Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an government directive meant to strengthen Michigan’s water legal guidelines and insurance policies amid the state’s newest consuming water disaster in Benton Harbor.
The governor’s directive signed on Thursday is a six-part plan to power state regulators to do a line-by-line overview of consuming water guidelines and counsel modifications to strengthen public protections, in addition to probably overhaul how they do their jobs. This comes in opposition to the backdrop of a state plagued with tens of 1000’s of residents left to deal with lead contamination in Flint, Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, plus 1000’s extra coping with PFAS air pollution, stormwater runoff and different water points.
Whitmer stated she ordered a number of steps to tighten laws, discover extra sources, enhance public consciousness and extra.
“Our prime precedence right here stays guaranteeing secure consuming water for each Michigander, irrespective of who they’re or the place they dwell. We is not going to relaxation till each group has secure consuming water and each dad or mum feels assured to present their child a glass of water,” she stated.
State staff are directed to report whether or not new laws, amendments to present guidelines, or reorganization of departments and duties are so as. In addition they should report how a lot cash and the way many individuals are essential to make plans and correctly interact with the general public – particularly these dealing with consuming water contamination.
Whitmer’s directive requires a list of the state’s lead water pipes, each service traces and personal connections; that effort can be mirrored in a newly developed and Geographic Data System (GIS) database of the state’s consuming water belongings akin to sources, piping, remedy amenities, storage tanks and extra. The directive additionally encourages regional planning among the many state’s infrastructure managers.
The governor ordered this overview of state consuming water legal guidelines and laws be accomplished by the top of 2022.
Liesl Clark, government director of the Michigan Division of Atmosphere, Nice Lake and Vitality, stated in a launched assertion this and different state water initiatives will assist “leap begin” work in group water methods statewide.
“Michigan is blessed with an abundance of recent water that gives high quality supply water to each faucet within the state, however the growing old infrastructure that delivers that water wants aggressive and fast upgrades,” Clark stated.
By the way, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated Michigan’s infrastructure at D+ throughout its 2018 report on the state, due subsequent yr for a brand new grade as a part of the company’s four-year evaluation cycle for every state.
The president of one among Michigan’s most outstanding environmental advocacy nonprofits stated Whitmer’s directive is a “well timed first step” for a complete effort to make sure consuming water sources are secure.
“Stewardship begins at dwelling with our individuals. Doing it proper will set up us because the nationwide and international chief we should be,” stated Conan Smith, president and chief government officer of the Michigan Environmental Council.