Senator aims to end sewage dumping in Great Lakes

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Billions of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater runoff are dumped into the Great Lakes each year. This week in Washington, lawmakers are trying to drain the problem.

Combined sewer systems are designed to collect rain water run-off and wastewater in the same pipe. During heavy rainfall, the sewage can be discharged directly into nearby streams and rivers.

The Great Lakes Water Protection Act, reintroduced by U.S Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), would create a dedicated fund to clean up the wastewater. The legislation would also require the public to be notified if and when sewage is discharged.

““I want to get more folks to sign on to it. More people to understand that the Great Lakes are a resource for all of us,” said Duckworth “Not just in terms of going to the beach, this is our drinking water. This is the largest body of fresh water that we have and we certainly need to preserve it.”

The Great Lakes Water Protection Act also would also authorize The Great Lakes Cleanup Fund to provide up to $250 million each year from 2020 to 2024 to support projects that lead to reductions in wastewater blending.