Water quality standards are the regulatory foundation for protecting our water resources. Water quality standards define the goals for a waterbody by designating its uses, setting criteria to protect those uses, and establishing provisions to protect water quality from pollutants. If a waterbody exceeds its water quality standards, it is an indication that actions are needed to reduce pollutants and restore water quality health to support the waterbody’s designated uses, like drinking water supply or swimming.
At this point in time, LTBB doesn’t have tribal water quality standards in place. But that doesn’t mean LTBB’s waters aren’t protected. When LTBB Environmental Staff assess tribal waters, they use an assortment of water quality standards from various sources adopted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State of Wisconsin and academia as the yardstick for measuring water quality health.
Groundwater is protected differently than surface waters. There is a Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA) that does provide legal limits on the levels of certain contaminants in drinking water. Community wells are protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act as well a host of other types of systems. To learn more about what types of wells are protected and the SDWA please click on the link: SDWA Protection
Private wells are not protected by law. It is up to the private well owner to make sure the drinking water is safe. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recomments that private well owners test drinking water for certain contaminants once a year. For more information on private well testing please click on the link: Private Well Testing