The recent heavy rains prompted Chicago officials to divert the Chicago River and the sewage it carried into Lake Michigan. Kenosha also dumped its sewage directly into Lake Michigan. Those decisions kept black water out of people basements, but they put raw sewage and untreated wastewater into the lake.
There have been many articles about agricultural runoff carried by the Maumee and other rivers going into Lake Erie. Farms and irrigation are a natural pairing. If pollutants are in the river, they will be in the downstream lake. Since Lake Erie is downstream from Lakes Michigan, Superior, and Huron, it receives an abundance of contaminants.
Rivers and streams travel to a lake which travels to an ocean. Pollution reaching the ocean is dangerous to marine life and the creatures who rely on that marine life for food. Contaminated marine food chains can harm land and air animals who eat tainted fish and plant life. Oceans are sensitive to pollution and people depend on the oceans. The quality of human life depends on the quality of ocean water.
When we talk about water, we all live downstream.
Michiganders have a special relationship to water. We also have a special responsibility. Please be aware and involved in water quality issues in your city or town. Think of water quality as a basic city service, like fire and police protection, like roads maintenance. Raise your voice at city and town meetings to let elected officials know you want dependable basic city services to be a priority when they are spending our tax dollars.