What is causing polution in Lake Saint Clair?

Posted at 11:11 AM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-02 15:31:44-04

People who live along Lake Saint Clair have complained about the discharge of partially treated sewage. They say they are tired of seeing their beaches closed. They are worried about drinking water.   What is causing Lake Saint Clair’s problems?  

There is an emotional and political fight over what is causing the issues.

“Let’s save out Lake Saint Clair and let’s save it now,” said Rep. Peter Lucido.

Representative Peter Lucido from Macomb County says he is calling for change. He wants the MDEQ to force communities to separate their storm and sewage systems - so that partially treated sewage doesn’t overflow in heavy rains.  He says both Macomb and Oakland County communities need to improve their systems.  

“Because Oakland sits up here and Macomb sits down here, we are getting a lot of sewage,” said Rep. Lucido (R-36th District).

“When it comes out of our facility it is treated, tested, we know exactly where the levels of pollutants are and they are basically at zero,” said Jim Nash, Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner. “People claim that all the time, but there is never raw sewage coming out of the facility.”

Nash said Oakland County is focusing on using green infrastructure to limit the water that gets into the system to decrease the discharge of even partially treated water.

The MDEQ has said it is unclear what is leading to issues. There could be a combination of illegal sewage hook-ups into the drain system, failing septic systems, and environmental causes.

Representative Lucido says he has evidence, regardless of where it is coming from, raw sewage is getting in Lake Saint Clair. He says millions drink water from the lake - and it needs to be addressed.

“Without that resource we are dead,” said Lucido.

Lucido is calling for legislation that would require an alert be sent out to the public requesting people voluntarily limit water use during times when sewage systems are under stress from storms.

Several community events are planned to address water issues.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash will talk about water and sewage issues during  a special community meeting on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 3 pm at the Pontiac Public Library on Pike Street.

Rep. Peter Lucido is inviting concerned citizens to come to a Lake St. Clair Town Hall meeting on Monday, October 2, 2017.  Doors open at 6, and the program starts at 7 at MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township. Rep. Lucido says representatives from the MDEQ will be there to answer questions.

 Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, in partnership with Pure Oakland Water, will host the 5th Annual Stormwater Summit. The summit will begin at 9 a.m. at Lawrence Technological University, located at 21000 West Ten Mile Road, in Southfield, Michigan. To learn about the summit or to register, go to Registration is $25.