Saturday, July 14, 2007

What Does "Treated Wastewater" Really Mean?

In a recent comment about dumping more garbage into Lake Michigan, Anonymous posted a link to a document published by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). I started reading this 52-page document tonight; I'm struck by the level of detail that's contained in this document. For example, I read that it's permissible to discharge up to 2,600 lbs of oil and grease into Lake Michigan everyday. And the list includes the discharge rates of other chemicals and metals, including mercury, ammonia, chromium, chlorine, and phosphorus.

I'm a psychologist, clearly not a chemist, ecologist, nor a biologist, so perhaps these are silly questions to ask, but what does "treated wastewater" really mean?? How is this waste neutralized and how rigorous are these tests that measure treated wastewater? How often does IDEM evaluate the content of treated wastewater? Does treated wastewater have any deleterious effects on plants and animals?

I'm definitely going to read this document carefully; hopefully, I'll gain greater insight into this wastewater issue. If you have a moment to peruse this document, please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter. Oh, and any information you're able to send my way concerning what the heck "treated wastewater" really means is much appreciated. And thanks, Anonymous, for posting this document on the blog!! :0)

2 comments:

Experimentaholic said...

Lake Michigan used to be a mess. Before they reversed the flow of the Chicago river in 1902 (which effectively polluted the Mississippi River instead) All the slaughterhouses would drain into the lake, and there would be carcasses floating all along the lake. While they cleaned it up, certainly it doesn't make me happy that when I used to live in that city that I was swimming in BP's chemical cocktail. Nice that so much grease is going into that lake - no wonder the color of the lake changes every day!

Lorena said...

I live in Michigan and love Lake Michigan! It makes me crazy what our governments (we the people?) allow corporations to do to this precious resource!
Thanks for your blog. Reducing the use of plastic bags is a passion of mine. Have you seen www.morsbags.com?