Counties On Sewage Discharge ‘Dirty Dozen’ List
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
LANSING, Mich. -- Several Mid-Michigan counties accounted for their share of the state's nearly 15 billion gallons of raw or partially treated sewage that was dumped into Michigan's network of rivers, lakes and streams since January 2011, according to a statewide analysis by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.
MITA officials said sewer discharges result when overloaded and aging sewer systems are routinely flooded by heavy rains.
Two of the largest discharges occurred April 29 when Flint dumped 26.6 million gallons of raw or partially treated sewage into the Flint River and on April 20 when Saginaw dumped 36.8 million gallons into the Saginaw River, according to the MITA.
MITA's analysis shows that every county on the "Dirty Dozen" list dumped at least 1 million gallons of raw or partially treated sewage in the first four months of the year.
- Wayne -- 13.4 billion gallons
- Macomb -- 1.04 billion gallons
- Bay -- 88.3 million gallons
- Ingham -- 75.4 million gallons
- Saginaw -- 63 million gallons
- Kent -- 50 million gallons
- Genesee -- 32.2 million gallons
- Oakland -- 25.7 million gallons
- Monroe -- 14.6 million gallons
- St. Clair-- 7.7 million gallons
- Gogebic -- 5.3 million gallons
- Lapeer-- 4.9 million gallons
“People can’t help but take notice that many of our roads and bridges are in bad shape, but when a sewer pipe is leaking underground, it’s out of sight, out of mind,” said Keith Ledbetter, director of legislative affairs at MITA.
Communities are required by law to report discharges to the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality within 24 hours, with a more detailed report to follow. These mandatory reports provided the foundation for the MITA analysis.
Historically, state and federal low-interest loans helped communities finance these expensive environmental projects over a 20-year period. But, Ledbetter says elected officials at both the state and national level have been slashing dollars for infrastructure
funding, leaving local communities to fend for themselves.
“With the summer tourist season rapidly approaching, people will once again wonder why so many of our beaches are closed," he said. "It’s critical that we reverse this troubling trend and take long-overdue steps to repair or replace our aging underground systems to protect Michigan’s most precious natural resource."