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Agencies Work To Solve Water Problem In Ontonagon | News, Sports, Jobs

By on November 17, 2021 0

ONOTONAGON – State, county and township officials are working cooperatively in Ontonagon County Greenland Township to answer questions about an unauthorized water source that some residents are using for drinking and others household needs for many years.

In the Lake Mine area, northeast of Mass City, water is pulled from a pipe, after passing through an old mainline that runs nearly a mile along the Bill Nichols Rail-Trail. The trail is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Water samples were taken from the site and analyzed. The preliminary test results met drinking water standards, but the water is not routinely sampled or regulated as a public water source under Michigan’s drinking water law. Analysis results of water samples containing additional heavy metals are pending.

The exact origin of the water is not known. Without the ability to locate and inspect the source, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy cannot consider the water to be safe to drink. .

Residents in the area receive water from the old steam locomotive service station, which over time has degraded into a flooded pit. The plumbing at the water access site does not meet the minimum code requirements to provide safe and clean water to the public.

The MNR has posted signs warning the public that the water is not drinkable (not drinkable). The Michigan Plumbing Code requires that all non-potable water outlets, such as pipe fittings, open-ended pipes, and faucets, be identified with signs indicating: “Warning: Non-potable water – Do not drink. “

Recently, the panels were removed by vandals and scrapped.

“We are trying to conduct more extensive testing and resolve questions regarding this water source,” said Ron Yesney, MNR Upper Peninsula trail coordinator. “In the meantime, we urge people to leave the panels in place until we come up with a long-term plan for the water well and plumbing.”

MNR conservation officers have been made aware of the sign vandalism and are monitoring the situation. MNR is exploring the options and costs involved in finding the source of the water. Residents living in houses in the immediate vicinity have been contacted and given bottled water to drink.

In September 2020, MNR learned that a watermain had been discovered buried in the Bill Nichols Rail-Trail.

“At the time, it was thought to be a dormant main pipe that surfaced as a result of leveling and compaction equipment working on the trail,” said Yesney. “Upon further investigation by trail staff members, it was discovered that the main one was from a working historic water source, which was built by the Copper Range Railroad in the early 1900s.”

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