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E-M:/ Harding's policy on groundwater

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Subject:      New DEQ Press Release - 11/15/01
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November 15, 2001

Contact: Ken Silfven
(517) 241-7397

DEQ Proposes Groundwater Protection Measure
Director says competing plan sends a 'dangerous signal'

A proposed measure to strengthen the state's review process for groundwater 
withdrawals was announced today by Department of Environmental Quality 
Director Russell Harding.

The suggested legislation, formulated after months of research, allows 
state regulators to require a more detailed analysis of hydrogeological 
impacts when considering groundwater withdrawal applications.

"Abundant groundwater is essential to Michigan's high quality of life," 
Harding said.  "Its environmental and economic importance demands that we 
take reasonable steps to ensure that no proposed withdrawal negatively 
affects sensitive areas such as wetlands, or the private wells of nearby 
homeowners.  Giving state regulators greater tools to assess all possible 
impacts is a sensible safeguard.  Most important, this protects the 
resource without unduly burdening homeowners and industrial users."

Harding expressed concern about a competing plan being pushed by the state 
Attorney General and various interest groups.

"Penalizing the water-bottling industry, as their plan would do, is an 
unfair and shortsighted approach," Harding said.  "We must encourage the 
public and private sectors to work cooperatively for the benefit of our 
natural resources.  Singling out various business sectors for economic 
retribution sends a dangerous signal to job providers and does nothing to 
protect our environment."

Groundwater withdrawals currently are regulated by the Department of 
Environmental Quality under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  That act focuses 
on the quality of the groundwater to ensure the protection of public 
health, but gives regulators little latitude to consider hydrogeological 

Under the DEQ proposal, the agency will 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 will 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.


Alex J. Sagady & Associates  http://my.voyager.net/~ajs/sagady.pdf

Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste/Community Environmental Protection

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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