Michigan Upper Peninsula community uses unregulated water

The exact origin of the water is unknown

Michigan officials learned that some residents of an Upper Peninsula community were using unregulated water from an 1800s steam locomotive service station.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the Ontonagon County Greenland Township gas station once served the community of Lake Mine, which was first settled in 1840 and numbered around 150 in the early 1900s.

The old steam locomotive filling station has since deteriorated into a flooded pit. Additionally, the plumbing does not meet the minimum code requirements for providing sanitary water to the public.

In the Lake Mine area, water is drawn from a pipe after passing through an old main pipe. Water samples were taken from the site and tested, and the results of preliminary tests meet drinking water standards, but the water is not regularly sampled or regulated as a public water source, MNR reported. However, other results of analyzes of water samples containing heavy metals are still unknown.


The exact origin of the water is unknown, according to the DNR, so the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy do not. cannot consider the water to be potable.

“We are working to further test and resolve questions regarding this water source,” said Ron Yesney, MNR Upper Peninsula trail coordinator. “In the meantime, we urge people to leave the panels in place until we come up with a long-term plan for the water well and plumbing.”

MNR first learned that a water pipe was discovered buried in the Bill Nichols Rail-Trail in September 2020.

“At the time, it was thought to be a dormant main pipe that surfaced as a result of leveling and compaction equipment working on the trail,” Yesney said. “Upon further investigation by trail staff members, it was discovered that the main one was from a working historic water source, which was built by the Copper Range Railroad in the early 1900s.”

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