MDEQ, EPA to hold public meeting on Deer Lake delisting

ISHPEMING – Members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes will hold a public meeting tonight to discuss the actions they have taken to remove Deer Lake from a list of “areas of concern.”

The meeting is at 7 p.m. in Ishpeming City Hall.

Stephanie Swart, the Office of the Great Lakes’ area of concern coordinator for Deer Lake, and Mark Loomis of the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office will give a presentation summarizing the actions the agencies have taken to be ready to delist Deer Lake.

“The delisting report is essentially the summary of activities that have taken place at the area of concern, up to the point of which we are going to remove it from the list of areas of concern,” Swart said. “This is the public comment period. After the public comment period, the EPA has responsibility for providing the International Joint Commission as well as the (U.S.) State Department and the Canadian government copies of the delisting report. And then after we get approval from the State Department, that’s when it gets removed from the list.”

Swart said one good example of an action the agencies have taken is to require limits on the amount of phosphorus that nearby wastewater treatment plants can discharge. The phosphorus caused eutrophication – chemical enrichment of the water that causes an excess of plant and algae growth.

“Once the wastewater treatment plants put in secondary treatment and actually had limits for phosphorus, they saw a major decrease in the amount of phosphorus going into the lake – thus, a decrease in algal blooms,” she said.

For more information, and to review a copy of the draft final delisting report, visit www2.epa.gov/deer-lake-aoc.