Lake Michigan’s Dirty Dozen Sewage Polluters Named

Every year, billions of gallons of sewage are dumped into the Great Lakes, a drinking source for more than 30 million Americans. Sewage dumping threatens the safety of our drinking water and leads to thousands of beach closures each year. Beach closures have a significant economic impact on numerous cash-strapped communities surrounding the Great Lakes and cost the local economy $2.4 million in lost revenue every year. To highlight the top 12 sewage polluters in the Great Lakes region, Senator Mark Kirk (R, IL) compiled the “Dirty Dozen” list below.

Now if we can get other Senators and Congressmen (maybe from Wisconsin?) to identify other large-scale polluters in the region, we might just see some real progress in improving the health of our streams, rivers and lakes. Who knows, it might even improve the health of their voters.

Figure 1. Unless otherwise noted, CSO discharge volumes for 2010 and 2011 are based on the 19 June 2012 Alliance for the Great Lakes Report – Reducing Combined Sewer Overflows in the Great Lakes: Why Investing in Infrastructure is Critical to Improving Water Quality. Volumes reported for Detroit include only raw sewage discharged. (*) Note these volumes are estimates by modeling typical annual rainfall (as reported in the June 2012 report by the Alliance for the Great Lakes). (+) Information provided by Indiana Department of Environmental Management upon request from Sen. Kirk’s Office. (^) Information provided by Ohio EPA upon request from Sen. Kirk’s Office. When necessary, data points were rounded to the nearest whole number.

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