Whitmer proposes $300M in water funding for communities

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday proposed $300 million in water spending to help local utilities address elevated lead levels, plan for pipe replacement and connect users of contaminated wells to municipal supplies.

The governor said the funding would expand her $500 million MI Clean Water Plan, some of which has been authorized since it was unveiled more than a year ago.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-whitmer-300m-water-funding-communities/

The Associated Press

PFAS News Roundup: Minnesota requiring businesses to monitor, PFAS impact on COVID vaccine, new New York standards

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/pfas-news-covid-vaccine-minnesota-businesses-new-york-standards/

Natasha Blakely

Q&A: New EPA Great Lakes administrator talks Benton Harbor, infrastructure, AOC cleanup

Conservation action for Debra Shore started with the driveway at her suburban Chicago home.

It was asphalt, and she wanted to replace it with gravel to absorb the rain and keep pollutants out of the stormwater drains. But her town administration said no to the permit, though it eventually yielded.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/epa-great-lakes-administrator-benton-harbor-infrastructure-cleanup/

Gary Wilson

Program to help Benton Harbor residents with water bills

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — State officials announced a pilot program Wednesday aimed at helping eligible residents of a Michigan city where there’s been a lead crisis pay water and wastewater bills.

The federally-funded program is designed to help households that have had water disconnected or are facing disconnection pay to have it restored.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-program-benton-harbor-residents-bills/

The Associated Press

Judge OKs $626 million settlement in Flint water litigation

By Ed White, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — A judge on Wednesday approved a $626 million deal to settle lawsuits filed by Flint residents who found their tap water contaminated by lead following disastrous decisions to switch the city’s water source and a failure to swiftly acknowledge the problem.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-judge-million-settlement-flint-water-litigation/

The Associated Press

Mayor says Benton Harbor will need more support from state to fix water system

By Dustin Dwyer, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/mayor-benton-harbor-support-state-fix-water-system/

Michigan Radio

Great Lakes groups hope EPA regional administrator revitalizes infrastructure, morale

This article was republished here with permission from Great Lakes Echo.

By Gabrielle Ahlborn, Great Lakes Echo

Environmental groups say they hope that a new Environmental Protection Agency administrator for the Great Lakes region works to restore infrastructure while revitalizing an agency they say is depleted and demoralized.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/epa-regional-administrator-infrastructure/

Great Lakes Echo

From NPR: Check if you have lead pipes in your home

The harmful effects of lead are well known. When consumed, it can damage childrens’ brains and nervous systems, stunt their growth and affect their ability to focus. Children with high levels of lead in their blood are more likely to drop out of school or have brushes with the law.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/check-lead-pipes-home/

GLN Editor

EPA to begin testing water at 300 Benton Harbor homes

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon start testing the water in 300 homes in a Michigan city where there’s been a lead crisis to check certified filters given area residents by the state to remove lead from the drinking water.

EPA officials will collect water samples in Benton Harbor, according to The Herald-Palladium. 

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-epa-testing-water-benton-harbor-homes/

The Associated Press

Actions to Address High Lead Levels in Drinking Water Due to Benton Harbor Residents’ Leadership


Last week 9,000 cases of water were delivered and distributed to Benton Harbor, Michigan residents by volunteers with the Benton Harbor Community Water Council. The water was provided by the state after Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive on October 14 to “coordinate all available state resources to deliver safe drinking water to residents in Benton Harbor,” where lead levels have been high for over three years. The Benton Harbor Community Water Council (BHCWC) and Freshwater Future believe this all-hands-on-deck approach provides the urgency and resources appropriate to the drinking water emergency occurring in Benton Harbor.

This action comes after years of struggle by Benton Harbor residents to be heard outside of their community in order to secure the resources needed to safeguard public health in the city from lead. Because no level of lead is safe, residents have needed alternative water, filters and educational information. Jill Ryan, Executive Director of Freshwater Future commented “we have been honored to work with residents and the BHCWC to ensure resources continued to be available in Benton Harbor to not only inform residents of the lead issue and how to protect their families, but also to work toward a resolution that returns the water system to providing safe drinking water, which is what every resident wants and should expect.” Freshwater Future supports the BHCWC in providing training, conducting community science, distributing educational information, conducting water testing, securing water filter stations in schools, and hosting community engagement.

