Beaches along Lake Michigan were closed more often this year as a result of high bacteria levels, according to a new report. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Sarah Hulett reports:
Beaches along Lake Michigan were closed more often this year as a result of high
bacteria levels, according to a new report. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Sarah
The report from the Chicago-based Lake Michigan Federation says beach closings and
advisories were at an all-time high in 2002 – at nearly 900 in Wisconsin, Illinois,
Michigan, and Indiana.
Part of the spike can be attributed to more frequent testing in coastal counties. But
Federation director Cameron Davis says an uptick in sewage spills and wastewater
overflows are also to blame. Davis says tracking and cleaning up pollution sources should
be the next step for communities along the Lake Michigan coast.
“That is absolutely key, because right now, so much of the debate has been on monitoring
technology and whether counties are even testing in the first place. We need to start to
move beyond that to identify sources and eliminate them once and for all.”
Davis says Indiana lawmakers recently passed legislation aimed at reducing sewer
overflows. And voters in Michigan are considering whether to approve a billion dollar
bond proposal to repair aging sewers.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Sarah Hulett.
Lake Michigan had a record number of beach closings this year. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl has more:
Lake Michigan had a record number of beach closings last year. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
The Lake Michigan Federation is reporting almost six hundred beach closings on Lake Michigan in 2001. That’s up from just over four hundred last year. Federation director Cameron Davis says most of the closings are due to wastewater carrying bacteria to the lakes when treatment plants are at capacity. He says the solution is to cut back on development near the lakes:
“We need to try to limit the amount of pavement that’s being laid down all across the region, so that rainwater naturally filters through the ground rather than getting shuttled off into a sewage treatment plant.”
Davis says the number of beach closings on Lake Michigan should actually be higher than his report shows. He says Michigan does a poor job testing for bacteria near beaches, and says Wisconsin’s numbers are excluding Sheboygan County where there have been problems in the past. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.
Lake Michigan beaches were closed more often this summer than ever before. As the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports, beach closings can translate into significant economic loss:
Lake Michigan beaches were closed more often this summer than ever before. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
A report from the Lake Michigan Federation shows an all-time high of 600 beach closings in 2001. High levels of bacteria found in the water caused most of the closings. Federation director Cameron Davis says in addition to the environmental problems, the closings have an economic impact on the region:
“Take a look at a place like Chicago that gets 60 million visitors a year to the lakefront. And you get a beach closing Labor Day weekend or a fourth of July weekend. You’re looking at millions of people, some from around the world, that can’t visit the beaches here.”
Davis says the bacteria is getting into the water when heavy rains force wastewater and sewage carrying human and animal waste past treatment plants and into the lake. The Lake Michigan Federation is setting up a center to help citizens and community groups solve bacteria problems at beaches. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.