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Great Lakes Article:

Toxic chemical ban in Lake Superior could be extended to tributaries
Public hearing is set for Wednesday, KUWS 91.3
Posted October 8, 2005

A proposal to regulate toxins dumped into Lake Superior is being pushed by the Wisconsin DNR. It will bring Lake Superior closer to the lofty goal of zero discharge. Mike Simonson reports.

The proposal focuses on what's called the "Nasty Nine" toxic chemicals. In 1991 the United States and Canada signed an agreement to make Lake Superior the Zero Discharge Demonstration project. To some, eliminating the discharge of persistant toxic chemicals may sound pie-in-the-sky, but Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Water Specialist Nancy Larson in Ashland says it's a goal worth shooting for. The new proposal would restrict nine chemicals like PCB's, mercury, and pesticides from draining into Lake Superior. "Because these are pollutants that don't go away. They persist for decades, they build up in the food chain, and they build up in fish. So we want to make sure that people don't discharge these pollutants unless they really have to by even using the best technology out there." Larson says it would prohibit rivers and streams that run into Lake Superior from having any discharge of these chemicals and also tag those tributaries with the more restrictive "Outstanding Resource Water" designation. "The idea was for some of the tributaries that are very high quality and that are already classified as Outstanding Resource Waters. This public group wanted to extend that Outstanding Resource Water classification into some of the waters of Lake Superior right off the mouth of those tributaries." Lake Superior is considered the cleanest of the Great Lakes and also has the most water, equal to all of the other Great Lakes combined. Because of that, it takes more than 150 years for a pollutant to leave Lake Superior. A public hearing is set near Ashland on these regulations Wednesday at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center.

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