An Illinois Congressman says all cities should follow
Chicago’s example and end sewage system overflows into the
Great Lakes. The GLRC’s Tracy Samilton reports:
An Illinois Congressman say all cities should follow Chicago’s
example and end sewage system overflows into the Great Lakes. The GLRC’s
Tracy Samilton reports:
Many cities in the Great Lakes watershed have aging sewage systems that
can’t cope with heavy rains. That can result in untreated sewage being
dumped into the Great Lakes.
Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk says Milwaukee dumps a billion gallons of
untreated sewage into Lake Michigan every year. But he says cities in Indiana
and Michigan have also dumped sewage into the Lake. Kirk has co-authored a bill
that would give all cities in a Great Lakes watershed twenty years to fix problems.
After that, they’d would face fines of 100 thousand dollars a day per incident.
“The dumping of raw fecal matter into the lake, the alarming rise in beach closings…
20 years from now, that should all be part of our past and not our future.”
In the meantime, the bill would also require cities to let the public know
when they dump sewage into the Great Lakes.
An overflow point in a combined sewer line. The overflow is designed to relieve pressure on an overburdened sewer system. (Photo courtesy of the USEPA)
The wet weather of the last few weeks has caused some communities to dump sewage into the Great Lakes. That’s triggering health concerns for this summer. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
The wet weather of the last few weeks has caused some communities to
dump sewage into the Great Lakes. That’s triggering health concerns
for this summer. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach
Frequent heavy downpours have overwhelmed some lakeside sewer
systems. Some cities have dumped partly treated or untreated sewage
into the Great Lakes, instead of causing sewer backups in local basements.
Jeffery Foran is an aquatic toxicologist and president of the Midwest Center for
Environmental Science and Public Policy. He says the sewage contains pathogens –
bacteria and microorganisms – that can cause disease in humans. He’s worried about the
material spreading along the lakeshore.
“Probably accumulating at the beaches, in the sand, and in the cladophora, this algae that
washes up in the lake and rocks, and other structures that occur along the shoreline.”
The sewerage district in Foran’s home city of Milwaukee has already dumped about two
billion gallons of sewage into Lake Michigan this spring. He says the large volume of
water in the lake will dilute some of the sewage. But Foran is still expecting some beach
closings this summer.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.