EGLE, Michigan DNR, Greenland Township talks continue for Lake Mine water access site

The township is looking to purchase the site from the DNR, who will be looking into the source of water for the site once the snow melts.
Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 4:35 PM EDT
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GREENLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Greenland Township is continuing its negotiations with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Environment Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) regarding a water access site located off of M-38 in Ontongaon county.

In January, EGLE ordered the DNR, who owns the site, to plug it.

EGLE is concerned about the undetermined source of the water and the potential health risks associated with it.

But both the township and supporters from as far as out of state are adamant against the decision.

This has led to the DNR requesting extensions from EGLE to hold off the plugging while an investigation began.

“We had petitions out, and there was well over a thousand signatures on those petitions,” said Greenland Township Supervisor Fred Barron. “People from out of state put their names on it, they come and travel through and they know where this water exists, and so they enjoy using it.”

The site was originally used as a water source for the town of Lake Mine and its railway.

According to Barron, it has been used by the people of the area for over a century, with no reported ill effects.

The township stated in February that no official notice was given to them of the closure prior to the announcement.

This issue of communication was the subject of a meeting Monday afternoon, where all parties met at the Greenland Township Community Center to discuss any unanswered questions.

“If we’re going to accomplish anything, we have to have communication,” continued Barron. “And I think that the DNR understands that Greenland Township is really serious about keeping this available to the public.”

Additionally, the township is working with the DNR to enter into a purchase or use agreement for the site.

This has been a goal of the township for the past year.

However, the source of the water, and its safety, must be determined before this is possible.

The DNR plans to look further into this as soon as the snow melts.

“We’ve received some information this winter since the notice went out about the potential locations for the actual source,” said DNR Western UP District Supervisor Thomas Seablom. “And there may be two sources here, not just one, and that’s what we’ll be looking at here once we get into the spring and the first part of summer.”

The DNR also says that, as long as progress is being made in the investigation, the time before the plugging is mandatory could be extended again.

“Right now, we have an extension that gets us into either the end of May or the first part of June,” added Seablom. “And if we’re showing progress towards it, EGLE said that they would be willing to work with us.”

In an emailed statement to TV6, EGLE says it is working with stakeholders on an expedited basis to locate the source of this well and determine if there are measures that can be taken to make the well compatible with the statutory requirements of a public drinking water source under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

EGLE also plans to meet with township officials again in two weeks.

We will continue to keep an eye on the investigation as we transition into the summer.