Wells run dry

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM

“We are drawing out water and the aquifer is slowly declining, and it’s not being recharged fast enough,” Ottawa County Planning Director Mark Knudsen said. “We are essentially mining the aquifer.”

According to the study, there is a very thick and compact clay-like shell around Ottawa County. This makes it challenging for water to permeate and recharge the aquifer.

The Marshall sandstone is one of two aquifer sources in Ottawa County. It resembles a ring centered in the middle of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

“The Marshall goes down through the middle two-thirds of the county,” Knudsen said. “That’s where a majority of the water wells pump from.”

Knudsen hopes the MSU study sparks measures that ensure the water resource doesn't dry up.

“This can show what can happen if we don’t modify our practices with withdrawals,” Knudsen said.

There are other concerns associated with it.

“Because we’re mining this aquifer, we are seeing higher chloride levels over time,” Knudsen said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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