In February of 2017, County Road Commissions in Michigan were notified the MDEQ no longer allowed the use of waste water created by oil extraction for road brine. If you live on a dirt road, then you’re familiar with the process of the Road Commission spraying the road to keep dust down during dry spells in the summer. The MDEQ will no longer allow oil well waste water for brining.
What will the MDEQ allow as a replacement? That question has not been answered publicly, but it’s possible to find out if you ask the right people. You can contact your township supervisor, they’ve been informed of the change. You can also ask the County Road Commission.
The Up North Progressive went with the second option, and received the answer, “mineral water” with an invitation to contact the Road Commission by telephone to learn more. According to the MDEQ, mineral water comes from:
The DEQ Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals administers Part 625, Mineral Wells, of the Natural Resources Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), 1994 PA 451, as amended. This statute and the promulgated rules govern aspects of well location, drilling, operation, plugging, and restoration for solution mining wells, brine production wells, certain types of disposal wells, and test wells associated with mineral exploration and extraction. Mineral resources such as metallics, limestone, salt, potash, and natural mineral brines are important to many Michigan industries.
Just like oil drilling waste water, mineral water means waste water produced from mineral mining exploration.
A public statement from the MDEQ explaining the switch has yet to surface. An old report from the 1980’s did appear at the top of a search engine query arguing oil well-sourced road brine leaches into ground water, and that’s not a good thing. The MDEQ decided using mineral waste water instead of oil well waste water will be better.
If anyone has seen a public statement from the MDEQ or their County Road Commission about this change, let the Up North Progressive know.