Automatic Approval of Groundwater Withdrawals Proposed by Michigan DEQ

Automatic Approval of Groundwater Withdrawals Proposed by Michigan DEQ

On November 15, 2001 the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposed legislation to alter the way proposals for withdrawals of groundwater in Michigan are reviewed. Under the proposal, the agency would use a two-tiered permitting system for all new groundwater withdrawals of more than 70 gallons per minute. The first permitting tier would allow automatic approval of a proposed withdrawal when the state has “good hydrological data” for a site and determines that neighboring wells would not be affected. Under the second tier, if that information is not available or if the DEQ believes that the proposed withdrawal may impact local wells, the applicant must then provide data demonstrating that negative impacts will not result.

Again, the state agency charged with protecting the water of the State of Michigan is willing to rely on data supplied by the applicant – the person/corporation that stands to gain by removal and sale of the water that belongs to all of us! Currently, the Safe Water Drinking Act focuses mainly on quality of water; this proposal would add a quantity aspect to this review.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.