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E-M:/ News Advisory: Beach Report Release Thursday


News Advisory

For Thursday, August 5


Contact:          Sarah Roberts, Clean Water Action, 586.909.6820

Kym Spring, Clean Water Action 616-742-4084

Cyndi Roper, Clean Water Action, 517.490.1394  (cell)

Bethany Renfer, Clean Water Action, 517.203.0758


Annual Michigan Beach Report Due Thursday

‘Testing The Waters’ Highlights Scope of Closings


At 10 am on Thursday, August 5th at Metro Beach in Harrison Township Clean Water Action will release the Natural Resource Defense Fund’s annual guide to Michigan beach closings. The organization is also conducting a door-to-door effort Thursday in Grand Rapids from 10 am-2pm to enlist public support for a petition opposing lower sewage standards proposed by the Bush administration.  The Testing The Waters report has become a benchmark in measuring the health of beaches. Last year, the report documented more than 200 pollution-related beach closings in Michigan. Since then, the Bush Administration has proposed lowering sewage treatment standards and slashing funding, both of which would undermine the efforts of communities near Lake St. Clair that are making progress toward improving their sewage systems.

Who:         Clean Water Action, Saving Wetlands and Trees, and local activists working to protect Lake St. Clair.

What:        Clean Water Action will discuss the annual report and the steps local activists are taking in St. Clair Shores to educate community members about Bush Administration policies that would allow more sewage pollution. Their efforts include gathering petition signatures in efforts to get the St. Clair Shores City Council to pass a resolution.

Where:      Metro Beach Plaza Area, Harrison Township

When:       10:00 am

Visuals:     Signs, Petitions, Activists, and View of Lake St. Clair

Story:        Testing the Waters 2004 is the Natural Resources Defense Fund’s annual guide to beach closings.  The U.S. has more than 5,500 miles of Great Lakes shorelines, nearly 23,000 miles of ocean shoreline (excluding Alaska), and 300,000 miles of rivers.  Despite the fact that beaches are among America’s favorite vacation destinations, about 45 percent of U.S. waters are still too polluted for swimming, fishing, and supporting aquatic life. Experts estimate that nearly 8 million Americans get sick every year from swimming in or drinking polluted waters. 

 In Michigan, roughly 50 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage is released into waterways annually. Pathogens in sewage-contaminated waters can cause a range of diseases and beachwater pollution is frequently a threat to public health.

 ThAlthough many Michigan communities have stepped up to the plate to correct their sewage overflow problems, a Bush Administration proposal would allow sewage treatment facilities to continue discharging a mixture of largely untreated sewage with treated sewage when it rains. 


David Holtz
Michigan Director
Clean Water Action
517-203-0754 East Lansing
313-300-4454 cell