The Grand River Has A Reputation Of Being Dirty And Unsafe Essays

The Grand River Has A Reputation Of Being Dirty And Unsafe Essays

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A man is walking along a dock that sits above the Grand River; looking at the water, it is quite obvious that water quality is not the best. The water is brown and murky. He trips and falls into the water; he quickly climbs out and notices he has a cut on his leg, but thinks nothing of it. Just a few days later, this man has a fever and the skin around his cut is red and swollen; he has an infection. This infection came from an adenovirus, a waterborne disease, which was in the Grand River and entered through the open cut (Fong, et al. 2010, 717). While this scenario is uncommon, it is still possible. The Grand River has a reputation of being dirty and unsafe; while the quality of the water has slowly increased, there is still a long way to go. This river is approximately 420 km (260 miles) long and is the longest river in Michigan (Shen, et al. 2008, 2427). The river terminates in Grand Haven flowing into Lake Michigan. Since the water from the Grand River flows into Lake Michigan, thus also contaminating the lake; the Grand River is the “largest contributor to the lake’s pollution” (Schrauben, 2010). The pollution in the Grand River mainly comes from sewage overflow, agricultural runoff, erosion and increased sedimentation deposits. These factors are detrimental to the aquatic ecosystems of both the Grand River and the lakes it flows into, as well as negatively impacting human health. Programs should be put in place to reduce and monitor these effects.
One such program that has helped to reduce sewage overflow has been the city of Grand Rapids’ shift from a combined sewer system to a separated sewer system (Schrauben, 2010). A “combined sewer system meant that both stormwater runoff and domestic sewage flowed thro...


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...o follow through with programs to reduce pollution. Both urban and rural areas alike need to put forth effort to reduce their impacts on this major water source. Programs, like separating the sewer system, have tremendous impact and show that it is possible to reduce pollution in the Grand River. More strategies to increase water quality need to be executed, especially when it comes to agricultural runoff. If people do not adhere to agenda to improve on Grand River pollution, there will be detrimental effects on both human and environmental health. Not only is the Grand River the longest river in Michigan, it also empties into Lake Michigan, which is a major source of fresh water. While it is unlikely to terminate all sources of pollution, programs should be enforced to mitigate the amount and effects of the ever present pollution that haunts this body of water.

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