Bacterial Augmentation Projects - General Information

Contact: Sarah Bowman 517-290-3675

EGLE has regulatory jurisdiction over application of bacterial augmentation products to surface waters of the state (Rule 97 of the Water Quality Standards, promulgated under Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended [NREPA]), and facilities covered by National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

Under R 323.1097 of the Michigan Water Quality Standards the Water Resources Division (WRD) is responsible for approving projects where bacterial augmentation products are applied to surface waters of the state.  Surface waters of the state are defined as the Great Lakes  and their connecting waters, inland lakes, rivers, streams, impoundments and open drains and other surface bodies of water within the confines of the state.

In addition, any water treatment additive (WTA) that is discharged to a surface water of the state from an NPDES permitted discharge requires prior review and approval by the WRD.  Bacterial augmentation products used in waters discharged under NPDES permits are considered WTAs.  Requests to treat wastewater treatment systems covered by a NPDES permit with bacterial augmentation products should be made under the Water Treatment Additive approval process.

Long-term reduction of sludge/muck build-up in surface waters is best achieved through reducing nutrient loads into the aquatic system.  Often the increased build-up of organic material (‘muck') on the bottom of lakes can be attributed to an increase in the productivity in the water body due to increased nutrients.  The resulting increase in plant/weed/algae growth leads to a greater mass of material that dies off and settles to the lake bottom.

Proper fertilizer use, buffer strips, runoff control, proper disposal of yard wastes (leaves, grass clippings), properly functioning septic systems, and pet and other animal waste control, among other options, help work toward reducing plant and algae growth and thereby cut down on the organic build-up on lake/pond bottoms.  It should also be recognized that many water bodies have naturally soft substrates and that not all ponds or lakes should be expected to have a firm, sandy, or gravelly bottom.

The following link details the EGLE process for obtaining authorization to apply bacterial augmentation products for mosquito control:  EGLE Process for Bacterial Augmentation Products