Ann Arbor, MI– In Michigan and across America, the systems that should manage wastewater and stormwater are outdated and failing, according to a new report from Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center. These failing systems result in overflows containing partially treated sewage water that flow into our rivers and Great Lakes.
The new study, which comes out as Congress negotiates water infrastructure funding for the coming fiscal year as part of the federal budget, offers a path to cleaner water that can be achieved with investment. The report calls for Congress to support states’ efforts to bring our nation’s water quality up to standards. This clean water funding should prioritize nature based infrastructure, a cost effective and innovative way to trap and treat dirty water while providing beautiful outdoor spaces and wildlife habitat.
“From our rivers to our world class Great Lakes, one thing is clear: investing in water infrastructure works,” said Environment Michigan State Director Nathan Murphy. “Across Michigan we read stories about combined sewer overflows, closed beaches and algae blooms. Unfortunately, we can expect more of these stories as our infrastructure ages without the updates it needs. But when our nation applies the right resources, we can fix these problems.”
Entitled, A Path to Cleaner Water, the report shows how investing in water infrastructure brings cleaner water to communities across America. Specifically, the group looked at successful and innovative projects in each of the ten U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regions. Despite the geographical differences between regions and states, it’s clear how clean water investments can clean and protect America’s waterways.
“We know the investments pay big dividends for improving our waters, no matter its location or size,” Murphy noted. “While we’ve seen water quality improve in areas where localities have made the right investments too many waters in Michigan are still harmed by preventable pollution.”
To upgrade these systems and protect clean water, Congress will have to make a substantial investment, according to the report. They have until December 11 to negotiate a compromise on this and other issues in the federal budget. Elected officials are currently negotiating water infrastructure provisions, including the $11 billion House spending bill aimed at solving this problem.
“Not only is investing in clean water a good idea for our waterways, environment, and drinking water, it also boasts bipartisan support.” Murphy said. We saw proof of this earlier this year when the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced draft legislation with bipartisan support to boost water infrastructure spending. The support of clean water can bring Congress together, and show unity in a time of great division.”