Our Water System
The Great Lakes Water Authority operates five water treatment facilities that draw water from Lake Huron and the Great Lakes tributary, the Detroit River.
Recognizing that quality begins at the source, GLWA invests time and resources into the continued protection of our source water. We work with world-class universities and foundations to ensure a level of water quality that not only meets but surpasses all federal and state standards. And a continued focus on environmental impact has helped GLWA become a leader on environmental practices and compliance in the Midwest.
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WATER QUALITY MATTERS
With the Great Lakes as our source, GLWA is uniquely positioned to provide its communities with water of unquestionable quality. We more than surpass acceptable water quality levels thanks to our expert staff’s oversight of quality control, technology and innovative treatment processes.
To ensure public health, GLWA proactively monitors source water through numerous tests and systems, including the Lake Huron and Lake Erie monitoring system. Our early-warning water monitoring system uses cutting-edge sensors to detect changes such as oil spills or chemical leaks, and provide real-time information about our water, allowing us to adjust our treatment process as needed to ensure the high level of quality our customers depend on.
BY THE NUMBERS
Water Treatment Q&A
The Great Lakes Water Authority draws water from Lake Huron and the Great Lakes tributary, the Detroit River. to provide water to 127 communities in southeast Michigan.
GLWA’s water treatment process is a 24/7 operation managed by highly-qualified and trained professionals. Once water enters GLWA facilities it goes through various treatment levels, including physical screening, filtration and a final quality check before being pumped out of our stations to member communities.
GLWA provides water of unquestionable quality to its member partner communities. The water we provide not only meets, but exceeds Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, as well as all other applicable state and federal regulations.
The quality of our drinking water is a Shared Responsibility. GLWA, our member communities and their retail customers are connected through a complex regional water infrastructure system that is designed to protect public health.
A “Boil Water Advisory” is a notification issued by your local community as a precautionary measure. Boil water advisories are distributed if there is a possibility of microbiological contamination in the drinking water system.
A “Do Not Use Advisory” is a notification issued by your local community to alert the community not to use tap water for any purpose. This advisory is typically used only in emergency situations.
After a Boil Water Advisory is lifted, certain steps are recommended before the regular use of water. The following are checklists for different water-use situations.
Water leaving your home goes either to a septic tank or to GLWA’s Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) through the regional wastewater system. At WRRF, wastewater is treated to meet all state and federal regulations before being released into the environment, often times cleaner than when it was originally received.
All the waste recovered from the water is then sent to GLWA’s Biosolids Dryer Facility to be treated and turned into environmentally friendly fertilizer.
Just like water, our wastewater collection system is a Shared Responsibility. We should be very careful before draining and flushing anything. For example, flushing wipes or pills down the toilet could end up clogging our sewer system and impacting water quality in the Great Lakes.
Watch this video to see the impacts of Flushable Wipes on our sewer systems.
Check out our additional resources regarding the safety and cleanliness of our wastewater system.
Water storage tanks help GLWA’s member partner communities in two ways. First, storage tanks can provide water in case of emergencies. Second, they assist communities in better managing their demands on the GLWA system by using less water during peak system hours. This may save the community money when the tank is filled during low-usage times. The water stored in the tank is then used during peak hours instead of drawing from the system, keeping costs lower for everyone. Some storage tanks are elevated, but many are also constructed below ground. Whether a tank is elevated or below ground, and whether a tank is the right solution for a community, is a unique decision for each member partner.
For more information on water storage tanks, watch this educational video.
Become a Member Partner
Discover how we work with our member partners to create healthy communities and explore the services we provide. Then learn how to connect your community to Michigan’s water provider of choice.