I’d like to provide an update to villagers on Council discussions and other activities related to well water quality and discussions about a municipal water supply.
Well water, treating water, water quality, enough water and where we get our water have been part of the village conversation for years. The last time villagers voted on connecting to a municipal water source was in November 2003 and the question was defeated. New options as well as new concerns have arisen however, and the topic is back on the table.
For about 18 months the Village Council has discussed adding a municipal water supply because we have some groundwater contamination in an area within the village center south of 14 Mile to about Vincennes on both sides of the street. This situation is a result of contamination from two gas stations and a dry cleaner 60-70 years ago. Franklin is among 300+ other Michigan municipalities that must now contend with the aftermath of some disposal and other practices that were common then but are clearly not now. The problem is chemicals remain in the soil and over time migrate away from the original source. A map has been drawn by the County Health Department and given to the homeowners and businesses in the area that shows a “plume”, an area that the state has tested and found groundwater contamination.
At this time, based on the data from the state, we will continue to monitor the well water health in the village center, but we must plan ahead. The State will continue to monitor wells indefinitely. Specific requirements have been put in place for new wells in the affected area and additional actions to protect drinking water sources may occur.
Trustees also know that there are villagers with low water pressure. What we do not know, other than anecdotally, is the extent and nature of difficulties residents experience with their water supply and where else in the village problems may exist.
In 2019, Council considered asking voters to approve a water main in the village center. It was not a village wide solution. In August 2020 Council committed to a goal of safe, sufficient high-quality water for everyone in the village. Why and what does this mean? It is a call to action.
Council wants facts on which to recommend solutions to villagers. Proposed actions include surveying residents on satisfaction with their current water, problems experienced and preferences for an alternate water supply. We are looking at options for individual well testing. Information from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and other research data that has been collected will provide additional facts on which a recommendation to villagers will be made.
Council members agreed that when the time comes to ask voters to approve municipal water, voters will be presented with a comprehensive village-wide plan, alternative sources of municipal water, estimated costs, how it will be financed and over what length of time.
We will be in touch over the next weeks and months as surveys are prepared and water supply data is reviewed. Please contact any trustee or Roger Fraser, Village Administrator, to discuss any questions or concerns.