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Great Lakes Article:

Michigan wisely helps county fight pollution
DEQ provides needed support effort against illegal discharge
The Times Herald
12/12/03

Even when times are hard and state dollars are difficult to find, there are some commitments that must be met. The quality of our water is one of them, and state officials didn't let us down.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality gave St. Clair County more than $750,000 to protect our waterways from pollution. The grant represents public dollars well spent.

The county's Illicit Discharge Elimination Program is a vital weapon in the fight against water pollution. Part of a larger DEQ campaign against illegal sewage and other discharge pipes, the county effort is identifying these non-point sources of contamination and correcting them.

The vigilance is critical. Broken or unconnected water pipes have become the principal threat to clean water. The sewage and other pollutants they discharge pose a direct threat to our water system. Fred Fuller, the county drain commissioner, linked these pollution sources to beach closings that result from contaminated water.

The drain walkers, the program's workers, are on an important mission. They have finished inspecting the Anchor Bay watershed that covers the county's southern half. Now, they are reviewing the Pine River subwatershed.

State grants funded that effort. The new financial support will enable the inspections to cover three more of the county's eight watersheds.

If water is Michigan's most important natural resource, that goes double for St. Clair County. Lake Huron and our wealth of rivers and streams is a legacy that cannot be compromised.

The Illicit Discharge Elimination Program is an essential commitment to protecting the quality of our water. DEQ officials clearly recognize this. The grants they approved mean this essential work will go on.


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