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EGLE names Kris Donaldson as Clean Water Public Advocate


Sept. 17, 2021 

17-year veteran of EGLE safe drinking water unit succeeds former public advocate Ninah Sasy

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) today announced the appointment of Kris Donaldson as the department's Clean Water Public Advocate.

A 17-year veteran of EGLE's division responsible for compliance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, Donaldson will replace prior Public Advocate Ninah Sasy, who recently transferred to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"EGLE remains committed to finding real and permanent solutions that ensure every Michigander has access to clean, safe water," said EGLE director Liesl Clark. "Kris has a proven track record of helping underserved communities in Michigan maintain and operate safe and reliable drinking water systems and as Clean Water Public Advocate she will provide a critical link to citizens as we respond to the challenges facing communities in Michigan that have suffered from decades of underinvestment in their drinking water infrastructure."    

A licensed professional engineer, Donaldson most recently served as district supervisor for EGLE's Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division in southeast Michigan, where she was responsible for regulatory oversight of more than 200 public drinking water systems in four counties.

Donaldson will continue the state's focus on lead service line removal as outlined in the Clean Water Public Advocate's 2020 Annual Accountability Report.

"During my 17 years at EGLE working on public drinking water issues, I've developed a large network of relationships with both local water system operators and the diverse communities they serve," Donaldson said. "I understand the importance of meeting with people where they are, listening to their drinking water concerns, and taking action to address their concerns."

Donaldson will work closely with EGLE's Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division, which oversees public water supplies, runs operator certification and training programs, assists local health departments in drinking water quality investigations, and certifies well construction, domestic septage, and on-site wastewater programs.

"My office looks forward to working with Kris in her new role as the Clean Water Public Advocate," said Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash. "We've worked with her for several years to improve drinking water systems and know her to be an excellent partner in protecting public health and improving water system reliability. Her focus on addressing residents' concerns will serve her well as she advocates for them across the state."

The Clean Water Public Advocate was established by Gov. Whitmer in Executive Order 2019-06, which created EGLE and the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate. The Office's duties include investigating complaints and concerns regarding drinking water quality in Michigan, establishing a statewide uniform reporting system to collect and analyze complaints, assisting in the development and implementation of state and federal laws, rules, and regulations related to drinking water quality, and working with public and private stakeholders on outreach efforts to improve the state's drinking water.

Donaldson has a bachelor's degree in geoenvironmental engineering from Michigan Technological University.

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