Whitmer declares January 2022 Radon Action Month

Whitmer declares January 2022 Radon Action Month

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Jan. 6, 2022
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278
Jill A. Greenberg, EGLE spokesperson, GreenbergJ@Michigan.gov, 517-897-4965
Leslie E. Smith, III, Indoor Radon Specialist, Radon@Michigan.gov, 800-723-6642

Gov. Whitmer declares January 2022 Radon Action Month in Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared January 2022 as Radon Action Month in Michigan, and she encourages all Michigan residents to learn more about this environmental hazard and test their homes during the heating season.

You cannot see, smell or taste radon, and there are no short-term side effects that could cause alarm or warn of its presence. However, long-term exposure to radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer, which accounts for more deaths in both men and women than any other form of cancer in the United States, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), which aims to increase awareness of health risks associated with elevated indoor radon levels, promote home testing and encourage citizens to take action to reduce exposure once elevated radon levels are found.

Behind smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and considered a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for about 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. The risk of lung cancer from radon exposure is higher for people who smoke than for people who don’t smoke. However, the USEPA estimates that more than 10 percent of radon-related cancer deaths occur among people who have never smoked cigarettes.

Radon testing takes on increased importance due to many Michiganders now working from home. Testing is easy, inexpensive and the only way to determine if a radon problem exists. Residents are encouraged to test for radon every two to five years. If a radon mitigation system was previously installed in the home, residents are encouraged to test every two years to make sure that radon levels remain in the acceptable range.

One in every four Michigan homes is expected to have radon levels exceeding the federal action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter. Elevated radon levels have been found in all 83 Michigan Counties. Radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, but high radon concentrations also are easily fixed.

For more information about radon testing and other information, including resources for homeowners builders, realtors, teachers and healthcare providers, go to Michigan.gov/Radon, or call EGLE’s Indoor Radon hotline at 800-RADONGAS or 800-723-6642.

To receive updates on other EGLE news, go to Michigan.gov/MIEnvironment.

Grants available for counties to improve materials management

Grants available for counties to improve materials management

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Nov. 1, 2021
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278
Materials Management Planning, EGLE-MaterialsManagementPlanning@michigan.gov

EGLE grants available for counties to improve materials management in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy today announces a new materials management grant for counties. The purpose of this grant is to help counties transition from Solid Waste Management Plans to more comprehensive Materials Management Plans and to engage counties in future planning activities.

Currently, Michigan uses outdated Solid Waste Management Plans that focus on ensuring waste disposal capacity for each county. Michigan is evolving to recognize waste as a resource and focus on comprehensive materials management, including recycling, composting and other more sustainable management practices.

This grant will require grantees to complete several tasks designed to prepare counties or regions to think about the flow of materials in anticipation of updating their Solid Waste Management Plans to Materials Management Plans in the future.

Completing these activities will help counties to:

  • Create partnerships within regions and counties.
  • Understand current materials management gaps and challenges.
  • Highlight future changes to the planning process.
  • Outline steps that can occur now at the county/regional level to assist with the development of future materials management programs and infrastructure.

Counties are encouraged to collaborate regionally. Counties that work together will receive $12,000 per county. Counties that work alone are eligible to receive $10,000.

For more information on the grant requirements, review the MMCE Grant Requirements and Deliverables.

To apply for this grant, submit a Notice of Funding through Survey Monkey.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/EGLEM3.

To stay up to date on other EGLE news follow us at Michigan.gov/MIEnvironment

Grants available for counties to improve materials management

EGLE creation of external technical panel

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October 1, 2021
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

EGLE announces creation of external technical panel to advise on lead reduction, corrosion control in municipal drinking water systems

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) today announced the creation of a panel of drinking water experts to advise the agency on lead reduction strategies.

The announcement comes as the state accelerates efforts to reduce lead exposures caused by aging water distribution infrastructure in several communities throughout the state, with the ultimate goal of removing lead contamination from Michigan drinking water statewide.

