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E-M:/ Oakland County Groundwater Maps



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Enviro-Mich message from Nolan Bennett <elansingcwa@cleanwater.org>
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OAKLAND COUNTY RESIDENTS AND CLEAN WATER GROUPS SHOCKED BY COUNTY HEALTH
DEPARTMENT'S BLOCKING OF CONTAMINANT MAP DISTRIBUTION

GROUPS' OFFER TO HELP COUNTY DISTRIBUTE MAPS IS REJECTED

Clean Water Action and its Michigan members along with Clean Water Fund were
shocked by the Oakland County Health Department's decision not to allow the
groups to distribute the recently released contaminant maps to Oakland
County residents through Clean Water Action's door-to-door outreach efforts.
The groups have been working diligently for more complete information on the
maps, and they have talked with thousands of Northern Oakland County
residents about drinking water issues. In addition, they have been providing
information to residents on how to get more information about drinking water
contaminants and who to call to have their private well water tested.

"It would have been wonderful if the Clean Water Action representative could
have handed me a map at the door when they came to my house," said Annette
Calvin, an Orion Township resident and Clean Water Action member. "I want
the most complete and accurate information so my neighbors and I can decide
what is safe for ourselves and our children. I don't understand why the
county would  prevent residents from receiving the maps  through Clean Water
Action's door-to-door effort."

"We don't know what the Oakland County Health Department has to fear by
having better distribution of the maps," said Nolan Bennett, Program
Coordinator for Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund. "We offered to do
the county a service by handing out the maps through our door-to-door
outreach efforts and our offer was rejected."

Standing in the way of broader map distribution is even further troubling
given that the Oakland County Administration opposed the issuing of the maps
in 1997. The administration said that the maps could have adverse effects on
property values. Only because of the hard work of local activists and
certain County Commissioners, the Administration changed its position and
decided to distribute the maps.

"Opponents of the maps have used the scare tactic that providing the public
with information about contaminants in their groundwater would cause panic
and everyone will rush to sell their houses thus affecting property values,"
continued Bennett. "The County Administration does not give the average
person enough credit."

The contaminant maps were compiled  through a joint effort between the
county, the U. S. Geological Survey and the University of Michigan  Flint,
and the maps provide information on the levels of arsenic, nitrate and
chlorides in the groundwater in Oakland County. Clean Water Action and Clean
Water Fund have been calling on the county to provide better information on
arsenic concentrations and to add other data such as contaminated sites to
the maps. Over 300 Northern Oakland County residents have written the
Oakland County Board of Commissioners asking for more information on the
maps. While Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund believe the recently
released maps are a good first step and that residents should use them as an
information resource, the maps still do not tell the whole story about
contaminant levels and threats to groundwater.

"Given the high demand for the maps, the county should not hesitate to print
revised maps which contain more information," said Bennett. "Oakland County
residents will be able to make better decisions about the health and safety
of their families when they are given clear and complete information on the
maps." 


GROUNDWATER CONTAMINANT MAPS (a good start, but more information should be
provided)
 	Oakland County Health Department - 1 (248) 858-1312,  
	Web site:
http://www.co.oakland.mi.us/c_serv/health/ehealth/water/waterinfo/index.html

INFORMATION ABOUT ARSENIC
 	Clean Water Action - (517) 337-4447, 4990 Northwind Dr., 
        Suite 210, East Lansing, Mi 48823
 	
        The Michigan Department of Community Health - Phone: (517) 335-8350 
        or 1 (800) MI-TOXIC (800-648-6942),
	Web site: http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/envhea/arsenic.htm
 	
        The United States Geological Survey (USGS) - 
        Web site: http://mcmcweb.er.usgs.gov/mdwi/arsenic.html

TESTING YOUR WELL
 	The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, 
        Drinking Water and Radiological Protection Division - 
	Phone: 1 (800) MI-TOXIC (800-648-6942), 
        Web site: http://www.deq.state.mi.us/dwr/Lab/H2O/H2O-lab.html




Nolan Bennett					Program Coordinator
Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund		Phone:	(517) 337-4447
4990 Northwind Dr., Suite 210			Fax:	(517) 337-2833
East Lansing, MI  48823


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