In the News: More effort needed to control sewer overflow

From the Post-Tribune:
A large amount of stimulus funding should be spent on improving infrastructure to avoid millions of gallons of sewage overflowing into the Great Lakes, a new report says.

The biennial report, released Monday by the International Joint Commission, assesses how much progress has been made toward achieving the American-Canadian commission's goal of reducing and preventing pollution from municipal sources into the Great Lakes. Read more.


Fair Brings Together Green Opportunities

Terri Hallesy, IISG education specialist, helped a Green Fair visitor play the game Get Rid of Stuff Sensibly in Catigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois on Saturday, September 26. Several hundred visitors to the IISG booth found information on better ways to get rid of medicine, electronic equipment, aquarium fish, and more.

The first annual Green Fair, sponsored by Catigny Park and School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education or SCARCE, provided an opportunity for visitors to drop off recyclable items, to learn about green opportunities, and to have fun.


New medicine drop off box installed at Illinois State Police Headquarters in LaSalle County

Illinois Valley Community Hospital worked with the Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program (P2D2) to initiate a new medicine collection program at the Illinois State Police Headquarters in LaSalle County. Residents can drop off their unwanted medicines at the station using a new medicine drop box. The drop box was installed at a ceremony at the police headquarters on September 23, 2009. IISG purchased the drop box for the station.

Pictured by the box are: (back row left to right)--State Senator Gary Dahl; City of La Salle Mayor Jeff Grove; La Salle Police Chief Rob Uranich, Tommy Hobbs, CEO Illinois Valley Community Hospital; Captain Roach, Chief of State Police District 17; Ashleigh Scholle, student at Area Career Center located at La Salle Peru Township High School; Jennifer Sines,pharmacist Illinois Valley Community Hospital; Deb Parisot, graphic arts teacher at the Area Career Center; Trooper Craig Graham, State Police District 17.


SOLEC Report Focused on Nearshore Conditions

Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are pleased to release the Nearshore Areas of the Great Lakes 2009 Report. This report describes the current state of nearshore area environmental conditions and changes in nearshore areas of the Great Lakes since 1996, and it suggests management implications related to nearshore issues.

Nearshore areas of the Great Lakes are important because this is where land-based activities can impact water quality and where humans generally interact with the Great Lakes.

The report includes information on the issues of botulism, harmful algae blooms, viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), and shoreline development, among other stressors. Experts in the United States and Canada contributed the chapters for this report, which was prepared for the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) 2008.

At the link above, you can read or download the full report or the State of the Great Lakes Highlights.


Purdue’s Green Week: Smart Growth for Communities

On September 23, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Bob McCormick, IISG Planning with POWER project leader, will give a talk titled “Smart Growth for Communities” as part of Purdue University’s Green Week. McCormick will introduce the ten principles of smart growth and how they can be implemented in Indiana. He will also discuss examples of ongoing smart growth in Indiana.

The larger topic for the evening is sustainable land use, so in addition to McCormick’s talk, Brent Ladd, learning and engagement coordinator in Purdue University's Center for the Environment at Discovery Park, will discuss “Permaculture Design for the Home.” He will present the basic concepts behind permaculture and provide examples of how this approach can create a more sustainable home and backyard environment.

These talks will take place in the Elm Room, on the second floor of the West Lafayette Library.


Purdue, West Lafayette Go Green

On Wednesday, September 16, a “Drug Drop” took place at the Farmer’s Market in West Lafayette, Indiana. This event was organized by the West Lafayette Go Greener Commission. More than a barrelful of medicine was collected from the general public and was taken from the premises by local police for proper disposal. IISG provided informational brochures on the environmental impacts of flushing medicines to this event. We also supplied organizers with pill boxes for distribution that remind people not to flush medicine.

On September 24, IISG’s specialists Susan Boehme and Elizabeth Hinchey Malloy will deliver an evening workshop presentation as part of Purdue University’s Green Week Festival. The workshop is entitled “The Problem of Unwanted Medicines: Environmental Impacts of Unwanted Medicines and Best Disposal Practices” and in addition to Boehme and Hinchey Malloy, features presentations by Marisol SepĂșlveda, Purdue associate professor, and Dawn Boston from the Wildcat Creek Solid Waste Management District.

Purdue University is sponsoring Green Week on September 15-19 to raise environmental awareness on campus and in the greater Lafayette community. Each day will focus on one aspect of preserving the environment and practicing conservation. There will be opportunities for students, faculty and staff, and community members to participate throughout the week.


In the News: Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering

From the New York Times:
Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near Charleston, W.Va.

In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system. Read more.

This link also provides a way to search data on more than 200,000 facilities around the nation permitted to discharge pollutants. Just choose a state and put in your zip code.


In the News: Asian carp misery spreads to barge operators

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
The leaping Asian carp have long been a problem for recreational boaters plying waters infested by the species, which was accidentally unleashed two decades ago during government sewage treatment experiments in Arkansas.

Now the misery has spread to commercial barge operators near Chicago.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday it will end a subsidy that provides an extra tow boat for barges moving through a new carp barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Read more.


In the News: Half of Fish Consumed Globally Is Now Raised on Farms, Study Finds

From Science Daily:
Aquaculture, once a fledgling industry, now accounts for 50 percent of the fish consumed globally, according to a new report by an international team of researchers. And while the industry is more efficient than ever, it is also putting a significant strain on marine resources by consuming large amounts of feed made from wild fish harvested from the sea, the authors conclude. Their findings are published in the Sept. 7 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Read more.

In the News: Utility denies damaging park with Bailly water

From the Post-Tribune:
Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is in hot water with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore because of a warm water discharge from the Bailly Generating Station.

The discharge has eroded away 500 feet of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore shoreline along with beach and wildlife habitat over a quarter mile. It also heats up the lake water. Read more.


IISG at the Farm Progress Show

Brian Miller, IISG director, was interviewed on September 2 at the Illinois Farm Progress Show for WCIA-TV, a Champaign-Urbana CBS affiliate. He talked about the program and focused on several recent impacts including the 2008 Earth Day project with U.S. EPA. Over 25 Great Lakes communities held collection events and over four million pills and four million pounds of ewaste were collected and disposed of properly. Miller also talks about the Local Decision Maker project, a GIS-based web tool that helps local communities incorporate natural resources intro the comprehensive planning process. The video is here.