Freshwater Future Weekly: May 13, 2022

THIS WEEK: Take Action to Prevent Asphalt Facility in Detroit Residential Communities + Algae Impacts Housing Prices + Peshtigo Asks EPA for Superfund Designation + Update: Joliet, IL Cost of Lake Michigan for Future Drinking Water Source + Register for All About Water Virtual Event 
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Take Action to Prevent Asphalt Facility in Detroit Residential Communities

An asphalt mixing facility proposal in Detroit was denied a permit from the Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering & Environmental Department (BSEED) in November 2021, due to the high-impact the industrial facility would have on nearby residential communities. The company appealed the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals and the matter will be taken up at their May meeting. You can share your concerns about the asphalt facility next week, Tuesday, May 17 at 11:15am at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center at 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226. A bus is taking people to the event.  If you are interested in attending the public hearing, you can register for the bus here. If you can’t make it, you can support their effort to not overturn the permit denial by signing this petition

Algae Impacts Housing Prices

Harmful algal blooms have numerous impacts on the ecosystem and environment, but little is known about how it impacts the housing economy. A recent study titled Staying Afloat: The effect of algae contamination on Lake Erie housing prices published earlier this year in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics posits that harmful algal blooms are impacting housing prices of homes within a mile of Lake Erie. As algae concentrations are on the rise due to global climate change and pollution, it is important to understand how this phenomenon affects both our freshwater systems as well as how it creates economic issues. 

Peshtigo Asks EPA for Superfund Designation

PFAS contamination is not new for the residents of the town of Peshtigo. The problem was discovered in 2017 when a firefighting foam manufacturer investigated contamination with the Department of Natural Resources. However, the EPA has yet to develop standards for regulating PFAS as harmful, therefore it is difficult to incite any action under federal Superfund laws. Members of the community have created a petition to protest this, asking the EPA to designate the Marinette and Peshtigo areas as Superfund sites. Doing so would draw attention to the PFAS problem for the community, alerting them to the serious health effects connected to the long-lasting chemical. Designating a superfund site would also force responsible parties to begin cleaning the site. 

Update: Joliet, IL Cost of Lake Michigan for Future Drinking Water Source 

The groundwater source or aquifer for Joliet, IL southwest of Chicago is predicted to run dry in less than 10-years.  A 31-mile pipeline to Lake Michigan is one way to get water to Joliet residents, but it comes with a high price tag, over $80 million, which could lead to less affordable water.  Some residents are concerned that the pipeline will make water unaffordable and prefer the City explore other less expensive options.

Register for All About Water Virtual Event: What is SRF (State Revolving Fund) and How Can These Funds Help Your Community and Business?

Upgrading drinking water systems and removing lead pipes are costly expenditures for cities and municipalities. Join us on June 22 to learn more about new money available for water systems to upgrade drinking water systems and remove lead pipes.  This source of funding will be around for five-years, and a significant percentage is targeted for disadvantaged communities. The session will focus on ensuring funds are distributed equitably, how to urge your community to get these funds, and tips for minority contractors to get government contracts related to these projects.