Freshwater Weekly: February 12, 2021

Posted on February 16, 2021 by
This week: PFAS Released at Airport in Pellston, Michigan + Chicago Water Supply is Expanding to Joliet and Residents Will Be Paying For It +The Poster Child For Wetland Destruction + Board Spotlight – Stephanie Smith + Freshwater Future Grant Program Webinar on February 25th–Mark Your Calendar

PFAS Released at Airport in Pellston, Michigan

A year ago, the Pellston Youth Water Council, with the help of Freshwater Future, initiated an investigation sampling water in homes near the Pellston Regional airport, discovering high concentrations of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Recently, over a gallon of PFAS was released into the environment after a firefighting testing incident at the same airport. For a community already dealing with filters and alternative water sources for their needs, additional spills of these substances only heighten concerns. While Michigan has set drinking water standards for several types of the more than 5,000 types of PFAS, more safeguards are needed in airports and other locations with high PFAS use. Checkout our PFAS regulatory chart to see where different jurisdictions in the Great Lakes region fall in regulating these harmful chemicals.

Chicago Wins Competition to Sell Lake Michigan Water to Joliet

Chicago wins the $30 million a year deal securing it as a water supplier for Joliet, IL. The needed regional water infrastructure upgrades are expected to triple Joliet’s residential water rates in the coming decade. For those wondering why Joliet doesn’t have to meet the requirements of the Great Lakes Compact in order to receive this Great Lakes water in a city outside of the Great Lakes basin, it is because of Chicago’s Supreme Court consent decree that allows the state of Illinois to determine where the water allocated through the decree is utilized.

Avoiding Public Input and Allowing Wetland Destruction

Due to COVID-19, some cities have been hit hard economically, and Pickering, Ontario is no different. The municipality however, has been quietly ‘cutting red tape’ to bypass the opportunity for input of the community by using “Minister’s Zoning Orders,” which bypass normal planning processes, including the right of residents to appeal. As a result, wetlands are in peril of being destroyed in order to build new development projects. The community is concerned that without wetlands during stints of heavy rain or heavy snow melt, excess water would have no choice but to flood nearby home basements and increase erosion to shoreline communities.

Board Spotlight – Stephanie Smith

Please meet Freshwater Future’s Board Chair, Stephanie Smith. Smith has an unwavering commitment to water, Freshwater Future, and our Great Lakes partners and communities. Throughout her career, her reach has extended across the world to over 17 different countries with the same goal of water protection. 

Freshwater Future Grant Program Webinar on February 25th–Mark Your Calendar

Join us on February 25, 2021 at 10am EST to learn more about Freshwater Future’s grant programs. This informal webinar will provide a brief overview of our grants programs and how to apply. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers. In the meantime, check-out Freshwater Future’s 2021 Grant Opportunities guidelines to see if your organization is eligible.   



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