Governor Whitmer signs executive directive to improve water protections

Michigan

In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her virtual State of the State address the state, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 in Lansing, Mich. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive on Thursday that aims to increase Michigan’s water regulations.

“Every parent in Michigan should be able to give their kid a glass of water with confidence, knowing that it is safe,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Today, I signed an Executive Directive to begin a comprehensive review of the State of Michigan’s role in local water systems. The six-part directive will take several steps to tighten regulations, seek to deliver more resources, expand community engagement, and more. Our top priority here remains guaranteeing safe drinking water for every Michigander, no matter who they are or where they live. We will not rest until every community has safe drinking water and every parent feels confident to give their kid a glass of water.” 

The directive’s actions are:

Part One: Laws and Regulations 

Mandate a line-by-line review of existing laws and regulations governing water. While Michigan already has the toughest lead rules nationwide, there are still areas of improvement. The review will recommend reforms that could include legislation, amendments to existing rules, new rules, and executive reorganization. 

Part Two: Resources 

Identify the state and local resources needed to better assist public water suppliers, collect data, and enforce water laws. The current water funding shortfall disproportionately impacts low-income communities. 

Part Three: Education & Engagement 

Analyze efforts around education and engagement to ensure every Michigander who lives in a community experiencing water quality issues get the information they need to protect themselves.  

Part Four: Lead Mitigation 

Direct departments to continue finding ways to reduce lead in drinking water, including a proposal for the rapid and safe removal of lead service lines across the state, which are a primary source of lead contamination in drinking water.  

Part Five: Data 

Examine existing data collection and sharing practices, with the goal of strengthening the collection and transfer of information and formalizing best practices already in place. While the state does not operate public water supplies, it does regulate these systems. Protecting public health demands better access to data on local water assets.  

Part Six: Planning 

Find opportunities for equitable regional planning in the sourcing, treatment, and delivery of drinking water. Ensure resources are being used effectively to deliver safe drinking water. 

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