Lt. Gov. Gilchrist kicks off first EGLE Clean Water Public Advocate Ambassadors meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2020
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278 

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II yesterday kicked off the first meeting of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Clean Water Ambassadors and welcomed more than 100 new Ambassadors to the program. Representing a diverse cross-section of both urban and rural communities from across Michigan, the Ambassadors have volunteered to work with EGLE’s Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate to ensure public drinking water concerns are addressed.

The EGLE Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate leads this statewide effort designed to improve transparency and communication concerning water quality in Michigan. Clean Water Ambassadors play a vital role in ensuring that drinking water programs and resources are accessible and effective. Clean Water Ambassadors have diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to ensure that our water efforts are inclusive and accessible to Michigan residents.

“Governor Whitmer and I have made protecting and delivering clean water and rebuilding trust in state government a priority from day one,” Gilchrist said. “The Clean Water Ambassador program is a critical tool in leveraging community leadership, experience and potential around water issues. We’re excited to work alongside Ambassadors to develop better policies, programs and practices that make clean water a reality for all Michiganders.”

The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate was created through Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2019-06. The office operates as a type 1 agency within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, while having a connection to the Governor’s Office to elevate concerns. The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate ensures that drinking water concerns are investigated and that trends are analyzed. Based on trend analysis, recommendations to laws, rules, regulations and procedures will be made to ensure that community concerns are addressed. The office also connects resources at the state and local levels to ensure that Michigan is more responsive to drinking water quality concerns.

The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate works closely with EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division and many other agencies including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Division of Environmental Health. The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate acts as an interface between state, local and private sector stakeholders to ensure that Michigan is more responsive to public drinking water concerns. The Clean Water Ambassadors are a key part of this effort.

As Michigan continues to proactively address water quality concerns, Ambassadors have indicated that the key strategies must focus on transparency of water quality data and timely communication with communities. The Ambassadors also stressed the need to establish an easy-to-use online drinking water complaint system to track and address water quality concerns in a timely manner. Ambassadors discussed the need for a comprehensive water quality outreach campaign to complement the rollout of EGLE’s new uniform drinking water concern system that will launch this fall.

“Engaging Michigan residents so that they can help shape state and local efforts to provide clean drinking water to all Michigan families is at the heart of our mission,” said EGLE Clean Water Public Advocate Ninah Sasy. “We are excited to be leveraging technology to bring more than 100 concerned citizens from across the state together and look forward to hearing their ideas on how we can make cleaner water for all Michiganders a reality.”

For more information about the Clean Water Ambassador statewide initiative and the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate, visit Michigan.gov/CleanWater. Michigan residents are encouraged to visit the site to ensure that their community has a Clean Water ambassador. It is not too late to sign up.

# # #