Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
Recently, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced that its Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate has launched its Drinking Water Concern System to track and respond to public concerns about drinking water quality.
Michigan residents with concerns about their community water supplier or their own private wells may utilize the online system to raise concerns. As residents complete the online form, they are provided with helpful tips and resources to address common drinking water questions based on the concern category selected. The system also allows users to post images that illustrate their drinking water concerns. The web-based platform, Michigan.gov/DrinkingWaterConcerns, is available in English, Spanish and Arabic and can be accessed from computers, mobile phones and tablets. Later this year, a public facing dashboard will be available to display water quality concerns received by EGLE based on location.
The Clean Water Public Advocate’s network of volunteer clean water ambassadors also played a key role in ensuring that the online system was user-friendly. The ambassadors will also help spread awareness in their communities that the new system is available.
“Michigan residents need a clear path to submitting their water quality concerns and this new online system was designed to improve access, align resources and provide a second level of protection for residents who have drinking water concerns,” said Ninah Sasy, EGLE’s Clean Water Public Advocate.
Community water suppliers, also known as local water departments, monitor drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Residents who receive their water from a community water supplier can contact the water supplier for answers to questions about water quality concerns. This new state-wide Drinking Water Concern System is an additional resource available to residents who experience barriers and would like to escalate their water quality concern.
The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate was created through Governor Gretchen 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 level to ensure that Michigan is more responsive to drinking water quality concerns.
“Every Michigander deserves to trust the water coming out of their tap, which is why I made protecting and delivering clean water and rebuilding trust in state government a priority from day one,” Whitmer said. “This new tool is yet another example of this administration’s commitment to make clean water a reality for all Michiganders.”
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 drinking water concerns. It also 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 to address water quality concerns. The partnership with local municipal water suppliers and local health departments also ensures that all parties work together to address water quality concerns received from Michigan residents.
The EGLE call center is available to receive water quality concerns at 800-662-9278. For more information on the Clean Water Ambassador initiative visit Michigan.gov/CleanWaterAmbassadors.