Freshwater Future Weekly: September 17, 2021

Posted on September 17, 2021 by

THIS WEEK: Still Time to Support Freshwater Future + Emergency Petition on Behalf of Benton Harbor, MI Residents + Chicago Mayor’s Lead Line Replacements Far from Goal + Boil Advisories in Ontario Disproportionately Occurring Among Native Communities + Freshwater Voices Newsletter – Summer Issue Now Available Online

Still Time to Support Freshwater Future 

It’s not too late to donate to our Walk, Paddle, and Roll Fundraising Campaign. Through September, Freshwater Future staff and board have been raising awareness and funds by walking, paddling, biking, swimming, and other activities around the Great Lakes. We need YOUR support to reach our campaign goal of $10,000 to help make sure that community groups across the Great Lakes have the tools and resources they need to help make their water sources safer and cleaner. Click here to donate today!

Emergency Petition on Behalf of Benton Harbor, MI Residents

Benton Harbor, MI is finally receiving attention after three years of inaction on the high lead levels in the city’s drinking water. Last week, Freshwater Future was among a large contingency of organizations that filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on behalf of Benton Harbor residents to provide immediate alternate safe drinking water sources, better education and outreach efforts to city residents, and ensure actions are taken to address corrosion of the pipes. While Gov. Whitmer’s recent announcement of $20 million to replace lead lines in Benton Harbor is a good solution in the long-term; the five-year timeline doesn’t address immediate concerns as the city continues to test high for lead in drinking water.

Chicago Mayor’s Lead Line Replacements Far from Goal

Mayor Lightfoot of Chicago, admired for her strong position on water security and safety, is sliding behind her lead line replacement goal of 650 for 2021, only replacing 3 lead lines thus far. Chicago’s estimated cost per lead line replacement far exceeds other cities at $27,000, while Denver’s totaled $10,000 and Detroit’s has been $5,000. The city has stated that it will hire outside contractors to speed up the replacement, but protecting public health, especially our youth from lead exposure, deserves action sooner rather than later.

Boil Advisories in Ontario Disproportionately Occurring Among Native Communities

While many Canadians consider access to safe drinking water to be a given; this is not the reality for many First Nations communities across Canada. Boil water advisories disproportionately impact First Nations communities. There are currently more than 40 boil water advisories on water systems that support First Nations communities in Ontario. Some of these advisories have been in place for over 25 years. Boil water advisories have significant, long-term impacts on the physical and mental health of multiple generations of First Nations people. While subsequent federal governments have made efforts to address this crisis, there is still much that needs to be accomplished to address decades of systemic inequity, insufficient funding and inadequate planning and implementation.

Freshwater Voices Newsletter – Summer Issue Now Available Online

The most recent issue of our Freshwater Voices Newsletter is now available online. Click here to access a full pdf version of Voices highlighting people and projects making an impact around the Great Lakes Region. If you would like a print version of the newsletter mailed to you, just send a request to


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.