Zorn, local experts tell Senate panel about need to stop deep well injection in Monroe County

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn joined local experts in testifying on Thursday before the Senate Energy and Technology Committee on his legislation to stop deep well injection of brine waste products in Monroe County.

“I introduced legislation to protect our water after hearing loud and clear from residents about their concerns with the proposed new injection well in Monroe County,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This meeting was a chance for the committee to hear directly from local experts about why it is important to act and ensure the long-term safety of the drinking water and agriculture irrigation supplies for Summerfield Township families.”

Senate Bill 387 would prohibit deep well injection in Monroe County where karst topography exists.

Karst topography is a subsurface landscape formed by soluble rock, such as limestone. These formations allow easy movement of underground fluids, including injection materials that could return to the groundwater level and contaminate drinking water sources.

“This proposed deep injection well is an insane idea,” said Summerfield Township Supervisor John R. Chandler. “It threatens the economic viability of our township and the surrounding communities — including residents along Lake Erie.”

Ned Birkey, a local agriculture expert from Spartan Agricultural Consulting, said, “All the wells in a nine-mile area surrounding the proposed well are irrigation wells in karst formations.”

Summerfield Township Engineer Dave Kubiske, P.E. said, “Water is a precious commodity. If this aquifer would be breached, it would impact thousands of acres of farmland due to irrigation and result in an economic and ecologic disaster.”

Also joining Zorn in testifying during the committee hearing were Fred Lucas, an attorney representing Summerfield Township; Monroe County Environmental Health Director Chris Westover; and Monroe County Commissioner David Hoffman.

Current law requires both a federal and a state permit to inject brine into underground wells. Zorn’s bill targets state law to effectively rule out siting such a well in these sensitive underground settings.

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