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Environment & Climate Change

Water monitoring system in jeopardy

Water faucet
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Lack of funds threaten to shut down a monitoring system for southeast Michigan's drinking water.

A system that monitors the quality of drinking water for 3 million people in southeast Michigan is in danger of being shut down for lack of money.

Monitoring stations are located in Lake Saint Clair, and the Detroit and Saint Clair rivers. Macomb County interim deputy health officer Gary White says federal and state grants, along with local money, have kept the system running since 2007:

"But that money is running out, and there’s enough money right now to operate the system until probably the end of this year, at which point the system won’t continue to operate unless there’s some sort of influx of funds from other sources."

The monitoring stations act as an “early warning system” to detect contaminants before they enter drinking water treatment plants. But White says it’s important for people to know that ending the monitoring system would not mean a decline in water quality.