LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman on Thursday voted in favor of legislation that includes more than $3 billion to repair public water systems and critical dams and protect Michigan’s environment and natural resources.
“This is a major investment in our state’s future,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. “The bill uses existing state and federal resources to help with repairs or upgrades in communities all over the state. If signed by the governor, the bill will be a major step forward for public health and safety.”
Senate Bill 565 would use $2.37 billion in federal funding, $680 million in state resources and $290 million in repurposed state bond funds to improve or repair the state’s aging dams, upgrade wastewater systems and groundwater protection efforts and help ensure residents have access to clean drinking water.
Included in the legislation is $1 billion to replace lead pipes throughout the state; $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities; $100 million in grants to remove PFAS chemicals from “orphaned” sites and $85 million that will help ensure students have access to clean drinking water at school.
The plan would repurpose $290 million in bonds to assist communities with upgrading and replacing water treatment infrastructure; establish a loan program for homeowners to replace failing septic systems; and dedicate money for private well users, including grants to help connect to a community water system or increase the depth of their well if their water was contaminated or their well failed after a disaster. Also included is funding to conduct surface water monitoring and implement recommendations included in the Groundwater Use Advisory Council Report
SB 565 would also designate $680 million for improvements to the dams across the state. Funds are outlined for projects prioritizing dam risk reduction, emergency response efforts from the state and for a grant program dedicated to dam rehabilitation or removal.
“Ensuring folks have clean drinking water and being good stewards of the environment is something I think we’re all trying to accomplish. It’s not a one side or the other issue,” Outman said. “Utilizing these funds rather than raising taxes will get us to the same finish line without dumping the burden on people who are already stretched thin.
“Addressing these issues and making the needed repairs or upgrades now could save a lot of money down the road as we work toward a cleaner, safer Michigan.”
SB 565 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.