Illinois lawmakers in D.C. aim to ban sewage dumping into Great Lakes
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), along with U.S. Reps. Robert Dold (R-Dist. 10), Mike Quigley (D-Dist. 5) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Dist. 3), recently introduced Great Lakes Water Protection Act (GLWPA) legislation on Wednesday.
GLWPA sets a 2035 deadline to end sewage dumping in the Great Lakes in an effort to ensure the availability of clean water for the next generation and to lessen the economic impact beach closures have on local communities every year.
“Thirty million Americans depend on the Great Lakes for drinking and swimming,” Kirk said. “Our crown jewel of the Midwest is not a Dumpster for sewage.”
An estimated 24 billion gallons of combined untreated sewage and storm water are dumped into the Great Lakes each year. Such sewage leads to hundreds of beach closures, adversely affects the source of drinking water for more than 30 million Americans and damages the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Molly Flanagan, vice president of policy at the Alliance for the Great Lakes, spoke favorably of GLWPA.
"The act is an important step forward in improving public notification about sewage overflows by setting uniform reporting guidelines for all eight Great Lakes states," Flanagan said. "The legislation also tackles the long-term need to eliminate sewage overflows altogether by setting a deadline for all Great Lakes states to stop overflows by 2035, which would ensure that our lakes are clean and safe for people and wildlife."