Recently a collaboration of more than 20 community and environmental groups, led by the BHCWC, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, People’s Water Board and National Resources Defense Council petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step in and help Benton Harbor. This action and the attention it garnered, finally pushed the struggle into national and state focus. We thank all of those groups for their leadership in this effort. Reverend Edward Pinkney, President and CEO of the BHCWC stated, “after years of struggle to raise awareness, I am happy we were able to work together to achieve this declaration. The BHCWC and our allies will be here to ensure that these statements are followed with action to safeguard the health of the people of Benton Harbor.”


After three years of being out of compliance with the water standards set by the state of Michigan at 15 ppb of lead, massive attention from the public and the government is creating new found support for the BHCWC. The group has championed the work the past three years to ensure their neighbors’ safety and their access to clean and safe water. Governor Whitmer’s announcement invokes a sense of urgency to pool resources from the state to provide clean and accessible water.

The BHCWC has been working tirelessly to support the community and provide education to its residents. While the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy recently stated there is “in general an improvement overall,” we have seen no evidence of such improvement. We look forward to working with the state to understand where improvements to the lead situation exist and where there are opportunities to improve further.

Reverend Pinkney requested the state, on behalf of the BHCWC, to tell residents directly that the water is unsafe to drink currently, and therefore they should utilize bottled water for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Finally, the state under pressure made the announcement that residents should use bottled water on October 21.

Residents working through the BHCWC have been steering the way information, water and filters are distributed in the community by listening to the needs of the community. As the resources provided by the government are certainly positive, the resources they provide will be most effective if they listen to and work with community groups like the BHCWC. Community groups are in the best position to continue to lead the good work from the residents’ perspective. Working together to alleviate water insecurity can be an example of how the government and community collaborate for the most effective outcome for the residents living with unsafe water.

The U.S. EPA is conducting a study starting the week of November 8 on faucet filters designed to remove lead to determine the efficacy for removing lead in Benton Harbor’s water. One-hundred homes will have water samples analyzed before and after filter use.

Benton Harbor residents have continued to be resilient in their efforts to ensure the safety of fellow residents’, and show no signs of giving up. “Benton Harbor residents have created solutions to educate and keep people safe in the community over the past three years, and those efforts should continue to lead this work. What will certainly help are the resources and the expertise the state can bring to bear on this problem,” said Benton Harbor City Commissioner MaryAlice Adams.

Original Article

Blog – Freshwater Future

Blog – Freshwater Future

https://freshwaterfuture.org/drinking-water/actions-to-address-high-lead-levels-in-drinking-water-due-to-benton-harbor-residents-leadership/

Freshwater Future

Docs: Benton Harbor water response marked by delays, poor messaging

By Kelly House and Jonathan Oosting, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/benton-harbor-water-response-poor-messaging/

Bridge Michigan

Benton Harbor on edge as lead water crisis persists

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Shortly after sunrise on a recent Saturday in Benton Harbor, Michigan, residents began lining up for free bottled water so they could drink and cook without fear of the high levels of lead in the city’s tap water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-michigan-benton-harbor-lead-water-crisis-persists/

The Associated Press

Michigan to pay $300K to only staffer fired over Flint water

DETROIT (AP) — The state of Michigan said Friday it agreed pay $300,000 to settle wrongful discharge claims by the only employee who was fired as a result of lead-contaminated water in Flint.

The deal with Liane Shekter Smith, who was head of the state’s drinking water division, came weeks after an arbitrator said she was wrongly fired in 2016 by officials who were likely looking for a “public scapegoat” in one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-michigan-pay-300k-staffer-fired-flint/

The Associated Press

Michigan environmental leader admits flaws with Benton Harbor lead crisis

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/michigan-environmental-leader-flaws-benton-harbor-lead-crisis/

Bridge Michigan

Michigan city with lead in water ordered to fix water plant

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan city that is urging residents not to drink tap water failed to timely warn people about high levels of lead and must make improvements at the water plant, federal regulators said Tuesday after an inspection revealed a variety of problems.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the situation was dire enough to order Benton Harbor to consider turning the water system over to someone else.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-michigan-city-lead-water-fix-plant/

The Associated Press

Software to help inventory lead water lines in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A high-tech strategy could help Detroit save $165 million while also pinpointing the number of lead water lines in the city.

