Finally, it’s warming up! Get ready to hang up that puffy parka of yours until next winter.
But wait. What’s happened to the once snowy-white landscape around us?
This is the time of year when our sewers are put to the test. They drain what the winter has left behind. Ice. Snow. And a lot of mess.
You can see piles of cigarette butts and trash soaking in puddles all over sidewalks. Winter’s remnants can also be found on the roads, in parks, gardens, driveways – everywhere.
- Excess sand and road salt
- Trash and debris
- Oil and grease from leaky vehicles
There’s a lot of snowmelt this time of year, and sewers are often overwhelmed. Runoff carries waste into lakes and rivers and even causes bypasses at sewage treatment plants. This results in water quality that’s quite unsafe. We’ve seen what happens when sewage bypasses are severe.
Sewage bypasses harm fish and aquatic life. They also pollute waters that we – people – rely on for drinking. And if you’re a Great Lakes surfer, you’re one of the first who jumps in.
Use caution near the water this time of year. Water quality may be poor, and sampling doesn't start at city waterways until June.
In the meantime, help prepare for a swimmable summer. Keep your watershed clean by disposing of waste and litter properly, even in areas far from the waterfront.
Remember: What goes on the ground, goes in the lake.