water pollution

The EPA has released its annual report highlighting work under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative -- and environmentalists might be surprised by the high praise from Scott Pruitt.

In a statement accompanying the report, Pruitt, who leads the EPA, said the initiative "is protecting public health in the Great Lakes more than any other coordinated interagency effort in U.S. history."

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 3

The recent black, odorous wastewater discharge near the base of Niagara Falls violated New York regulations, a state official says. But it's unclear whether any fines will result.


Imagine one of the Great Lakes on a sunny day – the water is clear and kids are playing in it.  But the day after a big storm, that same lake can reek of raw sewage.

It’s caused by a combined sewer overflow – a common problem in over 700 cities and towns nationwide.   Some cities are finding a solution underground.

Before water contamination emergencies hit Flint, Mich., a crisis in Canada became deadly.

When E. coli invaded the drinking water in Walkerton, half of the town became ill and seven people died. That led to a turnaround in the way the community treats its water and trains workers. 

But a question lingers: Does Walkerton’s tragedy still resonate in the U.S.?

  

Environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit, accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit involves a dispute over whether western Lake Erie should be classified as an impaired waterway. 

It’s important to know that the food you’re eating  is safe—especially when it comes to fish caught in polluted waters.


Wetland habitat restoration will be among the issues highlighted at an upcoming public meeting aimed at improving the state of the Great Lakes. The Buffalo meeting on March 28 is one of six being held regionally by the International Joint Commission, the bi-national group that helps regulate the Great Lakes.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

An Erie County Legislator and local advocates for Great Lakes cleanup say the Trump Administration's proposed cuts to such efforts would prove harmful not only to the water and wildlife in it but also the local economy.


The Trump Administration could be proposing a 97 percent cut in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding when it unveils the federal budget later this month -- a move that is drawing harsh criticism from some regional officials.  The initiative is one of many Environmental Protection Agency programs in jeopardy.


Residents near an abandoned military base in Michigan are worried about an unseen invader: toxic chemicals that have contaminated wells in the town of Oscoda. Now the chemicals are spreading farther -- and have even reached Lake Huron.


Veronica Volk

Jon Gee of Environment and Climate Change Canada stands on a platform overlooking a part of the Hamilton, Ontario, harbor called Randle Reef. It's one of the most polluted sites on Canada’s side of the Great Lakes. 
 


WBFO file photo/Chris Caya

An Erie County Legislator has introduced a local bill that, if passed, would put more responsibility on pharmaceutical companies to pay for the cost of disposing unused medications. The bill is designed to protect a natural resource where, according to the elected official, contaminants from improperly discarded meds are turning up.


Just minutes after President Donald J. Trump took the oath of office Friday morning, changes began to take place -- starting with the government's website. The page dedicated to climate change was one of many revisions on whitehouse.gov.

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.

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."

Each summer, many beaches along the Great Lakes are shut down because the waters have high bacteria levels.  But figuring out exactly when to close a beach is difficult, and scientists are trying out a new test that could lead to safer swimming.


The U.S. and Canada announced Wednesday that they have finalized a plan for restoring and protecting Lake Superior's water quality.

A 96-page document from the Lake Superior Partnership outlines major threats such as invasive species and climate change. It also lists priorities for preserving the relatively clean waters, including ending the release of nine toxic substances.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Local residents are stepping forward and donating cases of bottled water that will soon be shipped to Flint, Michigan, where the city's water supply has been contaminated with lead.


SUNY Fredonia

There has been growing concern about the harmful effects of microplastics in waterways, and a local tourist attraction is inviting people to learn more about how they are affecting the Great Lakes.

WBFO file photo

Cattaraugus County could soon become the latest community to ban personal care products containing microbeads. The tiny plastic beads can pass through sewage treatment plants and into open water. They have been found in fish that have been used for human consumption.