Road commissions across the state met in Lansing Thursday to discuss The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s (EGLE) brine restrictions.
EGLE is restricting the use of brine from mineral wells beginning April 1. This has raised concerns among road commissions about the impacts it could have on the costs and overall health of people who live on gravel roads.
Road commissions across the state found out about the restrictions on February 13 when EGLE sent out an email about a meeting happening the very next day at 5 p.m. EGLE says they first made these restrictions in 2015, but the Superintendent of the Grand Traverse County Road Commission, Jay Saksewski, says the 2015 restrictions wasn’t for brine from mineral wells.
“This could turn into a significant issue in terms of dust throughout the state,” Saksewski predicts.
Road commission leaders with the Superintendents Association of Michigan, the County Road Association, the Township Association and even representatives from industry met in Lansing to discuss the impact the restrictions could have on budgets and the community’s health.
“The hope is by providing this feedback to EGLE, one we can get them to put out a moratorium on this change,” Saksewski hopes. “It does appear to be plainly misguided there’s a lot of misinformation and inaccurate information that’s kind of appearing in this. The timetable is just not appropriate.”
Saksewski says the Grand Traverse County Road Commission monitored calcium and chloride in major waterways February 2022. They found detectable levels of calcium and chloride within the waterways, but say it is far below any limit that EGLE has set up.
Road Commissions across the state are hoping EGLE holds off on the restrictions but aren’t sure what to expect.
“Continue to watch this one as it comes closer and closer to those critical dates. Right now, we have nothing in writing from EGLE that they would like to put a moratorium on this,” Saksewski says.
They say if the restrictions do go through, they encourage residents to reach out to legislatures and EGLE about their concerns.