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State of the Strait

Posted to on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

INTRO: This week, scientists are sharing information about water pollution. Americans and Canadians are spending 3 days at the University of Windsor. Monday was the State of the Strait. That means the 32 mile long Detroit River. Tuesday and Wednesday it’s Lake Erie. See But anyone near the Great Lakes has a stake in the work. Michigan Now’s Chris McCarus reports.

The Detroit River has mercury, PCB’s, lead and zinc. They are all harmful to our health. Mary Bohling is with Michigan Sea Grant. She showed photos to her colleagues.

“This is an example from up on Belle Isle. But there are many other examples along the Detroit River where there are these backwater areas.”

Pesticides flow from farm land. Motor oil drains off highways and parking lots. And sewer water overflows into storm water. So sediment enters the river and gets stuck in bays and inlets.

“ The water will swirl in this area, slows the water down and eventually the sediments and the contaminants flowing through the water will settle into these areas.”

Mary Bohling said researchers have to choose amongt hundreds of polluted sites. Their new hazard index tool allows them to pinpoint what to clean up. The EPA uses the index. That’s why they sent a team on boats this week to Celeron Island and the River Rouge/Ecorse shoreline.

For Michigan Now I’m Chris McCarus in Windsor, Ontario.

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