Data crunched with software from technology startup BlueConduit will hopefully provide a report of the probable locations and number of lead lines, the water department said.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-software-inventory-lead-water-detroit/

The Associated Press

Check this Michigan map for childhood lead levels in your community

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/michigan-map-for-childhood-lead-levels-community/

Bridge Michigan

Why are so many Michigan water systems finding lead? They’re looking harder

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/michigan-water-systems-finding-lead/

Bridge Michigan

Seven Years On: The Flint water crisis has yet to conclude

Although it’s been seven years since the Flint water crisis became one of the state’s biggest public health disasters, Flint’s struggle with both the repercussions of the initial incident and with getting clean water have not ended. The court cases continue to unfold, and the city slowly replaces its lead lines.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/seven-years-flint-water-crisis/

Natasha Blakely

Drinking Water News Roundup: Minnesota’s salty water problem, aging infrastructure affects taste, Pennsylvania grants

From lead pipes to PFAS, drinking water contamination is a major issue plaguing cities and towns all around the Great Lakes. Cleaning up contaminants and providing safe water to everyone is an ongoing public health struggle.

Keep up with drinking water-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Click on the headline to read the full-story:

Indiana:

  • ELIZABETHTOWN: Town using loan to improve water quality—The Republic

The Indiana community of Elizabethtown has recently been granted about $1.4 million to protect the quality of their drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/drinking-water-aging-infrastructure-pennsylvania/

Maya Sundaresan

Company formerly known as Nestle drops water withdrawal permit

By Sophia Kalakailo, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/nestle-water-withdrawal-permit/

Michigan Radio

Save Michigan Water

Media Contact:
Board President, Peggy Case
hildaheron@aol.com
(main) 231-275-2244
for texting (cell) 248-736-9703

October 26, 2021 – Blue Triton Brands Inc., formerly Nestle Waters North America, sent a letter to EGLE on September 28, 2021 announcing that they “will not be utilizing the water withdrawal capacity authorized by the permit” for its White Pine Springs well north of Evart (#1701 for 400 gpm). Despite the company’s reduction of pumping in an attempt to avoid a pending review of its operations by the Ingham County Circuit Court, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation who, along with allies, have contested the legality of the White Pine Spring well for the last five years is not willing to stipulate that the case in Circuit Court regarding the contested case is moot. Blue Triton’s notification of its intent to reduce pumping to 288 gpm—416,000 gallons per day, does not resolve the legal issues over the well’s operation by Nestle in the past, and Blue Triton in the future. There are too many unresolved issues. 

“It seems that Blue Triton has abandoned the 400-gpm permit to duck the more rigorous comprehensive review of impacts required by Part 327 and the Safe Drinking Water Act for a bottled water well that exceeds 200,000 gallons per day,” Ross Hammersley, environmental attorney for MCWC in the pending legal action, said. “But whether Nestle or now Blue Triton can avoid these requirements is one of the critical questions before the circuit court. 

What does all of this mean? While MCWC is pleased that the company has withdrawn the 400-gpm permit, which we’ve said all along was improperly approved, significant impairment of the two blue-water trout streams and habitat has already occurred. It is not in the best interests of Blue Triton, affected landowners, or the public to pump at 400 gpm or even 200 gpm. After all, Nestle lost a similar 8-year court battle in Mecosta County, where the final amended order reduced pumping from 400 gpm to an average 125 gpm in summer months and 218 gpm the rest of the year to prevent further damage and restore the stream, a lake and adjacent wetlands. Given Michigan’s unique glacial geology and annual rainfall patterns, large-volume water wells near headwater creeks and wetlands are not sustainable. The company’s request to continue pumping at its proposed reduced rate cannot be permitted unless there is a full monitoring plan to measure the effects on flows, levels, and impacts, before and during pumping, to Twin and Chippewa Creeks. 

