You turn on the water; clean, safe to drink, water comes out. We usually don’t think about where it comes from; we take it for granted. One group that doesn’t take the safety of our drinking water for granted is the City of Portland Water Department. Their efforts got a shot in the arm recently as the City of Portland received an $800 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
For a number of years the city has taken part in a state program called the Wellhead Protection Plan (WHPP), that helps municipalities that get their drinking water supply from the groundwater to protect the land areas that surround the well area. According to a press release from the City announcing receipt of the the grant, “a WHPP minimizes the potential for contamination by identifying and protecting the area that contributes water to municipal water supply wells and avoids costly groundwater clean-ups.”
According to Portland City Manager Tutt Gorman, “the City maintains two Wellhead Protection Areas...located west of the Grand River. The smaller of the two areas is located near the high school.” The larger one spans a large swath from the Bogue Flats Recreation Areas southwest to Clarksville Road. Gorman says that the grant money will be used to upgrade signage informing the public of the boundaries of the Wellhead Protection Area as well as to enhance educational outreach to local residents.
While, “the City of Portland is committed to providing clean and safe water to its residents and protecting the environment,” Gorman says that they can’t do it alone. Keeping our drinking water clean is the responsibility of every citizen. Property owners in particular can help by plugging unused wells to prevent contamination from entering the ground water. All citizens can help though by ensuring that, “used oil, unwanted household cleaners, unused pharmaceuticals and other hazardous substances” are disposed of safely. Many of these substances often get dumped on the ground or flushed down the drain where they can eventually enter the groundwater.
Residents wishing to dispose of such materials properly are in luck. The annual Community Clean Up and Hazardous Waste Disposal events are coming up on May 5th. For complete information on both events you can check out previous coverage in The Beacon or visit the City of Portland website.
PHOTO: Courtesy of the City of Portland.