Advertisement

April 21, 2014

Michigan Passes Groundwater Well Dispute Statute – Again

The hectic lame-duck session of the Michigan Legislature has resulted in the resurrection of the state's once-and-future groundwater dispute resolution process.  Michigan had originally passed similar legislation in 2003, then repealed it in 2009 as a budget cutting measure.  Pressure to revive the dispute resolution process mounted as complaints about failing wells increased under the past year's drought conditions, as water use for irrigation increased and water tables lowered. The bill provides a formal process for resolving disputes between high-capacity wells (such as irrigation wells) and residential or other low-capacity wells that allege impacts from the high-capacity withdrawals.

The revived law would allow small-capacity well owners to file complaints with the Director of either the MDEQ or MDARD (if the alleged perpetrator was an agricultural well), if the small-capacity well owners reasonably believe that a high-capacity well has interfered with the operation of their wells.  The law gives the Director the authority to investigate the claim and to seek to resolve the complaint among the affected parties. 

If such the informal resolution is not successful, the Director may issue an Order declaring a groundwater dispute in existence.  This Order gives the Director authority to require the immediate temporary provision of a potable water supply to affected people.  The Director may also restrict the quantity of groundwater that may be withdrawn by the high-capacity well, and order compensation for the owners of affected small-quantity wells.  The Director's Orders are subject to direct judicial review in the circuit court.  The law contains an exemption from its requirements for fire suppression wells and dewatering wells, such as those used in mining operations.  The new law reinstates Part 317 of the State's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA).

© 2014 Varnum LLP

About the Author

Timothy J. Lundgren, Varnum Law Firm, Environmental Attorney
Partner

Tim Lundgren is a partner in the Environmental and Energy Practice Groups and chair of the firm's Water Law Specialty Area. In the water area, Tim works on matters related to water quality and water supply and use, including discharge permitting and compliance, stormwater compliance, and water withdrawal. He has assisted clients with waterfront and port facilities on permitting and compliance matters both on inland waterways and on the Great Lakes, and with spill response efforts.

616/336-6750

Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on www.NatLawReview.com are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is www.NatLawReview.com  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.