A proposed national clean water trust fund will be debated in Congress over the next year, with help from a leading House Republican. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach has the story:
A proposed national clean water trust fund will be debated in Congress
over the next year, with help from a leading House Republican. The
Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach has the story:
Sewage treatment agencies and some environmental groups have been
pushing for a dedicated national fund to help control sewer overflows
and protect regional waters like the Great Lakes.
Recently, House Water Resources Sub-Committee Chair John Duncan,
Junior introduced the Clean Water Trust Act. The Tennessee Republican
says the nation’s water infrastructure needs more federal money, but it
isn’t clear where Congress would find the 38 billion dollars over five
Ken Kirk of National Association of Clean Water Agencies says he
doesn’t know yet who would pay.
“But I think if you would poll the American people, I think you would
find at least two things. One, clean water is a high priority, and
two, they are willing to pay more.”
Kirk contends a clean water trust fund would be similar to programs
financing highways and airports.
A chemical linked to cancer and other health problems has been discovered in sludge spread on farm fields. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Shamane Mills has details:
A chemical linked to cancer and other health problems has been discovered in sludge spread on farm fields. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Shamane Mills reports:
The PCBs were found in recent testing by state officials; just over half the samples of recycled sludge from 50 sewage treatment plants had PCB levels as high as 920 parts per billion. Federal standards allow 50-thousand parts per billion. Wisconsin Natural Resources wastewater engineer Greg Kester says the low levels shouldn’t cause alarm.
“PCBs are ubiquitous in the environment in which we live now. If you look with sensitive enough analytical equipment you will find low levels in virtually anything.”
Nevertheless, Rebecca Katers of the Clean Water Action Council is concerned.
risk assessment shows that these are not negligible numbers; even from very low levels PCBs are persistent and they accumulate up the food chain.”
Wisconsin has recycled sludge since 1973. Eighty percent goes on farmland; the rest is dumped in landfills or incinerated. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Shamane Mills.
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.