Freshwater Weekly 8/3/17

Posted on August 3, 2017 by

This week: rolling back the Clean Water Rule + Brandon Road Study to be released + an update on Nestle’s pumping request + a petition to clean up Lake Erie + more ways you can make a difference.


Last month, EPA Director Scott Pruitt announced a proposal to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which protects the water supply for 117 million Americans. The rule clarified longstanding confusion about the water protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act, declaring streams and wetlands and millions of acres of small waterways—in addition to navigable waterways—eligible for federal protection from pollution.

Now the EPA wants to roll back this protection and redefine “waters of the US,” leading to the same confusion the Clean Water Rule was designed to address and putting our water at risk.

The EPA is accepting public comments on this proposal through August 28, 2017, and we’ve made it easy to add your voice. Get some state-specific talking points on our blog to help you craft a quick comment that will have maximum impact.

TAKE ACTION: Get guidance and submit comments on our blog.


Public input is making a difference! The Michigan Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) has asked Nestlé Waters for specific additional information in order to properly evaluate a permit the company filed last year. Nestlé Waters’ proposal to more than double the amount of groundwater being pumped from its White Pine Springs well in Michigan’s Osceola Township has faced opposition from environmental groups and much of the public.

Here at Freshwater Future, we’ve been working to ensure that the full environmental impact of the pumping request is considered, and that the DEQ’s final decision protects water resources for all Great Lakes residents.


Good news! For weeks Freshwater Future supporters like you have been urging our representatives and senators on both sides of the aisle to require the Trump Administration to release the long-delayed Brandon Road Study. The study details how best to strengthen the Brandon Road dam and lock, a critical control point in the Chicago waterway system essential to preventing Asian Carp from entering Lake Michigan.

With your help we were successful! Because of public pressure, provisions requiring the release of the Brandon Road Study were added to the latest budget bills. In response, the Trump Administration has announced that the study will be released in draft form on August 7th. Public comments on the study will be open until September 21st.

There’s more work to be done, but this is a great first step. We’ll be analyzing the study when it’s released, and we’ll keep you updated as decision makers discuss what comes next.


Three years ago residents of Toledo, Ohio couldn’t safely drink or use their water. The source of the city’s water—Lake Erie—had become so contaminated by toxic algae that it was undrinkable for several days. A year later the Governors of Ohio and Michigan joined with the Premier of Ontario to commit to reducing the amount of runoff pollution—specifically phosphorus—flowing into western Lake Erie by 40%. Unfortunately, little progress has been made toward this goal.

Lake Erie leaders will meet in October to discuss the future of the Great Lakes, including their progress on reducing runoff pollution. Please sign our petition and tell them you want them to speed up and scale up efforts to reduce the pollution that causes toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie.


There are lots of simple ways to help protect our waters. Find more at


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