stormwater

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to do more to help cities deal with toxic cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Erie.

"Particularly when they see something where you have an entire region could not utilize their own drinking water supply," says Miller, referring to a two-day shutdown of Toledo's water supply in August. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Jackson voters face a controversial ballot question next week.

They will decide Tuesday if they want to pay a new fee to have their leaves collected.

In 2011, the Jackson City Council created a fee to pay for leaf pick up, street cleaning and other things needed to be done to keep the city’s storm drains clear of debris. The fee raised over $1 million annually. 

But Jackson County government and local businessmen took the city to court.      

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Jackson residents may decide in August if they are willing to pay a special tax to clean up their city streets.

Last year, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the city of Jackson’s storm water fee was actually an illegal tax. The fee generated about a million dollars a year for street cleaning and leaf pickup programs which without funding the city cancelled last year.

Councilman Derek Dobies says that meant homeowners couldn’t just sweep their leaves into the street they had to dispose of the leaves themselves.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Autumn is a lovely time in Jackson.    But people living along Jackson‘s tree lined streets will face a problem this Fall: How to get rid of all those falling leaves?

It’s something of a suburban ritual.   Once the leaves fall, homeowners rake them into the street to be cleared away.     But not this fall in Jackson.

The city recently lost a legal challenge to its storm water fee.   The Court of the Appeals ruled the fee was actually an illegal tax.  

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some Jackson city employees are getting layoff notices this morning.

The layoffs come as city leaders come to grips with a court ruling striking down Jackson’s storm water fee.

This month, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Jackson’s storm water fee was an illegal tax.   The city has decided not to appeal the ruling.

MERIS/NASA

A significant amount of blue-green algae is expected in the western basin of Lake Erie this summer. This year’s algal bloom will be about 1/5 as bad as what happened in 2011.

2011 was one of the worst years on record for the explosions of algae growth.

Anderson Eye Care / Facebook.com

The Grand River hit a record high level in Grand Rapids over the weekend.  Volunteers spent hours filling sandbags to protect homes and city buildings.

City managers are still dealing with the flood waters. But they’re also planning for future storms.

Haris Alibasic directs Grand Rapids’ Office of Energy and Sustainability.

“Given the more intense and more frequent, intense rain events we’re probably going to be experiencing, as climate change is anticipated to really have a serious impact in the Midwest," he says.