City looking to raise awareness on protecting their water.
By Frank Sorise
Grand Ledge Gazette Staff Writer
The City of Grand Ledge has joined with the The Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management. The GLRC is “dedicated to preserving, maintaining, and enhancing the Lansing region’s watersheds.” (A watershed, in simple terms is any area of land that drains to a common point. For Grand Ledge, the point is Grand River.)
“Historically, we local government/business, etc., did not protect our rivers and streams nearly as well as we do today. With development comes changes in land use which directly effects our water,” said Erin Campbell, Assistant Environmental Planner of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. “Surface water recharges groundwater which in Michigan is our drinking water.”
Grand River is a major part of many Grand Ledge resident’s lifestyles, and poor treatment only lowers their quality of life. This has been a major concern for the city’s government and residents alike which has caused the committee to set up a three-phase process to try and protect the state’s watersheds. Stormwater is deposited into municipal storm sewer systems, which is then dumped into major rivers, such as Grand River, without treatment.
To reduce the pollutants that stormwater picks up, the committee plans “to have more and more municipal separate storm sewers, also called MS4s, regulated to reduce pollution,” stated Campbell.
“It has to be done, and in the long run it will run cleaner water,” said Robert Doty, a Grand Ledge resident. The three phase system started out in the bigger Michigan cities such as Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor and is making its way out to protect the smaller cities of the state.
Campbell described severity of the problem. “The water that flows through the MS4 or storm sewer is not treated at all, it goes directly from the ground to the catch basin through a pipe to the river. This has the potential to be extremely contaminated.”
The is no deadline for the completion of this project, because water contamination is an issue that demands constant attention. “There are several programs the wastewater treatment plant is regulated by the state, and the city is working hard to reduce overflows from the plant. The city is also a GLRC member, working to prevent polluted runoff from reaching the river.” added Campbell.
This project seems to be heading in the right direction and continues to raise water pollution awareness around the city of Grand Ledge. Residents such as Dorthy Archmbeau support the effort. “Maybe we won’t have dark brown water now for a while!”