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EGLE extends deadline for DNR and Greenland Township to drill replacement trailside well in the U.P.
October 10, 2023
EGLE has granted a 1-year extension to sister agency DNR and Greenland Township to source a drilling contractor to replace the 19th century water source that had been used as a drinking water source along the Bill Nichols Rail Trail in the Upper Penninsula’s Keweenaw copper mining region.
The informal trailside water spigot is shown along the Bill Nichols Rail Trail in Ontonagon County's Greenland Township.
“EGLE will continue to work with the DNR and Greenland Township to ensure this process moves forward and residents of the area are provided with a safe new water source,” said Eric J. Oswald, director of EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division in a letter to DNR officials last month.
The informal drinking spigot had been used for decades as a drinking water source by locals and trail users.
In 2022, EGLE determined that the water could not be considered safe unless the source was located and inspected. DNR was able to trace the water to a suspected artesian water source about a half mile from the spigot near the former Lake Mine, but EGLE staff found it to be unsuitable for continued use because of the age and deterioration of the piping.
The Upper Peninsula was ground zero for the first mineral boom in the United States when miners flocked there to hunt for copper, silver, and iron in the 1840s. Since then, an estimated 12 billion pounds of copper have been mined.
DNR and local officials will contract a well-drilling firm to sink a new well next year closer to the few homes and trail creating a safe public drinking water source approved by EGLE.