Long-Run Risk Management of Michigan’s Contaminated Aquifers
An analysis of the State of Michigan’s current regulatory framework for managing groundwater contamination
Restrictive management actions have been used across the State of Michigan to address groundwater contamination; however, the long-term impacts of these management choices have not been fully assessed. The 2016 Michigan Water Strategy recommended developing a comprehensive groundwater management strategy in order to better protect Michigan’s valuable water resources, but the lack of understanding regarding long-term impacts of restrictive management actions is a major barrier to developing an effective management strategy. The project team took a deep dive into the State of Michigan’s use of restrictive management actions, commonly referred to as institutional controls, conducting a multistep analysis of: 1) the legal framework and history of institutional controls used to manage contaminated groundwater, 2) how other states manage contaminated aquifers, and 3) whether the use of institutional controls can adequately manage Michigan’s groundwater contamination into the future. Further, the project team conducted an analysis of current institutional controls using GIS as well as considered appropriate groundwater models for projecting groundwater flow and movement of contaminants. Lastly, the project team developed recommendations based on in-person interviews with EGLE and DHHS staff as well as best practices from other states to provide feedback on how to improve management and coordination on groundwater contamination.
Morgan Beeler, MS (EPP) MPP; Iqra Nasir, MS (EPP) MPP; Matthew Willig, MS (CE)