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Oil and Gas Exploration

Oil and natural gas exploration have been taking place across the country for decades. Recently, interest has grown in exploring parts of Michigan, including Washtenaw County. This process generates controversy, excitement, confusion and sometimes fear among the public.

This web page is intended for informational purposes only, and serves to educate the public on this issue.  Washtenaw County does not advocate for or against oil and natural gas exploration.       

Water Well Construction and Abandonment Requirements

MDEQ update on Water Well Construction and Abandonment Requirements, including requirements for water well drilling, construction and plugging/abandonment associated with oil and gas activities. (May 2013)

Oil & Gas Pre-Drilling Water Well Sampling Guidelines

National Ground Water Association

MDEQ Oil & Gas Information Mapping Tool


The MDEQ developed GeoWebFace provides a wide array of geologic information for natural resource management, educational and general interests.  Additional programs are not needed but can be added to suit individual needs.  It can be accessed by anyone, at anytime, anywhere the web is available.

Information includes: oil and gas well data and files, mining and related geographic information.   The over sixty layers many specific to this application - of map information include: Glacial Geology, Structural Geology, Outcrops, Bedrock Geology, Gravity, Magnetics, Shaded Relief, Hillshade, Water Falls, Wetlands Inventory, Town, Range and Section, State Ownership, State Mineral Leases, Federal Lands, and National Forests.

The GeoWebFace allows users to view, on a Michigan map, information about non-renewable geological resource activities regulated under: Part 615 "Oil and Gas Rules and Regulations", Part 625 "Mineral Wells", Part 631 "Mine Reclamation", Part 632 "Nonferrous Metallic Mining", Part 635 "Coal Mines", and Part 637 "Sand Dune Mining.

Hydraulic Fracturing Studies

Graham Sustainability Institute's Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Helpful Links

Michigan State University Extension: Oil and Gas Leasing Information Page 

National Ground Water Association's 

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality: Office of Oil, Gas and Minerals

United States Geological Survey: Presentation by Marcia McNutt, Director of U.S. Geological Survey covering issues being tracked related to hydraulic fracturing.

United States Environmental Protection Agency: Natural Gas Extraction - Hydraulic Fracturing Page

United States National Library of Medicine TOXMAP: Learn about toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing page

FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry

Contact Information

Jenni Conn
Environmental Analyst
Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division
(734) 222-3855

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