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E-M:/ Free Press editorial today on water issues

Free Press editorial page today on Michigan water problems, including 
animal factory farm pollution and fouled water in Hudson area:

Title: Michigan should set best example
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Michigan should set best example

August 29, 2002

Michigan has a long way to go before it can defend the Great Lakes with a clean conscience.

  • Pavement is hard on water supplies

  • Water Worries

  • As just this summer shows, good water use remains elusive. The underground problems, like the broken pipes out in Macomb County, continue to plague developed areas. Old, leaky or otherwise inadequate water mains result in huge waste.

    Then there's the New Haven episode, where the wrong kind of chlorination agent was added to the city water system -- and discovered when people in the city started getting sick. One of the ghastly lessons of Walkerton, Ontario, where a water-system-based E. coli outbreak devastated the town, was that water systems need well-trained staff who go by the book. No one can let down their guard, ever.

    Big animal farms in some of the state's rural areas continue to contaminate waterways. Yearlong tests by a citizens' group in the Hudson area found dangerous E. coli levels half the time, including as recently as early July. The group also tested for dissolved oxygen, which fish and most other aquatic life need to survive. One creek had been consistently below the minimum since May.

    To make a case for water as a common good -- which should largely stay where it is -- Michigan has to prove it treasures the Great Lakes. That means not wasting water and, more important, not fouling it.



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