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E-M:/ Petitions RE: Sewage Overflows



News Advisory
Tuesday, August 10

Contact:  Kym Spring, Clean Water Action, 616.742.4084

More than 800 Urge City To Send
Strong Message to Bush Administration
Petitions Go To Commission Tuesday

Grand Rapids  -- Signed petitions from more than 800 local residents will be presented Tuesday asking the Grand Rapids City Commission to support a resolution demanding that the Bush Administration drop a proposal that would weaken sewage treatment standards for communities in Michigan and other states. The signatures were gathered by volunteers with Clean Water Action who went door-to-door enlisting support for the proposed resolution.  The resolution opposes the Bush Administration’s so-called “blending” plan to weaken the Clean Water Act.  It also criticizes cuts in federal funding for sewer upgrades. Both policies will undermine efforts by Grand Rapids and other communities who are making progress toward improving sewer systems.
Who:    Grand Rapids residents who want clean water and Clean Water Action
What:   Petitions containing over 800 signatures will be presented to the City Commission. Residents will ask the City Commission to pass a resolution opposing the Bush Administration’s policies to weaken Clean Water Act sewage treatment standards and funding.
Where:  City Hall
When:   7:00 p.m.
Visuals:        Clean Water supporters and petitions
Story:  Grand Rapids has been working for the last decade to comply with the Clean Water Act.   Spending over $220 million thus far to improve water infrastructure to reduce sewage overflows into the Grand River, the project is 96 percent complete and work is continuing.
        
Other communities have not addressed this problem. Lansing dumped 1 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage and industrial contaminants in the Grand River in the most recent reporting period.  The problem cannot be solved in isolation.

        The Bush Administration has proposed changes to the Clean Water Act, including cutting funding by nearly 40 percent and eliminating the requirement to fix sewer infrastructure and clean up sewage in all communities.

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 beach water pollution is frequently a threat to public health.