From our Great Lakes to our rivers and streams, water is what makes Michigan special. In a state surrounded by 80 percent of our nation’s fresh surface water, communities have every right to clean, safe drinking water. However, failing water infrastructure, toxic chemicals, and nutrient pollution threaten what every Michigander holds dear.

Expanding Access to Clean, Safe Drinking Water 

Investing in our drinking water and expanding access to all Michiganders will improve our public health, create good paying careers, and enhance overall quality of life for all Michigan residents.

Michigan has a $20 billion need to invest in our water infrastructure over the next 20 years. 

MI 21st Infrastructure Task Force.

People in weatherized homes save $514 in out of pocket medical expenses each year.

Department of Energy

Michigan employs 74,242 people in energy efficiency.

— Clean Jobs Midwest

Policies to guarantee access to clean, safe drinking water:

Invest $1 billion in water infrastructure annually to repair storm and wastewater systems, improve water filtration systems, and replace lead service lines. 

Implement a “Filter First” approach to public drinking water sources, especially in our schools and daycare centers.

Strengthen polluter pay standards to hold corporate polluters responsible at contaminated sites that threaten our drinking water.

Reevaluate MI’s water rate structure to guarantee affordable access to water; provide access to water for subsistence level uses at low to no cost by charging a higher rate per gallon for large water consumers. This will maintain financial stability of the system while encouraging conservation.

Protecting Our Great Lakes, Rivers, and Streams 

Michigan’s Great Lakes, rivers, and streams are what makes Michigan special; yet uncontrolled development, toxic contamination, and nutrient pollution threaten our watersheds and their natural aquatic systems. Reducing pollution in our Great Lakes will protect our fisheries, enhance tourism and recreation opportunities, and help protect our drinking water resources.

Every major Michigan river has documented contamination from human fecal matter (septic systems). 

— Michigan State University 

Lake Erie has experienced a harmful (toxic) algae bloom each year since 2005. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

More than 22 million pounds of plastic ends up in the Great Lakes each year. 

— Rochester Institute of Technology

Policies to better protect our Great Lakes:

Establish a statewide septic code, including baseline protections to require regular inspections of the system.

Ensure agricultural practices are based on hard science and data, including the application of chemicals, biosolids, and manure. 

Increase funding for water quality monitoring and wetland restoration to help filter nutrient runoff before it reaches our Great Lakes. 

Strengthen recycling standards and reduce the use of single-use plastics to keep plastic out of our waterways. 

Expand Michigan’s bottle bill, a hallmark anti-littering law, to adjust the deposit rate to inflation levels, include universal redemption, and cover a wider range of beverage containers.