MCWC’s analysis and riparian landowners and other members of MCWC who fish and know these creeks have already documented substantial drying up or alteration of the creeks to the point that they are unrecognizable. As a result, if Blue Triton wants to chart a different course and become a good corporate citizen in Michigan, MCWC urges the company to undertake the following actions: 

1) implement a true monitoring plan, based on scientific data gathering on site rather than computer models, under the supervision of a neutral hydrogeologist and under the direction of the community impacted as well as state agencies charged with protecting the waters of the state; 

2) reduce rather than increase its pumping rate until the monitoring plan is in place and a baseline of data is established, and the effects and impacts at existing levels of pumping, including the proposed level of 288 gpm, are determined; 

3) pending implementation of the above and the determinations from a proper monitoring plan,

reduce pumping to 100 gpm or an agreed amount that will minimize impacts until the plan and determinations are made; 

4) meet with MCWC and EGLE so that all affected stakeholders can work directly to resolve these issues. If this cannot be done, then MCWC, representing the integrity of our water and water laws, do not and cannot agree that the pending circuit court case is moot or that Blue Triton’s pumping, past or proposed at 288 gpm, is lawful; 

5) hold any permit for the 288 gpm in abeyance until the plan is in place and the determinations are made, and provide public notice, a period of public comment and participation as required by Part 327 and the SWDA. 

EGLE has prematurely approved Blue Triton’s request to pump at the increased 288 gpm, This was done without notice to the public, and without public comment or input. Moreover, EGLE appears to have abandoned its demand for a monitoring plan that would have verified whether current or the proposed 288 gpm would cause harm or leave adequate water in the streams and wetlands. The monitoring plan should not be abandoned, but should be a condition on any agreement by EGLE, who is responsible for protecting our lakes and streams. EGLE must continue to demand monitoring, provide for public participation, and agree to MCWC’s participation in such a plan. 

MCWC looks to EGLE to exercise its legal responsibility as trustee or steward of the lakes, streams, and connected groundwaters of the State. They are public and held in public trust for all citizens. And, as stated above, MCWC looks to Blue Triton to chart a different course in Michigan in full compliance with the rule of law and our constitution’s mandate that the state protect our water and natural resources from impairment or pollution. MCWC and its members stand ready to cooperate in good faith to achieve these above actions to determine what if any amount Blue Triton can pump from the White Pine well and at the same time maintain adequate water in the creeks and wetlands for riparian owners, the health of the ecosystem, and the use and enjoyment of the public. It is MCWC’s hope that Blue Triton officials and investors will work with EGLE and us to establish a new legacy for water protection in Michigan. 

Private equity companies will find us not easily fooled by self-serving gestures that are the opposite of what they seem. 288 gallons per minute is not an improvement over 250. We welcome the partial victory of not having to oppose 400 any further but continue the battle for water protection. 

We also urge Governor Whitmer and EGLE Director Clark to work with us by insisting that our water laws not be diluted, but are applied to the letter of the law. We ask EGLE to abandon any legal maneuvers that prevent public notice, participation, and compliance with the law’s mandate to protect our water resources. Blue Triton has thanked EGLE for its cooperation in seeking approval of the modified 288 gpm. Regrettably, EGLE has not cooperated with the public or MCWC regarding the continued pumping or the rights of adjacent landowners or the two streams. Despite trying to get “on-the-ground” help from EGLE over the last several years to address the White Pine well and its impact, EGLE did not notify MCWC or its members, or the riparian owners on the streams, of Blue Triton’s desire to abandon the 400 gpm or its proposed new 416,000 gallons per day removal of water from the groundwater and this headwater creek system. 

EGLE did not provide notice until after Blue Triton filed its notice to re-register the permit. There must be public participation, comment, and an individual permit review. We need government accountability in the management of our lakes, streams, and the Great Lakes. 

