The Need for Wellhead Protection

Every community needs a clean source of drinking water. More than 44 percent of Michigan's residents rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Here at MSU, groundwater is our only source of drinking water. MSU's 18 production wells are drawing groundwater from the Saginaw Aquifer, which covers a large portion of the Lower Peninsula.

Groundwater plays an important role in the environment because it replenishes streams, rivers, and wetlands and helps to support wildlife habitat. Groundwater is also used for irrigation and industry. Groundwater needs to be protected because once it is contaminated it can be very costly and difficult to clean up. In some cases it is impossible to do the remediation to a level that is required for potable or consumptive use.

Kalamazoo County experienced first hand their need to protect their groundwater supplies after three municipal wells were found to be contaminated with organic chemicals. The cost of the clean up and treatment of the contaminated water was $7 million and one site cost more than $1.5 million. Kalamazoo County gets its water from glacial drift aquifers that are very susceptible to contamination.

The City of Kalamazoo has an excellent wellhead protection website with lots of great information. To visit the site, please click on the following link: Kalamazoo wellhead protection website.

There are other case examples of communities that have had to deal with contamination of their drinking water supplies. Cleanup costs are always much higher than the costs of developing and implementing a local WHPP. With this in mind, MSU developed its campus WHPP in 1999. The program was updated in 2006 and again in 2014.