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E-M:/ Conference to Hightlight New Drinking Water Reports



News Advisory
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bethany Renfer, Clean Water Fund  517-203-0758

What Are the Threats to Michigan’s Drinking Water?
Conference Highlights First-Ever Reports Documenting Potential Health Hazards


On Saturday, November 8 in Ann Arbor, Michigan's top Great Lakes official will deliver the keynote address at a conference where public health advocates, water quality experts and journalists will learn about powerful new tools that will allow the public to evaluate the quality of their drinking water. For the first time ever, federally mandated reports documenting potential threats to local drinking water will be publicly available in December. Clean Water Fund and Clean Water Action are hosting the conference where Ken DeBeaussaert, Director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes, will speak. Threats to drinking water supplies include corporate farms, diminishing wetlands, toxic water pollution discharges, stormwater run-off, sewage overflows, illegal dumping and contaminated sites.

The reports, known as source water assessments, are the first comprehensive analysis of multiple types of contamination that threaten drinking water supplies and are the result of a 1996 amendment to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requiring states to analyze drinking water sources for potential and known sources of contamination. The reports also detail recommendations to better protect drinking water sources. They are to be issued for all public drinking water systems, including wells, lakes and aquifers. Citizen activists and environmental organizations from around the Great Lakes Basin are expected to attend the conference. National experts from citizen-based organizations will lead discussions and workshops. Workshops will focus on utilizing the assessments to enhance on-going environmental efforts, such as wetland protection, cleaning up toxic hot spots, curbing sprawl, and preserving green space.


Who: Clean Water Action, Clean Water Fund
What: Great Lakes Basin Conference on Drinking Water Source Protection
When: 9am-4pm Saturday, November 8, 2003
Where: Weber's Inn, 3050 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor

Background
Clean Water Action, Clean Water Fund and their allies have been involved at the federal, state and local levels for nearly a decade working to make these comprehensive drinking water reports a reality. Door to door, thousands of Michigan residents were contacted and subsequently wrote letters in support of making this valuable information available. Clean Water staff were appointed to federal and state task forces to oversee the implementation of the reports. Now the groups are working to ensure citizens utilize the information to its full potential.

“Its about time Michigan residents have information about existing and potential sources of contamination to their drinking water,” said Bethany Renfer of Clean Water Fund. “The assessments are critical tools that residents can use to protect their local drinking water supplies and ensure cleaner, safer water now and into the future.”

Citizen activists and environmental organizations from around the Great Lakes Basin are expected to attend. National experts from citizen based organizations will lead discussions and workshops. Workshops will focus on utilizing the assessments to enhance on-going environmental efforts, such as wetland protection, cleaning up toxic hot spots, curbing sprawl, and preserving green space.

For more information or to register, contact Bethany Renfer at
brenfer@cleanwater.org or (517) 203-0758. People can also register for the conference on-line at www.cleanwaterfund.org -- click on “Drinking Water Source Protection,” then “Great Lakes”.

The conference registration fee is $15, which includes materials and lunch. Scholarships for travel and lodging are available.

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