We stand ready now to meet with EGLE and Blue Triton to chart this new course, so that companies like Blue Triton who want to take or use the waters of our State understand that it is a privilege. 

###

Original Article

Blog – Freshwater Future

Blog – Freshwater Future

https://freshwaterfuture.org/drinking-water/for-immediate-release-blue-triton-nestle-gives-up-controversial-permit-seeks-backdoor-to-increase-withdrawal/

Freshwater Future

Nuclear Question: Debate continues over long-term storage of nuclear waste in the Great Lakes

Canada’s plan to store spent nuclear fuel 1,600 feet below ground in the Great Lakes basin, some 30 miles from Lake Huron, is continuing to ruffle feathers throughout the Great Lake states.

Earlier this month, U.S. lawmakers called out the Canadian plan for failing to prioritize the health of the Great Lakes and the 40 million residents who depend on it for clean drinking water ahead of its own energy needs.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/storage-nuclear-waste-great-lakes/

Andrew Reeves

Michigan city declares emergency over lead; governor visits

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she visited Benton Harbor on Tuesday to listen to residents who have been urged to use bottled water because of elevated levels of lead in their tap water.

Whitmer’s stop, which wasn’t publicly disclosed until it was over, came hours after city commissioners unanimously declared an emergency and empowered Mayor Marcus Muhammad to lead Benton Harbor’s response.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/ap-michigan-city-declares-emergency-governor/

The Associated Press

Arbitrator: Official wrongly fired in Flint water scandal

By Ed White, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — The only Michigan official fired in the Flint water catastrophe likely was a “public scapegoat” who lost her job because of politics, an arbitrator said in ordering $191,880 in back pay and other compensation.

It’s a remarkable victory for Liane Shekter Smith, who served as head of the state’s drinking water office when Flint’s water system was contaminated with lead.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/ap-official-wrongly-fired-flint-water/

The Associated Press

EPA unveils strategy to regulate toxic ‘forever chemicals’

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is launching a broad strategy to regulate toxic industrial compounds associated with serious health conditions that are used in products ranging from cookware to carpets and firefighting foams.

Michael Regan, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said it is taking a series of actions to limit pollution from a cluster of long-lasting chemicals known as PFAS that are increasingly turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells and even food.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/ap-epa-strategy-regulate-pfas/

The Associated Press

Drinking Water News Roundup: Second US Steel spill, new water purification method, Pennsylvania water treatment plant flood

From lead pipes to PFAS, drinking water contamination is a major issue plaguing cities and towns all around the Great Lakes. Cleaning up contaminants and providing safe water to everyone is an ongoing public health struggle.

Keep up with drinking water-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Click on the headline to read the full-story:

Indiana:

  • Chicago rips Indiana steel company for threatening our drinking water after 2 spills—Chicago Sun Times

U.S.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/drinking-water-steel-spill-water-purification-pennsylvania/

Maya Sundaresan

PFAS News Roundup: Michigan works on transparency, 3M could cost the Minnesota public billions, study recruitment in Michigan

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/pfas-study-michigan-wisconsin-minnesota-billions-transparency/

Natasha Blakely

Intervention: Doctor who exposed Flint’s lead levels sees similarities in Benton Harbor water crisis

For Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, advocating for safe drinking water for Benton Harbor was an easy decision.

She called it a “duh” moment, a “choiceless choice.” Of course she would join a group of citizens and activists in requesting the U.S. EPA to use its emergency intervention authority in Benton Harbor, she said.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/intervention-doctor-lead-levels-benton-harbor-water-crisis/

Gary Wilson

City in Michigan urged to use bottled water due to lead risk

By Ed White, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan on Wednesday urged residents of Benton Harbor to use only bottled water for cooking and drinking, a major shift in response to the city’s elevated levels of lead.

The state recently said it would distribute free water and filters in the southwestern Michigan city.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/ap-benton-harbor-bottled-water-lead-risk/

The Associated Press

Drinking Water News Roundup: Indiana iron spill, Michigan lead reduction plan, potential nuclear accident in Ontario

From lead pipes to PFAS, drinking water contamination is a major issue plaguing cities and
towns all around the Great Lakes. Cleaning up contaminants and providing safe water to
everyone is an ongoing public health struggle.

