DEQ

Michigan regulators will take public comments on a proposal for more anchor supports in the Straits of Mackinac to bolster twin oil pipelines.

Enbridge Inc. is asking the Department of Environmental Quality to allow installation of 48 additional supports for its Line 5 pipes. They would be attached to the pipes and screwed into the lakebed.

A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Mackinaw City.

Line 5 extends from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A nearly 5-mile section runs beneath the straits, where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan converge.

Emails indicate the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality may not have immediately acted on a warning regarding groundwater contaminated by waste from a footwear manufacturer.

Emails obtained by The Grand Rapids Press show that state geologist Mark Worrall told the department in April that homes south of Wolverine World Wide's sludge dump should be tested for toxic chemicals.

The emails indicate the department didn't begin testing homes in that area until July. Many weren't looked at until September.

A judge says a bottled-water company should be allowed to build a pumping station as part of its plans to get more groundwater in western Michigan for the Ice Mountain brand. Nestle Waters North America sued after Osceola County's Osceola Township rejected a zoning permit.

Nestle wants to withdraw up to 400 gallons (1,514 liters) a minute, with help from a pipeline booster station at SpringHill Camps, a summer camp.

Mason County Judge Susan Sniegowski ruled this week, ordering Osceola Township to issue a permit for construction of the station.

Michigan officials say the state's investigation into old tannery waste disposal has expanded. The state Department of Environmental Quality says it's now investigating 75 sites for toxic industrial chemicals that were used by Wolverine World Wide to waterproof shoes.

Department spokesperson Mel Brown says about 26 locations have been referred to the shoe manufacturer for further testing. State officials say the latest testing area includes about 100 homes in Rockford.

Biologists with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are planning to take a second look at fish in the Rogue River due to growing water contamination concerns from nearby tannery dump sites.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that testing from four years ago found elevated levels of toxic industrial chemicals in fish north of the Rockford dam, prompting the state to issue limits to eating those fish in a health advisory.

After toxic chemicals made it into a housing development’s well water in Plainfield Township, Michigan Law Firm Varnum LLP is in the process of preparing a class action lawsuit against the shoe manufacturer. Varnum Partner Aaron Phelps says that during his career he has personally represented clients in a number of environmental matters, and from the look of things, Wolverine Worldwide is going to have some explaining to do. 

Michigan and Kent County Health officials held a town hall Tuesday evening to address public concerns after contaminants were discovered in Plainfield Township drinking water. Joining the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, officials from the Kent County Health Department as well as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services answered questions from the public, many of  whom demanded answers from officials about what they may know. 

Zephyr website

In the 30 plus years that the Zephyr Oil Refinery was in business, tens of thousands of gallons of oil spilled from the refinery and soaked into the Muskegon wetlands that surround it. While the company officially closed its doors years ago, the logistical burden of cleaning up the mess continues today, and that responsibility falls on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Last night in Muskegon, officials from the EPA and DEQ announced they will begin site planning for the cleanup starting in the fall. 

Michigan officials have approved plans by pipeline company Enbridge to install additional supports for its twin oil pipelines in the waterway where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says it issued a permit Monday for Enbridge to install four additional supports beneath sections of the Straits of Mackinac pipelines known as Line 5.

An easement granted in the 1950s requires that the pipelines have some type of support no more than 75 feet apart.

Two Michigan universities have received state funding to develop technologies that would help identify and track harmful algae blooms in the Great Lakes.

The state Department of Environmental Quality awarded Oakland University $158,314 to produce harmful algae hazard maps that can be continually updated. Researchers also will explore development of a smartphone app that citizen volunteers could use to detect the blooms.