Sunday, August 22, 2010

Restore the Greatness of our Great Lakes

Fouling our own waters
Government, individual effort needed to keep sewage, pollutants out of lakes
EDITORIAL - The Buffalo News

When it goes down the drain -- or down the toilet -- it is because we don't want it in our houses or in our streets.

Nor should we want it on our beaches. But, according to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council, that is where a lot of our runoff and sewage goes, all too often without the benefit of being run through a proper treatment process first.

The fact that recreational beaches along the Great Lakes and elsewhere are being closed to swimmers more often than in the past is an indication that something is wrong. But, says the council, those alerts are only the tip of a very dirty iceberg.

A study released early this week reported that five cities, including Buffalo, dumped 41 billion gallons of storm water runoff and untreated sewage into the Great Lakes last year, through what are known as combined sewer overflows. That may get diluted in the more than 6 quadrillion gallons in the lakes, but it's still as much water as goes over Niagara Falls in 15 hours -- and it's a health risk. Read more here.

Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Buffalo
Wednesday, September 22 – Friday, September 24
Adams Mark Hotel, Buffalo, NY

NY bans phosphorus in detergent, lawn fertilizer

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A new law to improve water quality makes it illegal for stores in New York to stock fresh supplies of household dishwasher detergents that contain phosphorus.

Stores have 60 days to sell old inventories. Sales for commercial use are to end July 1, 2013. Starting in 2012, a similar ban will apply to lawn fertilizers.

Environmental officials say phosphorus drains into New York lakes and rivers, which turn green with algae, degrading drinking water and reducing oxygen that fish need. More than 100 bodies of water in the state are considered impaired, including Cayuga Lake and Lake Champlain.
Senator Antoine Thompson sponsored this bill.

Invasive Water Plants Removed from Tonawanda Creek
Tonawanda Creek flows into the Niagara River upstream from Lake Ontario. Invasive water chestnut plants that covered a 6 acre region of Tonawanda Creek including parts of the Erie Canal have been removed recently to curtail their spread. Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER mobilized volunteers who worked in conjunction with U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Great Lakes Fish and Conservation Office which operated a mechanical harvester and with Erie County Parks personnel who loaded the plants into dump trucks and hauled them away.

See the WIVB TV News report below:

Woodlawn hides some varied and valuable wetlands

By Gerry Rising
It is sad to see Woodlawn Beach, one of this area’s prime bathing areas, closed to swimming this summer. That one of the Great Lakes has areas so polluted [is a] testament to our abuse of the resources with which we have been blessed. Read more at

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