EGLE Clean Water Public Advocate launches Drinking Water Awareness Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
April 28, 2021
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278 

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) today announced the launch of Drinking Water Awareness Week starting Monday, May 3, which will also include Private Residential Well Awareness Day on May 4. The weeklong series of educational events is designed to help Michiganders understand where their water comes from and provide tips for residents to ensure that their family has healthy drinking water.

"As stewards of 21% of the world's fresh surface water, my administration has worked tirelessly to ensure that all families have access to clean drinking water," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "In partnership with EGLE, MDHHS, and MPART, we are proud to launch Drinking Water Awareness Week. Throughout the week, we will help Michiganders learn more about their water supply and continue addressing issues like PFAS, lead, and other contaminants."

Hosted by EGLE's Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate, Drinking Water Awareness Week is a partnership between EGLE, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the multi-agency Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART). The week is designed to increase the public's knowledge of drinking water issues and share strategies they can employ to protect themselves from these contaminants.

"Regardless of whether your water comes from a municipal supply or private a well, there are still things you can do to make sure you're serving our families healthy drinking water," said Ninah Sasy, EGLE's Inaugural Clean Water Public Advocate.

Drinking Water Awareness Week will feature a virtual event and several social media postings designed to connect people to state drinking water resources.

The week will kick-off Monday, May 3, with a primer on the basics of drinking water systems, including municipal supplies, which distribute 75 percent of Michiganders' drinking water.

For the first time in Michigan, Governor Whitmer has proclaimed Tuesday, May 4, as Private Residential Well Awareness Day. This day will feature a deeper dive into the roughly 1 million private resident drinking water wells serving an estimated 25 percent of households in Michigan.

"While there are benefits to having your own well, and in many cases it is a necessity, private wells come with added responsibility," said Sasy. "Our hope is to provide private well owners with the knowledge and resources to properly maintain and test their wells for potential contaminants. Proper well maintenance and testing are critical to ensuring that your family has healthy drinking water."

Wednesday, May 5, will focus on Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These commonly found, manmade contaminants do not biodegrade and move easily through groundwater, making them of special concern to private well owners.

Thursday, May 6, will focus on lead in drinking water, which is a particular concern in homes with older plumbing or served by municipal supplies that have not been modernized to eliminate lead service lines.

Drinking Water Awareness Week will wrap up Friday, May 7, with a recap of resources and actions Michiganders can take to ensure their drinking water is healthy. Friday's wrap-up will also provide an update of Michigan's collective efforts to support healthy drinking water across the state, which includes Gov. Whitmer's MI Clean Water Plan to invest $500 million in federal dollars, state bonding authority and existing state revenues to create a comprehensive, statewide water infrastructure program.

For more information about the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate visit Michigan.gov/CleanWater. For more information about Drinking Water Awareness Week visit Michigan.gov/DrinkingWaterWeek.