The seven-member panel of technical experts will bolster EGLE’s ongoing effort to advise drinking water systems with aging lead service lines on effective corrosion control strategies.  The panel will report to EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division (DWEHD), which regulates 2,685 public drinking water systems under the state’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).

“Corrosion control is particularly important in many communities where older, outdated water treatment infrastructure creates challenges in keeping lead out of drinking water. Those older systems often serve communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, many of which are disproportionately impacted by health and environmental challenges,” said EGLE director Liesl Clark. “EGLE is already in action helping cities and towns across the state where lead levels exceed regulatory standards. This panel will be an added asset in ensuring the best water treatment programs are in place for communities while we move aggressively toward total replacement of these lead service lines.”

Lead in old service lines and home plumbing can enter the drinking water through various mechanisms related to the corrosivity of the water. The LCR requires systems to provide corrosion control when they exceed the federal lead or copper action level. Phosphate is typically added, which coats the old plumbing materials and prevents water from contacting the metals. This corrosion control is intended to limit leaching of metals into drinking water to protect Michiganders while a statewide effort is underway to eliminate all lead service lines.

Among potential roles of the panel:

  • Provide advice on strategies to ensure compliance with LCR corrosion protection requirements at drinking water systems where corrosion protection is triggered, is not effective or needs to be optimized
  • Provide input into the selection and optimization of corrosion protection methods
  • Advise on interim actions that would be most effective to ensure public protection while corrosion protection is implemented
  • Recommend and assess corrosion control studies and evaluate corrosion protection effectiveness
  • Identify metrics used to assess corrosion control effectiveness
  • Provide general guidance on implementing the LCR, which requires sampling and implements timelines when an action level is exceeded

EGLE is in the process of selecting academic and water system engineering experts for the panel and expects to recruit experts both from within and outside the state. The panel will meet on a regular schedule and be available as a resource to EGLE on an as-needed basis.

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

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Sept. 16, 2021
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

Dale Ladouceur, Environmental Quality Specialist, LadouceurD@Michigan.gov, 517-242-4010

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

Governor Whitmer declares September 20-24 as SepticSmart Week

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed September 20-24, 2021, as SepticSmart Week.  On Monday, September 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) – in conjunction with federal, state, and local governments, and private sector partners – will kick off its ninth annual SepticSmart Week to encourage homeowners and communities to properly care for and maintain their septic systems EPA.gov/Septic.

More than 1.3 million homes and businesses in Michigan depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate water resources and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, household chemicals and other pollutants to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health, the environment, and saves the homeowner money by limiting costly repairs.

Simple tips for homeowners:

  • Protect It and Inspect It: Homeowners should generally have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional or according to their state or local health department’s recommendations. Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs and protect public health.
  • Think at the Sink: What goes down the drain has a big impact on your septic system. Fats, grease, and solids can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
  • Don’t Overload the Commode: A toilet is not a trash can. Disposable diapers and wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, condoms, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, and cat litter can damage a septic system.
  • Don’t Strain Your Drain: Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances. Too much water use at once can overload a system that has not been pumped recently. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products.
  • Shield Your Field: Tree and shrub roots, cars, and livestock can damage your septic drainfield.
  • Pump your Tank: Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and/or local permitting authority.
  • Keep It Clean!: Contamination can occur when a septic system leaks due to improper maintenance. Be sure your drinking water is safe to drink by testing it regularly.The U.S. EPA’s SepticSmart Program educates homeowners about proper septic system care and maintenance all year long. In addition, it serves as an online resource for industry practitioners, local governments, and community organizations, providing access to tools to educate clients and residents.For information on Septic Systems, SepticSmart Week, or tips on how to properly maintain your septic systemvisit Michigan.gov/EGLEOnsiteWastewater or the EGLE SepticSmart website at: EGLEOnsiteWastewater/SepticSmart.
NotMISpecies webinars, Register now for fall sessions

NotMISpecies webinars, Register now for fall sessions

Sept. 13, 2021

Contact: Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814

NotMISpecies webinars focus on phragmites and woody invasives

Register now for fall sessions

NotMISpecies webinar bannerManaging invasive plants, pests and animals in Michigan is a year-round endeavor. The Michigan Invasive Species Program’s NotMISpecies webinar series explores how agencies, universities and locally led organizations are working together to protect Michigan’s natural resources.

