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Prescription and over-the-counter medications are a contaminant of emerging concern (CEC) known to impact source water. Water treatment facilities are not designed to remove pharmaceutical contaminants, and trace amounts of have been found in rivers and lakes around the world. To reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the Great Lakes, communities around the basin have implemented programs to raise awareness and provide safe disposal of unused drugs.
As one of the largest wastewater and drinking water providers in the nation, the Great Lakes Water Authority is a leader in collaborating with researchers to understand threats to drinking water and strategies for protecting source water. Research at GLWA spans from source water monitoring, to research on effective drinking water and wastewater treatment strategies.
In addition to meeting all safe drinking water act requirements, Great Lakes Water Authority carries out additional monitoring activities as part of federal programs and research initiatives, state-mandated programs, and voluntary actions.
The Great Lakes Water Authority has water quality sensing equipment located at two surface intakes in the Detroit River that contribute data to the Huron-to-Erie Real-time Drinking Water Protection Network.
The City of Milwaukee Water Works Department Water Quality Monitoring Program exceeds state and federal requirements – both by testing source water and treated water and by voluntarily testing for an expanded contaminant list.
The city of Toledo works with LimnoTech to maintain a scientific buoy and monitoring sensors in Lake Erie near the City’s drinking water intake to assist with gathering real-time environmental data and to monitor potential impacts to drinking water from harmful algal blooms.
The Toledo Police Department provides 24-hour unwanted prescription medication drop-off sites for all solid drugs and pills and participates in biannual Prescription Drug Take Back Days, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.
The City of Toledo partners with regional government entities, nonprofits, soil and water districts, and others stakeholders to educate the public about best practices for water stewardship within the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Great Lakes Water Authority developed a mobile-access, geographic information systems (GIS)-based map that incorporates real-time operational data along its wastewater interceptors and at its rain gauges.
The City of Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant has taken voluntary steps to enhance the removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water.
Great Lakes Water Authority partners with the University of Michigan and other Lake Erie stakeholders on several research and assessment projects aimed at better understanding and reducing phosphorus loading into the Detroit River from point sources within the city and nonpoint sources from the surrounding watershed.
Great Lakes Water Authority has an internal goal of maintaining the phosphorus concentration of their effluent at 80 percent of the permit limit for their Water Resource Recovery Facility.
The city of Milwaukee coordinates with local stakeholders to provide multiple options for people to safely dispose of unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications.
The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance (FWWA) has a targeted effort to work with farmers in three subwatersheds with some of the highest nutrient and sediment loading in the Lower Fox River watershed to improve water quality in northeastern Wisconsin.
The city of Toledo participates in multiple regional partnerships and planning efforts aimed at mitigating spills that could potentially impact sources of drinking water.
Great Lakes Water Authority has a system-wide emergency response plan as well as individual response plans for each of their facilities to ensure the prompt initiation of a targeted response in the event of a spill with the potential to impact source water.
The Detroit River is an international border between the U.S. and Canada and the location of two Great Lakes Water Authority surface intakes. Coordinating with Canadian environmental agencies is critical to ensuring that the intakes are protected from potential impacts to sources of drinking water coming from both sides of the border.
Great Lakes Water Authority has developed voluntary Surface Water Intake Protection Plans (SWIPP) for three surface water intakes located in Lake Huron and the Detroit River. The two Detroit River intakes are in urbanized areas with influences from the U.S. and Canada. The Lake Huron intake is situated further from industrial activities and urbanized areas but remains susceptible to the impacts of agricultural and stormwater runoff.
The Northeast Wisconsin Stormwater Consortium (NEWSC) is a consortium of 41 permitted MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) that is led by the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance. NEWSC helps communities work together to meet and exceed Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stormwater regulations.