Groundwater is drawn from deep wells drilled several hundred feet into the Saginaw Sandstone Aquifer. This aquifer is a porous water-bearing geologic formation that underlies central Michigan and is capable of yielding an abundant supply of fresh water. Water drawn from the aquifer is replenished or recharged from local surface sources like streams, lakes, wetlands or permeable soils.
In 2003, East Lansing Meridian Water & Sewer Authority (ELMSWA) participated in a source water assessment performed by the MDEQ, which determines the aquifer’s susceptibility to contamination. The susceptibility rating is on a six-tiered scale from "very low" to "high" based primarily on geologic sensitivity, water chemistry and contaminant sources. The susceptibility rating of our source is "high," which means "substances may easily pass through the soil in groundwater recharge areas and contaminate our drinking water source."
In addition, ELMSWA is participating in Michigan’s Wellhead Protection Program, which is a set of activities and management practices to identify recharge areas and protect the public groundwater supplies from contamination. The City of East Lansing and Meridian Township have had an active State of Michigan approved wellhead protection plan since 2000. The two communities have also been involved in undertaking a program to protect the groundwater in the area by identifying and properly abandoning unused private wells.