Department of Public Health

Wells & Water Quality

Annual Public Beach Water Sampling Results | Non-Community Water Supply Program | Private On-Site Water Wells | Private/Public Water Well Abandonment | Public Swimming Pool Services| Related Links | Water Well Analysis | Phosphorus Ordinance |

Non Community Water Supply Program

This program permits and inspects wells and non-municipal water supplies, also known as type II wells, which provide water to 25 or more people at least 60 days per year (i.e. motels, schools utilizing water wells). The permit application and fee (See Environmental Health Fee Schedule for costs) is required, as well as a diagram of the site indicating:

  • The location of the proposed well and distribution system in relation to the property lines and all structures on the property and adjacent property that will be served by the well.
  • The distances from the proposed well to any drain fields, sewer lines, septic tanks, drywells, grease traps, abandoned wells, chemical storage facilities or fertilizer storage units.
  • The areas subject to flooding and/or standing surface waters (e.g. lake or streams).
  • Major sources of contamination such as landfills, waste disposal sites and known groundwater contamination sites. Also indicate if the old well will be used in any capacity, provide a list of the number of sinks, toilets, faucets, hose connections, drinking fountains and the number of people to be served by the well. This will help us determine the flow rate for the well.

For questions, contact the Ottawa County Department of Public Health Environmental Health Division (616) 393-5645. The following information may also be helpful:

Private On Site Water Wells

Permits are required for the installation of all new and repair on site water wells. Proper well construction is a critical step to prevent contamination during the life of the well. Prior to the issuance of a permit, the site must be evaluated to ensure that it meets all the requirements of the Ottawa County Environmental Health Code. Access this service by completing the request online, by downloading and following the instructions on the form, or by visiting one of our offices.

Private/Public Water Well Abandonment

All unused wells must be properly abandoned to prevent groundwater aquifer contamination. Call the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Division at (616) 393-5645 for information regarding the requirements and plugging information.

Public Swimming Pool Services

The program provides plan reviews, inspections and licensing to ensure all public swimming pools are maintained in a safe and sanitary condition. For questions, contact the Ottawa County Department of Public Health Environmental Health Division to (616) 393-5645. The following information may also be helpful:

  • Public Swimming Pool FAQs

    What is a public swimming pool?
    Public swimming pools are defined by the State of Michigan as an artificial body of water used collectively by a number of individuals primarily for the purpose of swimming, wading, recreation, or instruction and includes related equipment, structures, areas, and enclosures intended for the use of individuals using or operating the swimming pool such as equipment, dressing, locker, shower, and toilet rooms. Public swimming pools include those which are for parks, schools, motels, camps, resorts, apartments, clubs, hotels, mobile home parks, subdivisions, waterparks, and the like.

    When are public pools inspected?
    All public pools are inspected at least annually by Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH). Select pools may require a pre-opening inspection each season. New pools need an initial inspection prior to opening with an EGLE inspector.

    What are the obligations for the public pool swimming pool operator?
    As the swimming pool operator, you have many tasks. There are three main obligations of a public swimming pool operator required by law. They are:

    • Collection and submission of water samples quarterly for bacteriologic analysis – see steps in taking quarterly bacteria samples for more information
    • Submission of operational report to OCDPH at the end of each month. Example of an operational report here. At a minimum, water should be tested twice daily – once before the pool opens and once during the day.
    • Qualified personnel readily available within 15 minutes. Qualified personnel must be available during all hours in which a swimming pool is open. This person must be available within 15 minutes of arrival. This individual should be responsible for testing water quality and operating equipment for water treatment and circulation. We strongly encourage pool operators to take the certified pool operator class.

    What are the steps in taking a quarterly bacteria water sample?
    Collection of quarterly water samples for bacteria is critical as an indicator that the pool operation and maintenance are keeping bacteria levels in check. These water samples are required when your pool or spa is open.
    Bacteria water sample bottles can be picked up and dropped off at OCDPH located at 12251 James Street in Holland. If you bring the bacteria water sample to OCDPH, the water lab fee is due at drop off. You can also pick up and drop off bacteria water samples at certified drinking water lab of your choice. Please contact us for a list of local certified drinking water labs.

    • Quarter 1: Sample between January 1 and March 31 (if pool is open)
    • Quarter 2: Sample between April and June 30 (if pool is open)
    • Quarter 3: Sample between July 1 and September 30 (if pool is open)
    • Quarter 4: Sample between October 1 and December 31 (if pool is open)

    If results are unacceptable, re-sampling is required.

    Who can I contact for more information?
    Environmental Health at 616-393-5645 or

Water Well Analysis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rules that protect public drinking water systems do not apply to individual water systems. As an individual water system owner, it is up to you to make sure that your water is safe to drink! The Department of Public Health offers water testing and analysis for private and public water wells. See Fee Schedule for costs. Visit Frequently Asked Questions or call (616) 393-5645 for more information. Several types of tests are available:

  • Bacteriological testing. Test bottles available at all offices.
  • Partial Chemical testing. Test bottles available at all offices.
  • Other tests available - cost varies with type of analysis. Test bottles available only in the Holland office.

Phosphorus Ordinance

A problem arises when our environment is artificially polluted with excess amounts phosphorus. Lakes and streams are especially vulnerable to phosphorus overloading. It is estimated that one pound of phosphorus can stimulate up to 500 pounds of nuisance algae which damages the environment, discourages recreation, and threatens public health. On January 1, 2008, an ordinance regulating the use of fertilizer containing phosphorus in Ottawa County went into effect. The purpose of this ordinance is to reduce the amount of excess nutrients entering the lakes, rivers, and streams of Ottawa County. In turn, this will help improve and maintain lake and stream water quality by reducing algae blooms and the excess growth and spread of other aquatic plants.

Download the Phosphorus Ordinance Flyer!

The regulation prohibits the use of any lawn fertilizer containing more than 0% phosphorus; prohibits the use of any fertilizer on frozen ground; and prohibits the use of any fertilizer on impervious surfaces including parking lots, roadways, and sidewalks. The ordinance does not apply to newly established turf or lawn areas during their first growing season; turf or lawn areas that have been shown within the last three years to be phosphorus deficient through laboratory analysis; agricultural areas, gardens, or applications to trees and/or shrubs; and compost or similar natural organic materials. It is estimated that nearly all West Michigan soils naturally contain sufficient available phosphorus to support healthy lawns. For further information regarding soil testing, please contact the Michigan State University Extension Service at (616) 845-8250.

Retailers and Commercial Lawn Applicators who are interested in partnering with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health to help keep our lakes, rivers, and streams free of excess phosphorus and algae are encouraged to become an Ottawa County Water Quality Steward. Become a "Blue Thumb Partner" by completing these three simple requirements. Provide a phosphorus-free alternative fertilizer. Post signs regarding the Ottawa County Phosphorus Ordinance. Manager/staff trained by the Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program. Contact the Ottawa County Department of Public Health at (616) 393-5645 for more information and to obtain an application to become a "Blue Thumb Partner". Your business will then receive a certificate of partnership and will be listed as a partner on the website below.

"Blue Thumb Partners"
De Bruyn Seed Store, 101 East Washington, Zeeland, (616) 772-0011

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