Zorn, Sheppard announce bills to stop deep well injection in Monroe County

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn and Rep. Jason Sheppard on Monday announced new legislation designed to stop deep well injection of brine waste products in Monroe County.

“Our main concern with these measures is the protection of Michigan’s water, especially in areas where residents depend on wells for their drinking water,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The uncertainty of karst formations when pressure and heat is applied is concerning to Representative Sheppard and me and should be to any regulatory agency.

“With this legislation, we are taking action to protect the drinking water of the people of Summerfield Township and Monroe County.”

The lawmakers visited Summerfield Township Hall in Petersburg to announce their bills, which will be formally introduced on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 387 and House Bill 4694 would prohibit deep well injection in Monroe County, where karst topography exists and is within 25 miles of a major body of water.

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.

“Residents of Monroe County have spoken loud and clear about their concerns with the proposed injection well in Summerfield Township,” said Sheppard, R-Temperance. “Senator Zorn and I are pursuing all avenues to make sure all concerns are addressed and that our natural resources, such as groundwater, are safe today and for generations to come.”

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