Contaminated groundwater concerns Granger families yet again

NOW: Contaminated groundwater concerns Granger families yet again


Granger families are growing more concerned with groundwater contamination, a problem that came to light two years ago, and still hasn't gone away. And a local environmental services company says, it probably won't.

"I woke up this morning thinking that there was nothing wrong with our water, and now I'm being told there might be a problem," says Michelle Hickey, a Granger resident.

Hickey lives in a quiet Granger neighborhood, just off of Juday Creek Golf Course. 

As a mom of six kids, she's worried.

"I didn't know we were still having a problem. I thought everything was taken care of," she says. 

But according to the St. Joseph County, this is an ongoing issue.

And at this time, there is no long-term solution.

"This isn't anything that will go away unless you have a different water supply. So it's always going to be a problem" explains Dawn Coffee, the owner of Yes Your Environmental Services in Mishawaka.

She tests different water samples from across Michiana, and what she sees, is concerning. 

"Granger has been known to have high nitrate areas, higher than other areas in the county," Coffee explains. "It's a hot spot for nitrates."

Nitrates, Arsenic, and bacteria are the three contaminants that St. Joseph County requires tests for, for homes going on the market. 

But that doesn't cover everything.

"Just because your required water test passes, doesn't necessarily mean your water is safe to drink," Coffee says. "It's safe from those particular contaminants, but there are hundreds and hundreds of contaminants to test for."

Contaminants like pharmaceuticals, nicotine, and caffeine that are lurking in the water.

"Your body is releasing, when you got to the bathroom, those medications you're taking, down the drain," she adds. "It's contaminating the wells right underneath."

A contamination that can't be solved with just store bought water filters.

"We have filters for our water, but that's scary," says Hickey.

But there are some short-term solutions.

"I would watch what I put down the drain, for sure, and maybe what I put down on my lawn. Or just choose to drink bottled water," says Coffee.

For a more comprehensive solution for homes, she recommends installing a reverse osmosis system on kitchen sinks.

"Those systems are designed to filter out way more contaminants that our county requires," explains Coffee, "And you would know your water is good all of the time."

The reverse osmosis systems cost upwards of $500, but Coffee says in the long run, it will be cheaper than constantly buying bottled water.

It is advised that St. Joseph County residents test their home's water quality every year. 

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