Officials at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) have asked us to pass on the following information to our members.
Drinking Water Quality in Schools and Buildings During COVID-19
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is reaching out to ensure that every Michigan community understands what the best plumbing system management practices are and what they can do to keep the water moving in the system to promote quality drinking water during these times. Restoring and maintaining water quality after extended shutdowns and transitional periods of lower numbers in buildings are critical steps for protecting people from exposure to potential waterborne health risks such as microbial contamination, lead, and disinfection byproducts.
What Can You Do?
As leaders of local communities, we would like to stress the importance of a drinking water quality management plan to maintain fresh water to every tap used for consumption in the community, whether it be businesses, hospitals, or schools. Building plans should include remedial and routine flushing, cleaning or replacement of aerators and screens, filter maintenance and replacement, and the testing of outlets dedicated for drinking or food preparation purposes after any intervention is implemented and prior to resumed use (especially in buildings where the most vulnerable of our population spends time, i.e., schools).
EGLE has staff and resources to help address your concerns about drinking water quality.
- Holly Gohlke, the EGLE School Drinking Water Coordinator, provides technical assistance and outreach for schools connected to municipal water supplies. She works with schools to develop drinking water quality management plans to maintain fresh water to every tap used for consumption.
- Ninah Sasy, the Clean Water Public Advocate, oversees the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate. The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate was created through Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2019-06. The Office operates a type 1 agency within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), while having a connection to the Governor’s office to elevate concerns. The Office ensures that drinking water concerns are investigated and that trends are analyzed.
Information concerning the risks of water stagnation and guidance on maintaining the quality of drinking water within your schools can be found at Michigan.gov/SchoolWater. The information on this webpage is beneficial for many facilities, and not only school facilities. If you have questions regarding school drinking water safety, please contact Ms. Holly Gohlke, Community Water Supply Section of EGLE at 517-220-1904, or by email at GohlkeH@Michigan.gov.
The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate recently launched a Focus on Water Initiative that brings together state, local and community partners to address water quality concerns in Michigan communities. If you have questions regarding the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate or would like to learn how your community can benefit from the Focus on Water Initiative, please visit Michigan.gov/CleanWater for more information or contact her by email at EGLE-CleanWater@Michigan.gov.