Major Conservancy Award, Sewer Planning Bucks, Solar School Contest

For Friday, Jan. 5, 2018

1 – Eighty communities have received funding for sewer planning.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality awarded nearly $64 million to the local governments to help with planning for sewer system maintenance needs.

Communities and funding amounts include: $1.6 million to Hampton Township and $350,000 to Kawkawlin Township.

This the fifth ground of state grants for sewer planning. The DEQ says municipalities applied for the grants in 2013, and approved applications have been awarded in a lottery process starting in March 2014.

2 – The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy has received a major award.

The Conservancy has received the Park Design Award for 2017 from the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.

The honor is for the Conservancy’s O.U.R. Saginaw Project.

The O.U.R. Saginaw effort includes a Pollinator Project to convert more than 1,500 vacant, overgrown lots into low-growing, low-maintenance pollinator plots.

There’s also the Janet H. Nash Riverfront Preserve, a 2-plus acre new riverfront natural area, developed out of a under-used parking lot; and nature trails at the Children’s Zoo in Saginaw and at Saginaw Valley State University.

3 – Michigan students can find ways to use solar energy in their schools as part of a statewide contest.


Credit: Pixabay

My Solar School Contest” is put on by the Ecology Center, U.S. Green Building Council, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and others.

Student teams in grades 6-12 will compete by conducting a solar feasibility study at their school and creating a short video to showcase their vision.

Prizes include cash and technical support.

Pre-registration is open until Jan. 19, with a contest deadline of March 30.

See for more details.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes


Mich Enviro Report: Dirty School Air, Dirty Sewer Systems & Consumers Energy Efficiency

As heard on Friday Edition, May 13, 2011, Delta College Q-90.1 FM …
The air your kids breath could be hurting their grades in school.

photo michigan air pollution school report

Air pollution concentrations from industrial sources, with school locations.

A new study by University of Michigan researchers links air pollution near Michigan schools to poorer academic performance, and poorer student health.

The report says that schools located in areas with high industrial air pollution levels had the lowest attendance rates and the highest amounts of students who failed to meet state educational testing standards.

Out of almost 3,700 public schools in Michigan, 62.5 percent of them are located in places with high levels of air pollution from industrial sources, according to the research.

The majority of the most-polluted sites in Michigan are in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula. The most-polluted locations form a horseshoe-shaped band stretching from the Thumb region south to the Ohio border, then west to Lake Michigan and north to Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

The researchers say Michigan and other states should require an environmental-quality analysis when officials are considering sites for new schools.

Half of all states, including Michigan, do not require any evaluation of the environmental quality of areas under consideration as sites for new schools, nor do they prohibit building new industrial facilities and highways near existing schools.

The research was published in a peer-reviewed journal called Health Affairs.


A ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of Michigan sewer systems includes Bay and Saginaw counties.

The list, from the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, points to almost 15 billion gallons of raw or partially treated sewage that’s been discharged to Michigan rivers, lake and streams in the first four months of 2011.

Included in that 15 billion gallon figure, taken from state records, is more than 88 million gallons of sewage from Bay County, the third-highest discharger in Michigan, below Wayne and Macomb counties. Bay County sewage goes to the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay.

Saginaw County came in at No. 5 on the list, with 63 million gallons.

A total of 86 percent of the Dirty Dozen sewage came from Wayne County, with 13.4 billion gallons.

Sewer discharges occur when overloaded and aging sewer systems are overwhelmed by heavy rains or snow melt.

In Bay and Saginaw counties, sewage typically receives partial treatment before a discharge. But partially treated sewage still contains bacteria that can lead to beach closures and river contamination advisories.

The association says the state needs to take long-overdue steps to repair or replace Michigan’s aging underground sewer systems.


Last week, we talked about DTE Energy. This week, it’s Consumers Energy.

The Jackson-based utility says its customers saved about $38 million last year through an energy efficiency program.

One of the most popular aspects was the sale of discounted light bulbs.

Last year, 1.2 million compact fluorescent light bulbs were sold at a lower price at several retailers as part of the Consumers Energy program.

Payments for recycling old refrigerators and freezers also were popular, the company says.

Customers can receive $30 for offering up old fridges and freezers to Consumers Energy. The company picks up the old appliances, and people save an average of $150 a year on their electric bills by unplugging an energy hog.

Consumers Energy says 2010 energy efficiency efforts saved enough energy to supply electricity to about 30,000 homes.

Consumers Energy customers pay a total of about $3 a month in surcharges on their electric and natural gas bills to fund the energy efficiency program.

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