If you are concerned about the impacts of invasive species or interested in the techniques used to control them, join us as we examine species-specific actions, innovations in research and technology, and programs designed to help communities prevent and manage harmful invasive species.

Follow the link in each webinar title to register.

“Fowl play” (9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15) explores the work of protecting Michigan’s managed waterfowl hunt areas from the threat of invasive species including phragmites. DNR wildlife biologists Jeremiah Heise from Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area and Zach Cooley from Pointe Mouillee State Game Area share their experiences and techniques for managing and restoring Michigan’s Wetland Wonders to provide prime habitat for waterfowl viewing and hunting.

“Just do it!” (9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 21) offers an invitation to learn about invasive species management by volunteering for a state park stewardship workday. DNR natural resource stewards Kelsey Dillon and Emily Leslie will share information about the program and its focus on special habitat areas in need of protection. Fall opportunities include woody invasive plant removal at state parks. Learn how you can get involved in preserving your favorite places for future generations.

If you are new to the series, it’s easy to catch up on topics including collaborative efforts in invasive carp management, early detection and response for aquatic invasive species, and the threat posed by spotted lanternfly. Recorded versions of all previous NotMISpecies webinars are available at Michigan.gov/EGLEEvents under “Featured Webinar Series.”

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program, a collaborative effort of the departments of Natural Resources; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Agriculture and Rural Development, coordinates and supports invasive species initiatives across the state and provides support through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

DNR, DTE Energy agreement on nation’s carbon-credits project

DNR, DTE Energy agreement on nation’s carbon-credits project

The deal will help DTE Energy reduce its carbon footprint and add an estimated $10 million in revenue to natural resource management.

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– DNR News –

Green, gold and orange ground cover in the foreground, tall trees in the background, stretching to the skyAug. 25, 2021
Contact: Scott Whitcomb (DNR), 231-373-3007 or Anne Santori (DTE Energy),

DNR, DTE Energy finalize agreement on nation’s first carbon-credits project on state forest land

Michigan’s 3.9 million acres of state forest land provide space for outdoor recreation, cleaner water, habitat for wildlife and many other benefits. Thanks to a recent agreement between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and DTE Energy, Michigan’s largest energy company, part of that forest land now will yield carbon credits that will help DTE reduce its carbon footprint and add an estimated $10 million in revenue to natural resource management.

The Bluesource/Michigan DNR Big Wild Forest Carbon Project is the first of its kind in the nation to leverage the carbon storage capacity of trees in state forests. The pilot project offers a portfolio of carbon offset credits generated from sustainable forest management activities on more than 100,000 acres of the celebrated Pigeon River Country State Forest – known as “The Big Wild” – in the northern Lower Peninsula.

“Our natural resources are a core aspect of our identity as Michiganders,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “To meet our long-term commitment to decarbonization we need to utilize innovative partnerships to increase revenues for land and climate programs. Under today’s program, we are pursuing a climate-smart forestry strategy and effectively utilizing our natural and working lands to decrease pollution and protect public lands.”

The pilot project

Stacked logs from an aspen harvest on Michigan state forest landA single tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year. By the time a tree is 40 years old, it can store 1 ton of carbon. If these trees are then used to make long-lasting wood products, the carbon they absorbed from the atmosphere is captured or “stored” within the manufactured furniture, houses or countless other items.

One carbon credit equals 1 ton of carbon dioxide emission. Studies show carbon capture (sequestration) could contribute up to 30% of the global effort to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. DTE Energy will offer these offsets to their larger industrial natural gas clients seeking to reduce the impact of carbon emissions, much as they do for their residential and small business customers through DTE’s voluntary Natural Gas Balance program.

