pollution

Associated Press

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state regulators to investigate wastewater discharges that turned the water near the base of Niagara Falls black last weekend.

Joed Viera/Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Eighteen Mile Creek in Niagara County is badly polluted, so much so that the state health department doesn’t want people to eat the fish. But the toxic hotspot hasn’t stopped the state Department of Environmental Conservation and local governments from promoting the creek as a fishing destination.


Environment New York Research & Policy Center

A new study finds there is still plenty of dirty air around Western New York.


Pollution and other problems plague areas all over the Great Lakes region. And they can make drinking or swimming dangerous.  There’s plenty of blame to go around for this – city water utilities, agriculture, and politicians to name a few.

Now an unlikely industry has joined the search for solutions -- technology is taking on Lake Erie.


On a tiny beach at Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, N.Y., Nate Drag scans the sand and driftwood. He's part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and he helps organize beach clean ups.
 "The closer you look, you can start seeing the plastic popping out," he says.
 


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to go ahead with cleaning up Eighteen Mile Creek in Lockport, but it will not be soon. It also is not clear the money to pay for the cleanup will be there.


Great Lakes pollutant lurks in your laundry pile

Jan 3, 2017

The United States and Canada are moving to ban microbeads -- the tiny plastic bits in toothpaste and facewash that are big water polluters. Now scientists are focusing on a similar problem -- and it’s lurking in your laundry pile.

  

In just a few weeks, we’ll have a new presidential administration – and that could mean big changes for the Great Lakes.

Environmental groups are waiting to see how Donald Trump's administration handles issues that are crucial to the region.

Alliance for the Great Lakes

A new study from Rochester Institute of Technology tracks how much plastic is getting into the Great Lakes, and where it's going. Spoiler alert: It's a lot -- and it's in all five lakes. 


Mark Mattson, the president of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Swim Drink Fish Canada, has advice for keeping waters clean and safe.

Tuesday, a coalition of Great Lakes organizations sent a notice of intent to sue the U.S. EPA.  They say the agency isn’t moving fast enough to clean up Lake Erie.

The filing from conservation, environmental, and boating groups is the latest effort to designate western Lake Erie as an “impaired” body of water. 

After seeing Donald Trump's appointees for agencies such as the EPA, Rep. Brian Higgins is concerned that the new administration will roll back environmental protections.

The Western New York Democrat is a longtime leader in revitalizing Buffalo's waterfront. In an interview Monday with WBFO, he noted that there have been have been many successes, including the revival of the once-dead Buffalo River.

"People have become complacent. ... " he added. "Now they're going to get blind-sided."

Every year, hundreds of volunteers work to clear plastic bags and other garbage from areas along the Great Lakes and its tributaries.


Congress' approval of a spending bill will renew funding for a program that aids Great Lakes waters and surrounding lands.

An upcoming conference in Cleveland will tackle marine debris, the pieces of plastic that wash up on the river, ocean, or Great Lake shores.  It's a issue that has affected the health and appearances of beaches around the world.  Marine debris can be anything in the lake that’s not supposed to be there – plastic bottles, grocery bags, or balloons.  It has a deadly effect on wildlife, especially birds.  

 

An analysis out this week from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that algae blooms were "fewer, less dense, and less toxic" this year than in 2014 or 2015.

That's good news for the region, because the blooms can cause sickness in people and animals. They also can create problems in treating drinking water.

Plastic debris is pervasive in the waters that feed the Great Lakes, according to a new study published by the United States Geological Survey.

 

 

Every weekend James Rice goes for a walk, but it’s not just any walk. He’s on a mission to educate anglers about the safest way to consume fish caught in Western New York.

U.S EPA

This month, the Ohio EPA could place the western Lake Erie basin on its impaired list, a biennial list of waters that do not meet state water quality standards. And with harmful algal blooms posing a threat to drinking and recreational waters every summer, advocates say there’s a clear need to clean up Lake Erie.  But is the impaired designation the solution?


Chris Caya/WBFO News

Legislation proposed by Sen. Tim Kennedy would help keep a toxic chemical out of New York's fresh water supply. Kennedy is proposing a ban on the sale of products containing the anti-microbial chemical.

Lian Bunny

Local consumers who use personal care products containing microbeads are reacting to news that Erie County will soon ban the sale of goods that contain these tiny plastic orbs.

Local activists are calling on state and federal agencies to help reduce the amount of toxic chemicals pumped into the air in Tonawanda. EPA data shows DuPont's Yerkes Plant, near the intersection of River Road and Sheridan Drive, is a major polluter.

Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

The continuing issue about polluted air from the Peace Bridge blowing across Buffalo’s West Side was discussed during a national meeting in Washington this week.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

A large crowd of neighbors to the Tonawanda Coke plant were told Monday night there needs to be more testing for pollutants in the soil and water around the plant. When the company is sentenced March 19, the judge is being asked to order a $700,000 study.

File photo

An attorney for Amigone Funeral Home told State Supreme Court Judge Henry Nowak Wednesday that Amigone has no plans to reopen its crematory on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda.

File photo

New York's attorney general has filed a lawsuit seeking to permanently block Amigone Funeral Home from reopening its crematory on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda.

EPA.gov

The United States Environmental Protection Agency rolled out guidelines Friday for newly built power plants designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal is a key part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

Omar Fetouh/WBFO News

Residents of Buffalo's West Side want their voices heard when it comes to planned development around the Peace Bridge, which they say is the source of their health issues.

Twitter (cleanairwny)

Tonawanda Coke faces up to $200 million in fines when the company and its environmental manager are sentenced in September and residents in the areas affected by the company's pollution want a say in where that money goes.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A major effort is underway to get any citizen who was affected by pollution from Tonawanda Coke to issue an impact statement in court.