Water source shutdown delayed
Staff & DNR report
An order to shut down an unregulated water source at a roadside access point in Ontonagon County has been postponed.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources received an emailed letter Wednesday from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The letter states that EGLE has extended the deadline to discontinue access to the well until Feb. 24, in light of difficult weather conditions and in response to a request by the DNR.
The water source supplying the public through a makeshift spigot and hosing exists at the former site of Lake Mine, a former mining community in Greenland Township.
According to the letter, EGLE appreciates the DNR’s efforts to address the risks caused by this well to individuals that have been accessing it for their personal use, as the water has not been tested for quality or potability.
“This is a very old, unregulated water system, that has not been tested for all the required parameters,” said Tom Seablom, western Upper Peninsula district manager for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, “and appears to contain nearly a mile of water line beneath an old railroad grade with piping that is in questionable condition.”
The DNR intends to ask EGLE for an additional 120-day extension, which EGLE states it would likely grant under two conditions:
1. The DNR maintains signage in plain view of anyone accessing the well that indicates the water is not for potable use. The DNR would need to consult with the local health department to define the specific text that should be included on the sign. Because vandalism has affected signs previously posted, the DNR would need to routinely verify that the signage remains in place.
2. The DNR works with the LHD to publicly communicate the health concerns associated with the water and why it should not be used for potable purposes.
The letter does not specifically address the two residences that appear to be connected to this water supply.