Lawmakers seek info about water

LANSING — State Sen. Ed McBroom and Rep. Greg Markkanen said they need more information regarding the public water along the Bill Nichols Trail in Ontonagon County.

The water has been used by the public for decades. Recently, after an investigation by the Western U.P. Health Department failed to be able to identify the specific source of the water, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is requiring the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to discontinue use of the water. Michigan law requires knowledge of the source for any public drinking water. Identifying the source is the first step toward keeping the water available to the public — as it has been for many years.

“Senator McBroom and I have been working with the DNR and others to try to find out the source so this great water can continue to be available to the recreating public,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “So far, months of efforts have not been able to confirm precisely what source the pipe is plumbed into and the history behind its existence.”

Old photographs show the pipe was supplying the water tank for the old steam railroad that served Lake Mine. The source pipe has been traced from the fountain to a hillside but it is unknown if it is an artesian well or flowing from an old mine. Digging up the pipe might destroy the functioning and quality of the water as well.

“Representative Markkanen, myself, and the DNR would appreciate hearing from anyone that knows the history of this water source,” said McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “Finding out how and when it was installed, and that it is a true artesian well could make it legally possible for the water to still be available to the public.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact McBroom at 517-373-7840 or edmcbroom@senate.michigan.gov or Markkanen at 517-373-0850 or gmarkkanen@house.mi.gov.


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