Some wastes would be reused, not landfilled, under bills

Capital News Service
LANSING — Coal ash could be used in concrete, lime ash could be used for farming and copper sand could be made into shingles under legislation that would allow certain industries to sell byproducts that they now throw away. These byproducts can’t be used now because they are classified as hazardous materials that can potentially harm the environment. But recently introduced “beneficial reuse” legislation would provide parameters for testing their toxicity. If the byproducts passed the test, they could be sold and reused rather than sent to expensive landfills. The bills will be discussed in committee and possibly reported out on April 17.

Water quality testing limited to few beaches

Capital News Service
Michigan received $152,000 in federal grants for 2014 to monitor the cleanliness of its lakes and beaches. That’s more than $200,000 less than the state was allotted in 2013, according to Department of Environmental Quality toxicologist Shannon Briggs. And state lawmakers have already spoken for nearly two-thirds of this year’s money by allocating $100,000 of it to the Macomb County Health Department in southeast Michigan. “We had a re-direct of $100,000 of that $150,000,” said Brad Wurfel, communications director for the Department of Environmental Quality. “It is done.”

The downside is that there is far less money allocated to testing water safety elsewhere in the state this year.

Wave of mudpuppies on Lake Huron beaches puzzle scientists

Capital News Service
LANSING — A large number of unusual salamanders called mudpuppies washed ashore on many Lake Huron beaches during Superstorm Sandy. “When I was walking our dogs on the beach I counted 40 in front of our home and the two houses just south of us,” said Barbara Stimpson of Fort Gratiot Township. Five miles south of Stimpson’s home, Dave Dortman found more than 50 dead mudpuppies washed ashore within 100 feet on Lakeside Beach in Port Huron. “I’ve lived in Port Huron my whole life and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a storm like this with such huge waves,” said Dortman, a former environmental quality analyst for the Department of Environmental Quality. The waves on Lake Huron were hitting 23 feet before the weather buoys stopped reporting, Dortman said.