DTE Energy has agreed to buy all of the carbon credits generated off the Pigeon River Country State Forest during the first 10 years of the program, at an estimated cost of more than $10 million. Payments (to the state) will start with the first delivery of carbon credits to DTE in 2022. Bluesource, the company managing the DNR’s pilot carbon credit marketing project, will provide updates on the revenue stream’s timeline and size.

The purchase of carbon credits allows DTE to offer carbon offsets to customers with significantly higher energy usage, a move that also aligns with DTE’s goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“We’re proud to partner with the DNR on this innovative way to help Michigan get cleaner, faster,” said Matt Paul, president and chief operating officer at DTE Gas. “These offsets will be made available to our customers that are seeking impactful ways to reduce their carbon footprint and join DTE on its journey to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Pigeon River Country State Forest project is an excellent complement to the 24,000 acres of Michigan forest we are already protecting through Natural Gas Balance, our voluntary program that helps residential and small business gas customers reduce their carbon footprint.”

Support for forests, wildlife

face front view of mature bull elk, head and shoulders, in the forest, sunlight and shadows across his faceBeyond the air-quality benefits – Michigan’s forests can substantially reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that has been released to the environment, which cuts air pollution and helps mitigate the effects of climate change – the carbon-credits project will allow the DNR to credit crucial dollars to funding sources that support the Pigeon River Country State Forest.

Revenue generated from these carbon credit purchases will be directed to the state’s Forest Development Fund and the Fish and Game Fund for efforts that could include tree planting, forest infrastructure (such as roads, bridges and culverts), wildlife habitat improvements, recreation projects and more.

The environmental benefit of the project stems from the state’s ongoing commitment to sustainable forest management, while ensuring more trees will stay in place long term to enhance the carbon sequestration of the Pigeon River forest.

“We manage Michigan’s state forests with a firm commitment to the health and sustainability of this incredible resource, as well as to the people who enjoy the forests and the fish and wildlife that rely on them,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger. “We’re excited to see this thoughtfully leveraged use of our state’s diverse forest land result in a program that works on so many levels.”

Getting started

shoreline view from Pickerel Lake State Forest Campground, reflecting the surrounding trees and skyBluesource, the company selected last fall to manage the DNR’s carbon credits development and marketing program, is a Salt Lake City firm that has pioneered creative solutions to climate risk since 2001.

“Bluesource projects have reduced hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gases over our 20-year history, and we can’t scale without the climate finance provided by progressive companies like DTE,” said Bluesource Vice President of Environmental Markets Ben Massie. “Their long-term investment in credits from Michigan DNR’s Big Wild Forest Carbon Project gives DTE customers an impactful way to reduce their carbon footprint, while at the same time driving sustainable forest management and value within the state.

“I hope other states and public lands follow the DNR’s lead and recognize that a change to progressive forest management, with an eye to promoting carbon stocking, not only nets revenue but allows for continued recreation, boosts the local economy, conserves water resources, and provides continuing educational opportunities,” added Massie.

Learn more about how and why the DNR takes care of state forests at Michigan.gov/Forestry.

Organizational links:

  • The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. Online at Michigan.gov/DNR.
  • DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Online at DTEEnergy.com.
  • Bluesource is the most experienced and most diversified corporate climate and energy advisor providing innovative, trusted environmental services and products in North America. Online at Bluesource.com.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows. Credit all photos to Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

  • Elk: Michigan’s core elk range is an integral part of the Pigeon River Country State Forest.
  • Fall in the Pigeon River: Scenic views like this are available throughout the more than 100,000 acres of the Pigeon River Country State Forest.
  • Stacked aspen: Stacked logs from an aspen timber harvest on Michigan state forest land.
  • Timber sale: A Michigan DNR forester inspects the harvest of a timber sale, this one in the Upper Peninsula’s Delta County.
  • Rainbow: A beautiful sight in the sky over the Pigeon River Country State Forest.
  • Campground view: Lakeshore view from the Pickerel Lake State Forest Campground, one of the many camping opportunities in and around the Pigeon River.