The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will provide more than $20,000 in grants to the Village of Milford and Waterford Township to conduct activities under the department’s Wellhead Protection Program.
The DEQ’s grant program provides communities with financial assistance to protect groundwater supplies from contamination. Waterford will receive $10,000, and Milford Village will receive $10,500 under the program. The funds are available as matching grants, with each community matching the amount provided by the DEQ.
Robert Calley, who heads up the Wellhead Protection Program in Milford Village, said the funds will be used to provide educational materials.
Materials, he said, are given to the schools and groups that tour the village’s facility.
“About four years ago, we created a database to monitor any potential contamination in the aquifer, and we are updating that database,” Calley said. “Basically, that’s the coordinates of all monitoring or wells throughout the village. We record data and work with environmental consulting firms. It’s a complex system, but it’s unique and works well for us.”
Calley said the village has identified sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the groundwater aquifer and test wells are used to monitor potential contaminants.
“We test for VOCs from the historic and existing commercial industrial sites throughout town,” he said.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs include thousands of chemicals which may have short- or long-term adverse health effects. Those compounds include paints and painting supplies, cleaning supplies, office equipment, adhesives and other materials. The EPA states that some VOCs are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans, and can damage the liver, kidneys or central nervous system.
The Wellhead Protection Program is voluntary at the local level. However, the DEQ states that communities which choose to develop a local program must address several elements, including identifying potential sites of contamination within the Wellhead Protection Area and include a contaminant inventory list.
Neither the village nor the DEQ were able to provide such a list or identify specific sites of contamination to the Spinal Column Newsweekly before press time.
Calls to William Fritz, who administers the Wellhead Protection Program for Waterford Township, weren’t returned prior to press time.
The township’s grant application indicates the grant will be used to assist in paying for public education activities, Wellhead Protection Team meetings, and preparing financial summary reports.