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Good water is good news

Tribune Staff • May 3, 2018 at 12:00 PM

One of our state’s assets is its vast water supply, from the Great Lakes to many inland lakes and streams. But Michigan’s water supply has been grabbing attention for all the wrong reasons these past few years.

The Flint water crisis has been a national story that has affected thousands of residents on our state’s east side. And problems with water quality continue well beyond Flint, with concerns statewide about the presence of PFAS — a chemical linked in studies to several forms of cancer and other health issues — in Michigan groundwater.

A report released last month by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicated that Michigan leads the nation in the number of known PFAS contamination sites, with 28 such sites in at least 15 communities. According to the EWG report, some private wells in Michigan have tested as high as 800 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

And even communities as close as Holland have had their scare with potential unsafe drinking water, although Holland officials later said that the water is in fact safe to drink.

With all of the doom and gloom surrounding the state of our state’s water, we were delighted to hear some good news about drinking water.

Grand Haven city officials recently announced that the Northwest Ottawa Water Treatment Plant received the regional award for best-tasting drinking water at the American Water Works Association Michigan Section’s Kalamazoo Spring Regional Meeting earlier this year — an honor won by the city for the first time in 2015 and again last year.

The news that Grand Haven was recognized as having some of the state’s best-tasting drinking water is such a nice change of pace from the negative news surrounding water quality in our state. It shows how blessed we are to live in a community that has a well-maintained water system, as well as a great source of water to draw from, with people who are willing to pay to make the necessary fixes and upgrades to facilities and equipment.

This one-two punch of great water and a well-maintained infrastructure benefits everyone — from families across Northwest Ottawa County to local industry such as our local craft beer producers. And as we root on our local water system in the statewide competition later this year in hopes that we can tout having Michigan’s best drinking water, we hope this positive news about our local water supply continues well into the future.

We strongly encourage our local leaders to continue taking steps to maintain and improve infrastructure that allows us all to have access to quality water, both now and into the future so our children’s children aren’t left hanging out to dry.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Mark Brooky, Alex Doty, Josh VanDyke and Duncan MacLean. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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