The East Lansing-Meridian Water & Sewer Authority (ELMWSA) was formed as a joint venture of the City of East Lansing and Meridian Township to address the water supply and quality needs for both communities. In 1972, the ELMWSA water conditioning plant was built and it has provided softened water to both municipal systems since that time. In recent years, ELMWSA produced more than two billion gallons of treated water and distributed it to the two communities. ELMWSA is governed by a Board of Trustees, which includes three members appointed by the East Lansing City Council and three members appointed by Meridian Township.

Water Treatment

Groundwater is pumped to the water conditioning plant from 29 wells located within a five-mile radius of the facility. As the groundwater in this region is very hard, lime is added to the water to remove excess hardness. In addition, soda ash may be added to further reduce hardness and ferric chloride may be used to treat very fine particles. The water then passes through sand filters to remove any cloudiness that was not taken out during the chemical treatment part of the process. Through this method, approximately 65% of the hardness is removed from the water and recycled through agricultural land application or other beneficent use.

In the water production process, ELMWSA operators run numerous routine chemical analyses to ensure water safety and taste. Other more sophisticated testing is performed through outside labs to detect a wide range of regulated and unregulated contaminants. Although the source water is very pure, ELMWSA adds chloramine to ensure the water is thoroughly disinfected and stays fresh as it is delivered to homes and/or businesses. Fluoride is also added for the prevention of tooth decay, especially for children.

Water Analysis

The table below provides a typical analysis of the drinking water produced at this facility. A more detailed water analysis is included in the Water Quality Report which is produced annually.

Total hardness
110 ppm
Total alkalinity
65 ppm
9.0 pH units
Chlorine content
1.0 ppm
Fluoride content
0.7 ppm
Sodium content
27 ppm