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What's New
Industrial pollution turning Canadian lakes into ‘jelly’
RT (11/20)
Industrial pollution has given jelly-clad organisms an edge over their calcium-protected competitors, with potential impacts on drinking water systems.

Fate of Great Lakes water and energy are linked
Great Lakes Echo (4/3)
The dependent relationship between energy and water is important, but in a water-rich state like Michigan, it’s easy to overlook.

EPA to launch study of mercury in Minnesota infants
Star Tribune (10/3)
The federal government will investigate why infants born around Lake Superior have sometimes unhealthy levels of mercury in their blood, especially those along Minnesota's north shore.

State of Michigan denies permit for Wolverine coal plant
WWJ- Detroit, MI (5/23)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment denied an air quality permit to Cadillac-based Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative for a 600-megawatt power plant in Rogers City.

Deal struck on Great Lakes ship pollution
The Associated Press (10/28)
Congressional negotiators reached a deal Tuesday that would effectively exempt 13 ships that haul iron ore, coal and other freight on the Great Lakes from a proposed federal rule meant to reduce air pollution.

Air pollution lawsuit: Federal and state lawyers sue Midwest Generation over Illinois power plant emissions
Chicago Tribune (8/28)
Chicago's Fisk plant has been burning coal to generate electricity on the Near West Side since 1903. But federal and state lawyers alleged Thursday that its internal parts have been repeatedly upgraded without the modern pollution controls required under the Clean Air Act.

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As water moves through the hydrological cycle, it falls as rain or snow and then evaporates to the atmosphere from the land and surface water. Other substances, including toxic pollutants, follow this same path. They evaporate to the atmosphere, where wind currents can carry these substances for long distances before depositing them.
Atmospheric deposition is a significant source of certain toxic pollutants entering the Great Lakes. In fact, as much as 90 percent of some toxic loadings to the Great Lakes are believed to be the result of airborne deposition. Because the transport and deposition of airborne toxics is not localized, this phenomenon needs to be evaluated and regulated on a regional or even international scale. Various efforts to understand and curtail atmospheric deposition are underway. These efforts include emissions inventories, modeling and mass balance studies that inform new laws and policies. Such efforts will help us to understand and combat atmospheric deposition of pollution on the Great Lakes.
In response to mounting evidence that air pollution contributes to water pollution, Congress included section 112(m), Atmospheric Deposition to Great Lakes and Coastal Waters, in the 1990 Clean Air Act, which created the Great Waters Program. This statute directs the U.S. EPA t o protect public health and the environment from any series effects from air pollution that falls on the Great Waters and requires the agency to periodically report to Congress on the results of this program. "Great Waters" include the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, Chesapeake Bay and other coastal waters.

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General Resources
Air Pollution and the Great Lakes (Great Waters Program)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 5
Because of mounting evidence that air pollution contributes significantly to water pollution, Congress included section 112(m) in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, known as the Great Waters Program, to evaluate the atmospheric deposition of air pollutants to the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters.

Deposition of Air Pollutants to the Great Waters
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Great Waters Program
Second Report to Congress June 1997.

EPA Great Waters Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
On November 15, 1990, in response to mounting evidence that air pollution contributes to water pollution, Congress amended the Clean Air Act and included provisions that established research and reporting requirements related to the deposition of hazardous air pollutants to the "Great Waters."

Great Lakes Regional Air Toxic Emissions Inventory
Great Lakes Commission
The Great Lakes states are creating this regional database, which will establish a baseline using 1993 data on point and area source emissions of 49 toxic air pollutants identified as significant contributors to the contamination of the Great Lakes.

Great Waters Program
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Because of mounting evidence that air pollution significantly affects water quality, Congress included section 112(m) in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, known as the "Great Waters" program. The Great Waters program directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prevent harm from atmospheric deposition.

Green Bay Mass Balance Study
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO)
Conducted in 1989-90 to pilot the technique of mass balance analysis in understanding the sources and effects of toxic pollutants in the Great Lakes' food chain.

Lake Michigan Mass Balance Study
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO)
Mass balance studies are a scientific method for evaluating the sources, transport and fate of contaminants entering a water system, and the effects of those contaminants on water quality. See also Mass Balance Public Outreach, Lake Michigan Federation.

Living Waters: Clean the Rain
National Wildlife Federation
Most toxic water pollution comes from air pollution. For example, in the Midwest, rain contains high levels of mercury that comes from coal-fired power plants, incinerators, and other major regional industries.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Air Quality
GLIN: Air Quality in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Air Toxics in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Pollution Prevention in the Great Lakes Region

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Updated: December 15, 2017
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