Freshwater Future Weekly: August 6, 2021

Freshwater Future Weekly: August 6, 2021

August 6, 2021

This week: Repairs Require a Change in Flint’s Water Source + August Means Toxic Algal Blooms + Freshwater Future Grant Program Webinar on August 18th + Climate Change in the Great Lakes + Updates on Issues

Repairs Require a Change in Flint’s Water Source

Flint, Michigan’s water source will be changed to its backup source for up to six weeks to repair valves. The Great Lakes Water Authority provides Flint’s water, which is sourced from Lake Huron. The backup source also uses Lake Huron water. Switching water sources in 2014 contributed to the lead contamination in Flint. You can find more information on the repairs and changes on the City of Flint’s website, where you can also connect if you have concerns about any changes in water quality.

August Means Toxic Algal Blooms

This month, at least three of the Great Lakes are facing harmful algal blooms, including Lake Ontario, Lake Superior, and Lake Erie. On Lake Ontario, city officials in Hamilton Harbor are advising the public not to go in the water and have closed a local beach due to toxic blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. In Lake Superior, specifically along the southern shore, researchers have been trying to identify why the area is facing harmful blooms. As surrounding agricultural fields usually play a large role in algal blooms, scientists have been surprised that Lake Superior has been affected by the blooms. As for Lake Erie, scientists in Toledo are now studying the role that algal blooms will have on ecosystems and the food chain, finding that some species might now be reserving energy from things like reproduction in order to combat the stress of algal blooms, which could impact future population growth in these species. 

Freshwater Future Grant Program Webinar on August 18th–Mark Your Calendar

Please join Freshwater Future for an informative Q&A online session to learn more about our Grants Program, Wednesday, August 18, 2021 – noon (EST). This informal webinar will provide a brief overview of our grants programs and how to apply. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers. To register online, please click HERE. To register by email or phone, please contact [email protected] (231)348-8200. Check-out Freshwater Future’s 2021 Grant Opportunities guidelines to see if your organization is eligible. 

Climate Change and the Great Lakes

While areas in the Great Lakes such as Detroit and Ohio have been experiencing extreme rain events, the Great Lakes as a whole are also likely to see more intense storms, warmer water, and greater water level fluctuations. Water level fluctuations in the Great Lakes typically happen in a cyclical pattern that spans multiple decades. Due to the complexity of climate change coinciding with these fluctuations, the International Joint Commission (IJC) has been pushing for a binational approach between governments to better collaboration and create new strategies focused on accountability, coordination, and implementation considerations. Part of their climate change adaptation plan will also involve regulating the outflows from Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. The IJC has also created a Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee, which will examine how water fluctuations intersect with socio-economic conditions in the area.

Updates on Issues: 

Asphalt Plant Near Flint, Michigan

Last week we shared that an asphalt plant was proposed near Flint and that due to its proximity it may increase exposure of Flint residents to environmental pollutants from the facility. Freshwater Future has prepared a summary with talking points you can use to submit comments to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The deadline to submit is August 16, 2021.  

Thank you to the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center for sharing their expertise, research, and recommendations to make impactful comments regarding this permit.

Drinking Water Contamination from PFAS in Pellston, Michigan 

Recent drinking water well samples from Pellston, MI exceeded clean-up and drinking water standards for PFAS, with the highest result finding 410 parts per trillion PFOS (drinking water standard is 6 ppt).

A virtual community meeting about the PFAS contamination in Pellston will be held August 11, at 6:00 pm.  You can register here: