County to investigate water issue

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:49 PM

The county recently approved contracts to enter into the second phase of a comprehensive water resource study. They’ll work with Michigan State University researchers.

“The study will start immediately,” Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Director Mark Knudsen said.

The study comes as a result of a $350,000 grant agreement with the state, as well as $100,000 that was raised locally from a variety of sources: all 17 of the county’s townships, Farm Bureau, West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and more.

“It’s a good cross-section of participants,” Knudsen said.

The study will identify and confirm the causes and long-term implications of groundwater issues. If necessary, policies and best-management practices will be developed to resolve the problems, or to minimize the chances of the issues becoming more critical.

“They’re going to do a 3-D model of Ottawa County to show how the aquifers interact,” Knudsen said.

The original study, also conducted by MSU, showed Ottawa County's major groundwater source — the Marshall aquifer — is drying up. The Marshall sandstone is one of two aquifer sources in the county. It resembles a ring centered in the middle of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Experts say due to the nature of the system, an in-depth look needs to be taken in order to get a full understanding of the issue.

“It’s a very complex system, which is why we need to build a calibrated-flow model to measure these processes,” MSU researcher Dave Lusch said.

Read the complete story in Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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