Great Lakes

DeWitt board, Clinton Landfill owners reach deal barring PCBs

Read the full story in the News-Gazette.

Ending a 7-year-long dispute, the DeWitt County Board on Thursday night voted to approve a settlement agreement with the owners of Clinton Landfill that keeps PCBs and manufactured-gas-plant wastes out of the landfill.

The landfill sits over the Mahomet Aquifer, which is the water source for Champaign-Urbana and about 800,000 central Illinois residents.

Invasive species reintroduce toxic chemicals to Green Bay food web

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Although contaminants buried in the sediments of Green Bay may be out of sight, they should not be out mind, according to research published last month in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

Two invasive species – the quagga mussel and round goby – can allow a group of toxic chemicals deposited more than 45 years ago to reenter the food web, passing them to predatory fish and possibly people.

UM researcher says microplastics could threaten Great Lakes fish

Listen to the interview at Great Lakes Echo.

Take a look in your medicine cabinet or your shower and you’re likely to find microbeads. Those are the small plastic spheres used as exfoliants in products like face wash or toothpaste. The tiny beads have been big news since scientists found them showing up in the Great Lakes several years ago. Last week, Michigan became the latest state to introduce legislation that would ban products containing microbeads.

Current State speaks with Melissa Duhaime, a researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. She’s been researching the impact of microplastic pollution in the Great Lakes.

 

Fish farmer says regulatory hurdles hinder industry expansion

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Editors note: Michigan Sea Grant is hosting a Seafood Summit at Michigan State University today to discuss expansion of the Michigan aquaculture industry.

Raising fish can help better feed the world’s 9 billion people projected for 2050 and avoid war, pestilence and starvation, according to an operator of two Michigan fish farms.

EPA Designates Mahomet Aquifer as “Sole Source” of Drinking Water in East-Central Illinois

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a decision to designate a portion of the Mahomet Aquifer system as a sole source aquifer. More than half of the population in east-central Illinois relies on the Mahomet Aquifer system as a source of drinking water.

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives EPA authority to designate all or part of an aquifer as a “sole source” if contamination of the aquifer would create a significant hazard to public health and there are no physically available or economically feasible alternative sources of drinking water to serve the population that relies on the aquifer. The designation authorizes EPA review of projects that receive Federal financial assistance to assess potential for contamination of the aquifer system that would create a significant hazard to public health.

The Mahomet Aquifer system is an underground layer of water-bearing sand and gravel that fills a wide bedrock valley in an area that includes 14 east-central Illinois counties. The aquifer system provides about 58 million gallons of drinking water each day for 120 public water systems and thousands of rural wells that serve about a half million people in Illinois.

EPA’s public comment period on the designation began on March 13, 2014, and closed on June 12, 2014. EPA held public hearings on May 13 in Champaign and on May 14 in Morton. Following a review of public comments, EPA prepared a Responsiveness Summary which addresses comments and answers questions. The decision goes into effect when it is published in the Federal Register.

The Responsiveness Summary and other relevant documents will be available to the public at EPA’s regional office, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago; Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., Champaign; Bloomington Public Library, 205 E. Olive St., Bloomington; Pekin Public Library, 301 S. Fourth St., Pekin; Havana Public Library, 201 W. Adams St., Havana; and Watseka Public Library, 201 S. 4th St., Watseka.

For further information, go to www.epa.gov/region5/water/gwdw/mahomet

Aquaculture: Weighing economic potential, environmental risk

Read the full post in Great Lakes Echo.

Editors note: Michigan Sea Grant is hosting a Seafood Summit Thursday at Michigan State University to discuss expansion of the aquaculture industry.

Great Lakes aquaculture could become a $1 billion industry in Canada and the U.S., according to a 2014 paper.

One key for reaching that potential is for the Great Lakes states to follow Canada and legalize offshore aquaculture, reports the paper that was sponsored by Michigan Sea Grant, the Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association, Michigan State University and the state of Michigan.

Compromise possible in state’s recycling programs

Read the full story from Suburban Life Media.

Manufacturers and those pushing for a change in Illinois’ electronics recycling law are inching closer to a compromise to save underfunded recycling programs statewide.

House Bill 1455 — filed in Springfield late last week — adjusts the funding formula that’s used by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to fund these in-demand electronics recycling programs. If nothing is done, the steep cost of recycling could shift to consumers or to local governments that hold collection events.