From Dave Renwick, Wolverine Lake:
Once again, something stinks in Wolverine Lake!
Whomever the Spinal Column Newsweekly got their story from about the sewage overflow into Wolverine Lake (Jan. 19, 2011 edition) neglected some significant facts.
While the story did indeed correctly state the amount of sewage overflow at 30,000 gallons, it reported nothing of the resultant water contamination.
E-coli is a bacteria that lives in sewage and is known to cause illness and death. The established danger levels for e-coli contamination in water is 300 ppm (parts per million) for full-contact (swimming) and 1,000 ppm for partial-contact (any contact); in other words, beach closings at 300 ppm, entire lake closing at 1,000 ppm. The sewer overflow into Wolverine Lake skyrocketed our e-coli count to 12,000 ppm at the entry point, and 100 ppm all the way at the other end of the lake! I served on council for four years, and I never saw pollution counts anywhere near these potentially deadly levels. So basically the sewers managed to do in a few hours what our septic tanks couldn’t do in over 50 years, and that is pollute the lake to the point that it should have been shut down! And regardless of what time of the year it was, why wasn’t the lake shut down? Why wasn’t this posted at the water’s edge and the citizens mailed (or e-mailed) a warning immediately?
I see kids playing by the water’s edge every day and see folks fishing everyday, too. For anyone, especially a representative of the people, to leave the impression that no one was exposed to this potentially lethal pathogen is both misleading and irresponsible. And that is the big question here; Why were the citizens of Wolverine Lake not immediately informed by our government of the depth and magnitude of this contamination to our lake?
I regularly receive e-mails from village government about things as mundane as abandoned bikes and bus trips. Yet when as huge an event as the dumping of 30,000 gallons of sewage into our lake and resulting e-coli contamination happens I received nothing from our village government!
This head-in-the-sand approach served no one’s interest, other than perhaps Village Council’s. Council is currently rushing a special assessment district for sewers in the eastern district through their meetings, as well as a “real estate outreach program” designed to highlight how great it is to live in Wolverine Lake, so letting the people know of a 30,000 gallon dump of sewage into our lake by their much-touted sewers would not have been in council’s self-serving special interests.
But thanks to the Spinal Column Newsweekly story people are asking questions. In addition to, “Why weren’t we told,” one of the most interesting questions is: What of the ice that formed after this sewage entered our lake? Council and Oakland County have done water testing, but have they tested the ice? Do we potentially have an enormous “poopsickle” festering out there waiting to thaw and re-pollute our lake come spring?
Many questions; no answers forthcoming from Council.
In the name of the people I have an urgent suggestion for any truly concerned members of Village Council: Instead of rushing through a special assessment district to install still more sewers, how about first holding a public hearing on the sewage overflow and answering all the people’s questions about why this happened and how it truly effected our lake? Only with complete transparency in government can a properly, fully informed public comment on what they think of installing more of Council’s almighty sewers in the village, and right now the facts just plain aren’t out there.