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Weathering the Storm: Controlling Storm Water Pollution in the Great Lakes States

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Publication Date: September 2004

Publisher(s): Environmental Integrity Project

Author(s): Stephanie Carnes


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Environment (Water, waterways, and water management)
Environment (Pollution and environmental degradation)

Keywords: Great Lakes; pollution ; storm water

Type: Report

Coverage: Ohio Minnesota Michigan Indiana Wisconsin


“Weathering the Storm” finds that uncontrolled storm water poses a serious threat to the Great Lakes by washing bacteria, sediment, and debris into waterways. Polluted water and sediment flowing from paved-over urban areas, including industrial and construction sites, make storm water one of the most important priorities for protecting the Lakes.

The report concludes that environmental protection agencies in six Midwestern states cannot properly inspect industrial and construction sites for runoff pollution. It also finds that the EPA had not provided Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin with proper guidance to curb storm water pollution. According to the report, that makes most sites self-regulated, and enforcement standards vary from state to state.

The report recommends, in part, that states should consider delegating storm water permits to local authorities; that states should publish construction permits on the Internet, and that the public should demand that storm water permits comply with all Clean Water Act requirements.