New MiWaters system expected to streamline the permit application and tracking process

State launches new online system for obtaining permits to conduct regulated activities on or near lakes, streams and wetlands.

A Michigan marsh-type wetland. Photo credit: Steve Deming

A Michigan marsh-type wetland. Photo credit: Steve Deming

Individuals, businesses and municipalities conducting, or planning to conduct, a regulated activity on or near a Michigan water body will be interested to learn about MiWaters—the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) new online permit system.

According to the MDEQ Water Resource Division, MiWaters was developed with the end-user in mind and is a “state-of-the-art, comprehensive, Web-based permitting and compliance database.” It replaces multiple existing systems and databases – putting all things permitting and compliance in one convenient location. Included in the scope of MiWaters are surface and groundwater discharge permits, storm water permits and Part 41 construction. MiWaters also houses aquatic nuisance control permits and permits for construction projects at the water’s edge. The latter will be of particular interest to shoreline property owners and contractors involved in sea wall, rip rap or natural shoreline projects regulated under Part 301 Inland Lakes and Streams.

Landowners, contractors, consultants, municipalities and others may sometimes view obtaining a permit for activities in and around water resources as burdensome. However, it is through the permitting process that the MDEQ provides for the protection, restoration and conservation of Michigan’s Great Lakes, inland lakes and streams, wetlands, and groundwater—the public trust waters of the state.

The purpose of developing MiWaters is to create a system that makes it easier for the department’s Water Resources Division to communicate with, and provide services electronically to, it’s regulated community. According to the MDEQ, MiWaters has been tested and will work with Internet Explorer 10 or 11 (preferred) and current versions of Chrome and Firefox. Initial testing of Microsoft Edge has not uncovered any problems. Known incompatibilities include Internet Explorer 8 and earlier versions. In addition, MiWaters forms will not work with Safari.

For more information on MiWaters, visit the MiWaters home page or contact the appropriate MDEQ office