipal water main such as during or following a water main break, or during periods of increased agitation due to nearby construction. In those cases, the discoloration is generally limited to areas immediately adjacent to the repairs. However, the biggest cause of system related discoloration in Saline appears to be related to high usage. Higher flows increase the likelihood of pulling rust from the inside the lines. Residents may want to reconsider if their sprinkler system is really necessary right now for example.

“While discolored water is incredibly unsightly, we do not have any cause for concern related to public health. However, the City of Saline strives to deliver quality services to its residents and water supply is no exception. We will continue to pursue short- and long-term solutions including immediate water main flushing and completion of two priority capital improvement projects, replacement of our greensand media and installation of a third high service pump at the Water Treatment Plant.”

Residents are encouraged to run their water following any brown water event to help clear the lines and report the event using the City of Saline survey tool. Pervasive brown water issues, meaning the water does not clear up after more than ten minutes of running a faucet, should also be reported to the Saline Department of Public Works by calling (734) 429-5624 during weekdays or the Saline non-emergency police line (734) 429-7911 during evenings and weekends.

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