EGLE director recognizes Manistique's commitment to clean water during treatment plant visit

Nov. 30, 2021
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278 

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Director Liesl Clark will be joined by Manistique Mayor Kimberly Shiner and local officials Tuesday, Nov. 30 on a tour of the city's water treatment facility. Clark's visit is part of an effort to bring awareness to ongoing work to improve the state's water infrastructure.

"Like many other small and medium-sized water systems across our state Manistique has been proactive in addressing the many challenges to keeping fresh water flowing to customers' taps," said Clark, whose agency oversees 2,685 public drinking water systems throughout the state. "The city recently renovated their water plant, was the first in the Upper Peninsula to use ozone to remove organics and disinfect drinking water and is moving forward on replacing their remaining lead service lines."

"The City of Manistique is fortunate to have leadership who recognized early on the relevance and value of updating and repairing the water/sewer infrastructure," said Shiner.  "Water Superintendent Corey Barr has played an integral role, along with the support to Sheila Aldrich, City Manager.  The City has met and will continue to meet requirements and timelines set by the State to ensure our community has safe drinking water along with updated and functional sewer system. "

The city has drawn its drinking water from the Indian River since 1906. For decades it was stored in the town's iconic octagonal 16-sided water tower - now a tourist attraction on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the water system is a modern facility operated by Superintendent Barr and a staff of a head operator, two plant operator and a distribution operator.  Barr holds the highest possible levels of certification in water filtration, distribution, and wastewater issued by the State of Michigan.

The treatment facility was substantially upgraded in 2010, as was the water main system recently. It uses modern corrosion control treatment and several innovative technologies such as ozone, activated carbon filtration, and ultraviolet light for disinfection to ensure a high-quality drinking water supply. The city's water regularly competes and often wins the American Water Works Association's "Best Tasting" award.

It is in the process of removing lead service lines in accordance with the state's Lead & Copper Rule requirements, with roughly 80 lines remaining that are lead or suspected lead.

"Our state's Lead and Copper Rule is the most protective in the nation, but much of the work of complying with it falls on the local water systems," said Clark. "Manistique is but one example of the hundreds of Michigan systems that have stepped up to the challenge to ensure safe drinking water for their residents."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has called for a $300 million expansion of the state's MI Clean Water Plan to help communities address drinking water challenges. She's also called for using Michigan's share of federal infrastructure funds to accelerate lead service line replacements.

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