Keep up with drinking water-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/10/drinking-water-indiana-iron-michigan-lead-nuclear-ontario/

Maya Sundaresan

Whitmer signs bills to complete budget, hails bipartisanship

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed off on $55 billion in spending to complete the state budget, hailing the bipartisan bills as an example of finding common ground with Republicans despite partisan tension during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This budget shows that divided government doesn’t have to be dysfunctional government,” the Democrat said at Lansing Community College.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/ap-whitmer-budget-bipartisanship/

The Associated Press

US Steel: Plant’s orange plume had elevated iron levels

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — U.S. Steel says a northwestern Indiana plant’s discharge of elevated levels of iron were the cause of an orange plume that entered a Lake Michigan tributary, prompting the closure of several nearby beaches and a water treatment facility.

Company spokeswoman Amanda Malkowski said in a statement late Monday that an analysis of the discharge from the U.S.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/ap-us-steel-plant-orange-plume-elevated-iron/

The Associated Press

As Drought Grips American West, Irrigation Becomes Selling Point for Michigan

By Keith Schneider, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/drought-irrigation-michigan/

Circle of Blue

Michigan sending water, filters to Benton Harbor due to lead

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan will provide bottled water and water filters in Benton Harbor, where tests have revealed elevated levels of lead, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The action comes less than two weeks after about 20 groups urged the Biden administration to immediately step in.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/ap-michigan-sending-water-filters-to-benton-harbor-due-to-lead/

The Associated Press

Community Assistance: Report finds disparities in drinking water fund distribution

Drinking water systems in small and more diverse communities nationwide are less likely to receive state funding through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, according to a recent report.

Through the fund, the EPA awards grants to each state and the states add a 20% match, according to the agency.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/report-disparities-drinking-water-fund-distribution-inequity/

Taylor Haelterman

Enbridge ordered to pay $3M for Line 3 groundwater leak

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have ordered Enbridge to pay more than $3 million for allegedly violating state environmental law by piercing a groundwater aquifer during construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline.

The state Department of Natural Resources said Enbridge, while working near Clearbrook in January, dug too deeply into the ground and pierced an artesian aquifer, which resulted in a 24 million gallon groundwater leak.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/ap-enbridge-pay-line-3-groundwater-leak/

The Associated Press

Q&A: Climate, equity and diversity top priorities for new national non-profit executive

Manish Bapna believes that, as a country, we are at a critical juncture with climate change and the time to act is now.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overcome the climate crisis and build a healthier, more equitable and more vibrant world,” Bapna said in a statement on his appointment in August as president and CEO of the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/natural-resources-defense-council-climate-equity-diversity-qna/

Gary Wilson

by Amy Heldman

With Chicago located right on Lake Michigan’s border, it comes as a shock to many that although we have this tremendous body of water in our backyard, many do not have access to running water.  Skyrocketing water prices in Chicago have left many without access to the very thing that we need to keep us healthy and safe especially during the pandemic..

A 2019 investigation by WBEZ and American Public Media found that the cost of water in Chicago has tripled over the last decade, which was the highest rate as compared to six other Great Lakes cities examined in the investigation. Since 2007, Chicago’s water department has also sent more than 150,000 water shutoff notices. About 40 percent of those water shutoffs were located in 5 of Chicago’s poorest zip codes concentrated on the South and West Sides where residents are primarily low-income, black, and Latinx. 

One attempt to combat this human rights violation is the “Water-For-All” Ordinance. After failing to pass in 2017, the Water-For-All Ordinance, reintroduced in 2019, offers both homeowners and tenants income-based credits toward their utility bills, regardless of their current citizenship status. It would also ban water shut-offs and tax foreclosures, as well as prohibit any privatization of the city’s water supply. Eligibility would be both homeowners and tenants whose annual household income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.  This comprehensive approach is gaining support with 30 percent of  Aldermen in favor.

