Dam Maps, Dang Deposits

For Friday, May 5, 2020

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1 – You can find out about dams regulated by the state, and their condition, from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). 

The agency’s new GIS mapping tool provides the location of each of more than 1,000 state-regulated dams, along with who owns them, what body of water they regulate, when they were last inspected and their hazard potential.

The map is on EGLE’s incident page for the Midland-area dam failure. 

Screenshot of EGLE dam map

A state official says the recent failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams has highlighted the dangers of aging and inadequate infrastructure. 

The map was created to help the public better understand what dams are in their community and the potential risks to life and property. 

State data shows that out of 1,059 dams, 85 have a “high downstream hazard” designation due to their potential for affecting population centers and property.

Of those 85, five are rated poor. None are rated as unsatisfactory.  

2 – It’s almost time to return bottles and cans again. 

The state Treasury Department issued notice this week that beginning June 15, some retailers must re-open their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits. 

This applies to retailers with bottle return facilities located at the front of the store or housed in a separate area and serviced exclusively by machines that require minimal or no person-to-person contact.

Officials say retailers re-opening their bottle return facilities must ensure the facilities comply with safety protocols and restrictions. 

Consumers have the option of recycling their returnable beverage containers if they choose not to take them back.

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters noted this week that Michigan’s bottle deposit program allows 75 percent of unclaimed deposits to go to a trust fund that’s used to clean up toxic contamination and prevent pollution. 

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR (now streaming). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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