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Frequently Asked Questions: Ferris Water Quality Study

These Frequently Asked Questions are related to a Ferris State University press release that was issued on Tuesday, May 31.

Q:  Where were the locations of the elevated lead samples and what were the levels of those samples?

  • Automotive Building, men’s restroom, 26 parts per billion (PPB)
  • Automotive Building drinking fountain near room 129, 23 PPB
  • Clark Hall lobby, men’s restroom, 15 PPB
  • Prakken Building drinking fountain near room 122, 19 PPB
  • Puterbaugh Hall lobby, men’s restroom, 24 PPB
  • Ward Hall lobby, men’s restroom, 15 PPB
  • Ward Hall kitchenette/laundry room near room 114, 49 PPB

Q: What other buildings have been tested?

A: The university has taken at least one sample from every residential building on the Big Rapids campus, with the exception of one building in West Campus Apartments. Testing will continue with the goal of receiving results of water quality from every building on campus.

Q: What is a safe level of exposure to lead in water?

A: The EPA has set an “actionable standard” of lead in municipal drinking water at 15 parts per billion (PPB). 

Q: What are the health effects of exposure to lead in drinking water?

A:  Information is available on the EPA’s Ground Water and Drinking Water page.

Q: What about the level of copper that was found?

A: The EPA has set the actionable standard for copper at 1,300 PPB, and the testing on the unit at Tot’s Place was approximately 1,700 PPB. 

Q: Are there health concerns associated with elevated levels of copper in drinking water?

A: Unlike lead, copper is not linked to developmental problems.  Effects of high levels of copper in the system can include nose, mouth and eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea.

Q: Is exposure to water with elevated lead levels a cause for concern?

A: The best source for heath information is your health care provider.  If you have concerns, you should check with your doctor.  In general, the longer the exposure and the greater the frequency of exposure increase any chance for adverse effects.  Showering, bathing or cleaning hands with water that has elevated levels of lead is not a health risk, according to the EPA.  Lead is not absorbed through the skin.