ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

Drinking Water and Wells

Clean Fresh Water

HDNW has a comprehensive Drinking Water Well Program, aimed at ensuring the safety of both our community and people frequenting local businesses. Through regular inspections and water quality testing, this program helps identify and address potential contaminants. By actively engaging in this initiative, we prioritize the well-being of our residents throughout Northwest Michigan and support a thriving, healthy community!

Residential Water Testing

We carry test kits for many types of water sampling, including the two most common: Bacteriological and Partial Chemical. Stop by any of our offices to pick up one or more of the following test kits and learn more about what’s in your water:

Bacteriologic (Coliform) Sampling
(Required for new wells - included in the permit fee)
Test Code B / Fee: $24.00

Partial Chemical Sampling
(Fluoride, Chloride, Hardness, Iron, Sodium, Sulfates, Nitrites and Nitrates)
(Required for new wells - included in the permit fee)
Test Code C / Fee: $24.00

PLEASE NOTE: We test water samples at our local lab, and we transport your samples for you. Because of this, we do have water sample drop-off and shipping deadlines as outlined below:

Water Sample Drop-Offs

Samples MUST be collected on the day they are dropped off. Our drop-off days and times follow:

Gaylord Office

Accepts water samples Monday-Thursday from 8 am-4 pm

Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet Offices

Accepts water samples Monday-Wednesday from 8 am-11 am

Water Sample Shipping

Samples may be shipped to the lab on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, to arrive Thursday. It is your responsibility to ensure samples are received by the laboratory within 30 hours of collection.

(Be sure to check with the post office or other shipping company to make sure your sample will arrive in time. You may have to pay an additional charge for overnight delivery.)

Residential Well

A well is a hole drilled in the ground to an area that holds water. A pipe and a pump pull water out of the ground, and a screen filters out particles—like tiny rocks—that no one wants to drink. Wells come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the ground the well is drilled into and how much water is being pumped out.

The water in wells come from underground and is called groundwater. Groundwater comes mostly from rain and snow trickling down through rocks and soil. This water collects in the tiny spaces between soil and rock particles. When all of those spaces are filled up with water, an aquifer is formed. Wells draw their water from aquifers.

On-site wells that serve a single-family residence are called residential wells. For safety reasons, HDNW regulates residential wells. Before a resident or business installs a well, we evaluate the site and issue a permit, as well as do a final review once the well is installed. To obtain a well permit, click on your county below.

Remodel, Change, or Repair Existing Well System

If you intend to remodel, repair, or otherwise change the well of your existing home or property, use one of the applications below. These applications are ONLY required if there is an existing system on the property and the demands on that system or the set-up of that system will be changing.

Residential Site Evaluation

A site evaluation is the first step in determining if an existing or proposed land parcel without municipal well service (city water) can be considered for an on-site well system.

After an application has been submitted, an HDNW sanitarian will evaluate the proposed site to determine if the conditions on the site meet the requirements of the Sanitary Code. This application is normally used for property buy/sell situations. Application for permits to install water wells may be submitted by the new property owner following the closing of the property sale.

Real Estate Evaluation / Time-of-Transfer

A Time-of-Transfer Evaluation is a well system evaluation that takes place before a property is transferred from a seller to a buyer. The seller may be required by a township or municipality to have this evaluation completed prior to sale, to ensure disclosure of all conditions that may affect or limit future property use and development.

Time-of-Transfer Evaluations are conducted by HDNW sanitarians. If you are considering selling or purchasing real estate, check with your township or municipality to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities regarding water system evaluations.

Currently, an evaluation will be required if you decide to sell property in Milton Township or the Village of Elk Rapids.

Application Walk-Through

Application and Permit Fees

Your permit application must be accompanied by the correct fee. Download the fee schedule for the County in which the property is located and pay accordingly.

Charlevoix, Antrim, and Emmet Counties

Otsego County

Need to Email Your Application?

Please email permit applications or nuisance complaints to the appropriate County:

Underground Utility Marking

To comply with Public Act 53 of 1974 by the Michigan State Legislature for the Protection of Underground Facilities and to protect our employees' safety, HDNW will have underground utilities flagged by Miss Dig for all Septic, Well, Existing System and Site Evaluations applications. Please plan an additional 4 business days into your schedule for this process.

Additional Resources

Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been used globally over the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body - meaning they don't break down and they can accumulate over time. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health. HDNW works collaboratively with multiple agencies like EGLE, MDHHS, and local counties and townships to ensure residents our informed and filters are distributed when necessary.

Wickes Manufacturing TCE Plume in Antrim County

The origin of the Trichloroethylene (TCE) was the Wickes Manufacturing operations in Mancelona in the 1940s and 1950s. TCE was used as a degreasing solvent and Wickes disposed of its used TCE in shallow pits, which has been migrating in a northwesterly direction on an abandoned site. TCE is classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The underground plume of contamination is now 6.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. The migration rate is approximately 350 to 400 feet per year. This TCE plume is the largest in Michigan, and one of the largest in the U.S.

Contamination of residential well water has occurred from Mancelona to Shanty Creeks’ Schuss Village. State of Michigan grant money has been used to test private wells, drill test wells to monitor the plume, conduct groundwater studies, and provide bottled water to citizens affected. HDNW remains involved in tracking the migration and regularly provides updates to the public and county officials.