Drinking water monitors may shut down in southeast Michigan
A system that protects southeast Michigan water systems by monitoring for chemical contamination in Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers may shut down because of a lack of funding.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Macomb County Water Resources Advisory Council is asking St. Clair and Macomb counties to give $50,000 to keep the monitors operating.
The funding from Macomb and St. Clair counties would allow the program, known as the St. Clair River-Lake St. Clair Drinking Water Protection System, to continue operating through 2012. The system monitors an area from Port Huron to Wyandotte, where water services 3 million people in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties.
The system, with help from federal funds, was started in 2006. To stay fully operational, it would need about $1 million per year, but it is currently operating at a reduced level of funding of about $210,000 annually.
If an oil pipeline were to rupture under the St. Clair River, or in the event of a spills from one of the many chemical plants on the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair, this monitoring system would alert the operators of drinking water systems that draw from those waters.
Half of the state’s population — 5 million people — live along the 98-mile corridor formed by the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River and 17 municipal drinking water facilities have intakes along that corridor.