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After you flush, where does it go? For many communities, the answer is no longer a solution.

Oct 2, 2017

When you flush, do you know where the wastewater goes? How about where that sewer line ultimately ends?

It is out of sight, and often out of mind. Yet across Michigan, our decaying and outdated sewers are the source of growing problems.

In fact, there’s a town hall meeting about that very issue tonight. State Reps. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Twp.,  and Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores, want to hear from people about the chronic water pollution and sewer overflow that plagues homeowners and beaches along Lake St. Clair.

But this isn’t only a problem for communities near Lake St. Clair, or for the nearly 40% of Michiganders whose drinking water may be affected by the problems there.

Ronald Brenke, executive director of both the Michigan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan, joined Stateside today to explain what exactly the statewide infrastructure problem entails.

“I think everyone should be concerned,” Brenke said.

What’s happened in Lake St. Clair is a “symptom of a larger problem,” he said, one that Michigan has faced for a long time, and one that risks the public health and safety of the whole state.

Brenke said it’s the sewers that handle both storm water and sanitary waste that cause the biggest problems. They can’t always handle heavy rainfall.

“And that’s where we’ve seen the greatest amounts of raw sewage entering our creeks and our streams,” he said. “And the only way to take care of that is really to rebuild some of our underground infrastructure, and separate those two so that they can handle the larger volumes of rain and storms that we seem to be having in the last several years.”

Listen above to hear what’s being done about this problem right now, and what it would take to replace these underground systems. 

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