The pandemic exposed the water access inequities happening in Chicago and the urgency to remedy the problems. In an interview conducted by María Inés Zamudio, Vernal Green explains that a fire hydrant is currently his only source of water.  He carries his bottle of water back to his apartment where he uses it to bathe, wash dishes, and flush the toilet. Over two years ago water was shut off to repair a burst pipe, but the pipe was never fixed nor water service restored to his apartment. Residents like Mr. Green do not have the option of enrolling in a plan to get their water restored because they have no bills in their name. They count on their landlords to pay the city for water services. When their landlord does not settle an outstanding debt with the city, they are left with no water, in the midst of a pandemic. 

A similar provision in Chicago is the Utility Billing Relief (UBR) program, which was launched in April by Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration. It offers those qualifying a flat 50 percent discount on their utility bills and also gives bill forgiveness after one completed year of on-time payments. Jeff Whitelow with the Chicago Water Alliance has been assisting residents with UBR program enrollment, but many people are simply not eligible to participate because of income threshold limits and not owning their homes.

The Water-For-All Ordinance would help make Chicago water a public good. Unlike the UBR program, the proposed ordinance  encompasses all residents. It would allow all residents to afford and access drinking water that before was not possible. It is time to address water as a fundamental human right, not as a commodity to be sold. 

If you would like to show your support for the ordinance, tell your Chicago City Council member to work with their colleagues to swiftly pass the Water-For-All ordinance by submitting your comments through Freshwater Future’s quick and easy online action form HERE.

To learn more about the City of Chicago’s Utility Billing Relief (UBR) program, visit Chicago Water Alliance online HERE. For additional information and resources, contact Jeff Whitelow, Chicago Water Alliance at jeffwhitelow@yahoo.com

Original Article

Blog – Freshwater Future

Blog – Freshwater Future

https://freshwaterfuture.org/call-to-action/chicagos-water-for-all-ordinance-what-it-could-mean-for-the-future-of-chicago/

Freshwater Future

During the late summer months, Freshwater Future has been busy working with the Benton Harbor Community Water Council and Nalgene Water Fund to secure filtered water refill stations for all schools in Benton Harbor, MI where municipal water supplies have experienced elevated lead levels since 2018. “There is nothing more important than having clean water for our children. Lead in the water is poisonous and Benton Harbor right now has had three years of nothing but poison in the water,’ said Reverend Edward Pinkney, President and CEO of Benton Harbor Community Water Council.

 

The work of the Water Council recently brought the first two of eight filter stations to the schools just as schools opened up for the fall semester. In addition, hundreds of reusable water bottles donated by the Nalgene Water Fund are being distributed to students so they can enjoy the water from the new filtered stations and a local Benton Harbor artist has designed a sticker that’s helping to promote the importance clean water to youth. Within the next few months, a total of 8 filtered water refill stations will be installed across all the district’s schools. Freshwater Future will take monthly samples from the water refill stations and test them for lead at the state-of-the-art Flint Community Lab to determine when filters need changing.

Original Article

Blog – Freshwater Future

Blog – Freshwater Future

https://freshwaterfuture.org/drinking-water/water-filtration-stations-installed-at-benton-harbor-high-school/

Freshwater Future

Sensors provide a real-time glimpse at Chicago River quality

CHICAGO (AP) — Rowers, kayakers and other users of the Chicago River are getting a real-time look at one measure of water quality in the system that weaves through downtown and several neighborhoods.

Chicago nonprofit Current in 2019 installed three sensors in the river’s three main branches to continuously estimate the amount of bacteria from human and other warm-blooded animals’ waste.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/ap-sensors-chicago-river-quality/

The Associated Press

Question of Diversion: Great Lakes governors group silent on future water threats

“Lake Michigan coming to Idaho.”

That’s a potential solution to Idaho’s drought conditions suggested by a Twin Falls radio commentator in June. He said Idaho’s current drought is in its second year and cited a previous drought in the not-too-distant past that lasted seven years. The commentator went on to talk about pipelines of Great Lakes water heading west and their feasibility.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/diversion-great-lakes-governors-future-water-threats/

Gary Wilson

Minnesota issues plan to treat water marred by 3M chemicals

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota pollution control and natural resources officials on Wednesday released a $700 million plan to improve the drinking water for 14 Twin Cities communities whose groundwater was contaminated due to decades-long chemical disposal by 3M Co.

