The City of Gladwin, like nearly half of all Michigan residents, relies exclusively on groundwater resources for its drinking water. Groundwater is also used for agriculture, raising livestock, and industry. Community drinking water systems are at risk for many possible contamination sources and this is why it is important to protect this valuable resource.

In 2005, the City of Gladwin incorporated a Wellhead Protection Program (WHPP) into the City Master Plan. The WHPP is a voluntary program established by the State of Michigan available to communities that use groundwater to supply their wells.
Upon implementation of the WHPP, the City established a local WHPP team comprised of City staff, residents, business owners, and representatives from the public who meet quarterly and work in conjunction with the Michigan Rural Water Association (MRWA) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to oversee the program process and help ensure its success for the future. A Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) surrounding the City’s active wells was also designated. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act defines a WHPA as "... the surface and subsurface area surrounding a water well or well field, supplying a public water system, through which contaminants are reasonably likely to move toward and reach such water well or well field." At the edge of the WHPA, it is estimated to take ten years for contamination to reach the City’s municipal wells. Because activities within the WHPA could have a negative impact on the safety of our drinking water, public education, and management activities were implemented.

Success of the WHPP and keeping the WHPA protected depends on the involvement of those who live and conduct business in the WHPA. Water source protection cannot happen without cooperation and a strong partnership throughout the community.

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