MDEQ Water Supply Program

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The Department of Environmental quality in Michigan (MDEQ) is rather expansive. It is split into several divisions including the water department that is designed to protect the state’s water. It does this by ensuring water resources remain clean as well as abundant. MDEQ’s water supply program has the water-related staff to help the state in its effort to protect, restore, as well as conserve the state’s water bodies. These water resources include great and inland lakes and streams, groundwater, as well as wetlands. MDEQ water supply program establishes the state’s water quality standards, oversees public water supplies, regulates the discharge of wastewaters, monitors water quality, and develops policies among others. MDEQ’s water supply program is further divided into two areas including community and non-community water supply. As far as the community water supply program is concerned, it oversees the primary Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that outlines minimum standards for safe drinking water. This also includes administering the requirements of the state’s Safe Drinking Water Act. This regulation is a federal law instituted to safeguard public drinking water supplies in the United States. The community water supply system further involves a community public water supply, which is defined by several types. As an example, type I is described as that which provides year-round service to 25 residents and above, and type II is classified as serving not less than twenty-five of the same persons for at least half-year. Additionally, type III as anything not classified as a type I or type II water supply (DEQ, 2017). On the other hand, MDEQ’s water supply program has the non-community water supply. This provides drinking water or for drinking purposes. Michigan has approximately 10,000 non-community water supply services including restaurants, schools, campgrounds, motels, as well as churches (Michigan.gov, 2017). These water supply systems are increasingly significant to the state’s aim to provide all residents with safe and adequate drinking water. Community and non-community water supply systems underpin the state’s water supply program. They are supported using the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act that was instituted in 1976, which enables the state’s DEQ’s water supply program to have authority over drinking water. It must be noted that the DEQ water supply program usually contracts with local actors including health departments. The aim is to maintain non-community water supply programs in all counties. Non-community water supply staff at the state’s DEQ support the local health systems through training, technical assistance, as well as program evaluation. This underlines the significance of non-community water supply systems to support DEQ’s water supply program.

Operations

The activities associated with DEQ water supply involve water management. This includes overseeing activities that may potentially affect the public trust or impair the waters of the state. It includes inland lakes as well as streams, the great lakes, groundwater, and wetlands. It must be noted that the MDEQ regulates these water supply sources. As far as operations are concerned, administration, as well as regulation of the rules and policies regarding the ownership and maintenance of dams lies with the DEQ. This includes details concerning operations standards and finding a consultant that comprehends the engineering principles underpinning the construction, maintenance, and inspection of water bodies such as dams (Emergency Management Division, 2004). It follows that MDEQ’s operations are wide-ranging because the program's concerns are not only construction but also maintenance and inspection of water bodies to ensure proper water supply throughout the state. This part of MDEQ’s water supply program operations includes an examination of each source of drinking water in non-community and community public water supplies, which is a requirement in the 1996 re-authorization of the national Safe Drinking Water Act. The amendments in the regulation required states to identify the areas providing public drinking water and assess water susceptibility to pollution. Nonetheless, DEQ’s water supply program has its operations spanning such activities as establishing water quality standards. In this case, the program’s staff regularly assesses the quality of water sources including the state's wetlands and groundwater. The aim is to ensure that these water sources meet the minimum requirements concerning safety. It must be noted that MDEQ’s operations cover both community and non-community water supplies. More so, MDEQ exercises oversight for the state’s water supplies. This includes approximately 1,400 community and 10,000 non-community water supplies (Michigan.gov, 2017). The state of Michigan has about 1.12 million homes served by private water wells (Michigan.gov, 2017). What is more, MDEQ’s water supply program is tasked with regulating the water well drilling companies. In doing so, it enacts policies related to the water well drilling industry and conducts regular inspections to ensure proper procedures. MDEQ also inspects well contamination. This includes functions and processes to oversee remedial activities at areas of groundwater contamination affecting water well.

It can be said that the program operates to ensure water supplies are appropriately monitored to ensure quality, safety, as well as the preservation of water resources. As an example, MDEQ water supply program has the all-important Drinking Water Analysis Laboratory. This is a significant component of the program because it offers services for the examination of drinking water quality. The services include chemical, physical, as well as microbiological analysis. These procedures are undertaken by the state as well as local water supply programs to ensure that harmful substances in water resources are detected and analyzed. For instance, the laboratory looks to examine the levels of contaminants such as copper and lead in drinking water. The aim is to ensure the balance of these metals stays at acceptable and safe levels to prevent the outbreak of diseases. MDEQ water supply program, thus, contacts other programs in the state to ensure that potentially environmentally hazardous substances are identified and managed accordingly (Emergency Management Division, 2004). This is in recognition of the fact that water supplies are usually polluted by wastes that can be managed prior entering the pathways and receptors throughout the state. It becomes evident that MDEQ water supply program has operations that span virtually all of the state’s environmental efforts. This includes seemingly trivial operations such as those involving providing information about the results of analysis of water resources. The program, thus, is responsible for providing information to the public to ensure trust and confidence in available drinking water supplies. More so, MDEQ water supply program ensures the state satisfies federal water supply regulations that are designed with the need to ensure availability, safety, as well as the preservation of the resources. More often than not, states are required to oversee the administration of water resources in their locality. For this reason, the program also ensures the state does not face lawsuits because of violations of laws concerning failure to exercise water resource management.

References

DEQ. (2017). What is a community public water supply? State of Michigan. Retrieved from http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3675_3691-9577--,00.html Emergency Management Division, Michigan Department of State Police. (2004). Michigan emergency management plan. USA: The University of Michigan.

Michigan.gov. (2017). Noncommunity water supply. State of Michigan. Retrieved from http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3675_3692---,00.html

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