The long-term plan aims to build or improve six water treatment plants and treat 33 municipal wells while connecting nearly 300 homes to municipal water systems and providing home filtration systems to residents with private wells in the meantime.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/ap-minnesota-pfas-water-infrastructure-3m-chemicals/

The Associated Press

Drinking Water Roundup: Senate passes $1 trillion infrastructure bill, Canada reaches $8 billion settlement with First Nations

From lead pipes to PFAS, drinking water contamination is a major issue plaguing cities and towns all around the Great Lakes. Cleaning up contaminants and providing safe water to everyone is an ongoing public health struggle.

Keep up with drinking water-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

Illinois:

  • State moves toward phaseout of firefighting foam with harmful ‘forever chemicals’ – Chicago Sun Times

Illinois will take a first step toward reducing the use of firefighting foam containing harmful “forever chemicals” under a bill signed into law by Gov.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/drinking-water-senate-infrastructure-bill-canada-settlement-first-nations/

Rachel Duckett

Cheap Cybersecurity Defenses Exist, But They’re Not Reaching Water Utilities Who Need Them

By Laura Gersony, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/cheap-cybersecurity-defenses-rural-water-utilities/

Circle of Blue

Industry Woes: Water industry struggles with both competitive hiring and retiring workforce

The national struggle to fill open jobs has added to existing concerns of replacing the large number of soon-to-be retirees for employers in the water industry.

More than 90% of the chambers of commerce across the nation report worker shortages holding back their economies, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/water-industry-struggles-competitive-hiring-retiring-workforce/

Taylor Haelterman

On August 6, 2021, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D- Detroit) introduced the House version of Maintaining Access to Essential Services, which would eliminate water, electric, and internet household debt. The bill, if enacted into law, would provide $13.5 billion for private and public water utilities in the form of low-interest loans that can become grant dollars if the utilities forgive residential water debt. The bill further suspends charging late or restoration of water service fees, prohibits reporting residents with utility debt to credit bureaus or placing liens on their homes, shutting off water to residents due to non-payment, and requires utilities to restore residential services.

Millions of people across the country currently do not have access to tap water or are facing their water being shut-off due to the billions of dollars of utility debt that has grown exponentially during the pandemic. As the Delta COVID variant cases ramp up, it is imperative to pass legislation that secures utility debt relief so everyone has the ability to wash their hands and masks.

Unfortunately, the over $1 trillion Bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill moving through the Senate does not include a prohibition on utility shut-offs or utility debt relief. Access to clean, safe, and affordable water is a basic human right and need. Congress has a role in ensuring all Americans have access to this life giving resource. Call your Congressional members today and urge them to pass the Maintaining Access to Essential Services Act.

 

Original Article

Blog – Freshwater Future

Blog – Freshwater Future

https://freshwaterfuture.org/call-to-action/take-action-call-your-congressional-members-today-and-urge-them-to-pass-the-maintaining-access-to-essential-services-act/

Freshwater Future

Great Lakes in Peril: Invasives, pollution, climate change

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/great-lakes-peril-invasives-pollution-climate-change/

Michigan Radio

PFAS News Roundup: Tech company develops PFAS-eliminating technology, PFAS Action Act heads to Senate, study finds PFAS in Arctic ice

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/pfas-action-act-senate-study-arctic-ice/

Rachel Duckett

Cow manure predicted to cause most sickness from contaminated wells in Wisconsin’s Kewaunee County

This article, first posted here, was republished with permission from Wisconsin Watch.

By Coburn Dukehart, Wisconsin Watch

The No. 1 factor for acute gastrointestinal illness in Kewaunee County’s private drinking water wells is cow manure, according to a federal study released today.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/cow-manure-sickness-contaminated-wells-wisconsin/

Wisconsin Watch