November 18, 2014 Meeting Notes

WATER USE ADVISORY COUNCIL

November 18, 2014 | 1:00 – 4:00 P.M. Michigan Farm Bureau Headquarters
7373 W Saginaw Highway Lansing, MI 48917

Members or Alternates Attending

Gary Dawson, Consumers Energy; Dave Hamilton, The Nature Conservancy; Andy Such, Michigan Manufacturers Association; Tom Frazier, Michigan Townships Association; Shada Biabani, Michigan Aggregates Association; Wayne Wood, Michigan Farm Bureau; Laura Campbell, Michigan Farm Bureau; Wm. Scott Brown, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations; Jim Byrum, Michigan Agri-Business Association; George Carr, Michigan Ground Water Association; Pat Norris, Michigan State University (MSU); Dave Lusch, MSU; Jason Geer, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Howard Reeves*, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); John Yellich*, Michigan Geological Survey; Abby Eaton*, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD); Jim Johnson*, MDARD; Dina Klemans*, MDEQ

Members Absent:

Pat Staskiewicz, American Water Works Association (AWWA); Matt Evans, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC); Gildo Tori, Ducks Unlimited; James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council; Frank Ettawageshik, United Tribes of Michigan; Charles Scott, Michigan Golf Course Owners; Bryan Burroughs, Michigan Trout Unlimited; Robert Whitesides, Kalamazoo River Watershed Council; Ben Russell, Southwest Michigan Water Resources Council (SWMWRC); Steven Rice, Michigan Wetlands Association; Michael Stafford, Cranbrook Institute of Science; Jon Bartholic*, MSU; Jon Allan*, MDEQ Office of the Great Lakes; Tammy Newcomb*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR); Peter Manning *, Department of Attorney General
Note: Ex-officio members are denoted by an asterisk.

Others Attending

Jim Milne, MDEQ; Aaron Rice, Prairie River Users Group; Val Vail-Shirey, Prairie River Users Group; Angela DeVries, Michigan Oil and Gas Association; Shayna Petit, IWR; Laura Young, IWR.

Welcome

Wayne Wood chaired the meeting and asked all attendees to introduce themselves.

Program Related News

Jim Milne presented statistics on year 5 of the Water Use Program, which spanned from July 9, 2013, to
July 8, 2014. There were 584 registrations in year 5, which decreased from 981 in year 4. Still, over half of total registrations were processed in years 4 and 5. Fourteen proposed withdrawals have been denied since the program began. Irrigation for agriculture and golf courses accounts for 93% of total registrations. Over half of all registrations are located in southwest Michigan. MDEQ’s ability to complete site-specific reviews (SSRs) within ten business has continued to decrease, as SSRs become more complex.

Wayne Wood noted that in the last program year, half of the SSRs were not completed in 25 days. George Carr also noted that the number of late responses to SSRs related to “complex issues” jumped significantly between years 4 and 5. Jim Milne commented that timeliness will continue to be an ongoing problem until the Water Use Program acquires additional staff and better data. However, staff have been organized so that one staff person focuses only on outstanding SSRs and the other only on new SSRs. He added that the majority of “complex issues” cases are in southwest Michigan and that the Department is working to resolve the SSRs. Pat Norris asked what “compliance issues” entail. Jim Milne explained that these usually refer to instances where a well was completed differently than registered.

Dave Hamilton asked for a breakdown of the pending SSRs from year 4 that were passed in year 5. It is included the table below.

Initial

Result

B

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

C

D

D

B

SSR

Result

B

C

C

B

B

C

C

C

B

C

C

C

B

A

A


Public Comment on Agenda Items

There was no public input at this time.

Wrap-up of Tier II discussions

TU 1.1 – Editing the NHDD to attribute all segments as intermittent that are symbolized as intermittent Dave Lusch was unable to finish the Tier II write-up for Recommendation TU 1.1. He agreed to send the Tier II considerations following the meeting.

EM 2.5 – Tools and training to improve geologic data entered into Wellogic records

This recommendation dealt with establishing an online training program to better classify glacial material on well logs. This effort is currently underway and a training program is expected to be in place by mid-2015.

TU 2.2 – Make the WWAT registration number a required field in Wellogic and on paper well logs for high capacity wells

George Carr requested time on the agenda to discuss the Tier II considerations for Recommendation TU 2.2. He handed out an example well log and noted that at the failure to comply in filling out the form is a misdemeanor. He was not comfortable with leaving this recommendation in the report as it could pose criminal liability issues for well drillers. He noted that earlier in the process he proposed starting a voluntary program with high capacity drillers to include the WWAT registration number on their well log forms.  Members discussed this issue at length. Several felt that legal responsibility resided with the property owner, not the well driller, as defined in Part 327. Others urged for finding a solution that would address the discrepancies between registered and as-built wells while still protecting well drillers from potential legal repercussions. Several members proposed alternatives and/or tweaks to the recommendation, but none reached a level of consensus. Since a solution was unable to be reached, the Chair moved onto the next agenda item. Wayne Wood noted that any concerns on this issue could have been addressed in a dissenting opinion.

Review final report

Laura Young reviewed a number of questions she had regarding the final report. It was decided that separate sections to discuss sequencing and resources were not necessary. However, a brief summary of resource needs for all recommendations would be included in the Executive Summary. Work groups were asked to submit any topics they were unable to address to Laura Young by December 5, if they wanted to have it included in the final report. It was agreed that December 11 would be the final day for comments or edits on the final report. The Tri-Chairs will send the final version to the Director on December 12.

Preparation for final Council meeting

The final Council meeting is set for December 16, 2014, in the Patriot Room of Constitution Hall. RSVPs will be needed for the security check. It was agreed that the Tri-Chairs would reach out to Director Wyant and discuss what in particular he is looking for in the final meeting.  Dina Klemans noted that the Department was interested in receiving feedback from the Council on its operations and process. She asked if this was something the Council was willing to participate in and whether the last Council meeting would be an appropriate time to do so. The majority of members felt that this would best be done at a separate time.

Other Business

There was no other business discussed at this time.

Public comment on non-agenda items

There was no public comment at this time.

Adjourn