There has been a lot of discussion and hand-wringing about how going over the so-called fiscal cliff would affect American taxpayers. But what about the Great Lakes? How would the fiscal cliff and the resulting cuts in the federal budget affect the world’s largest source of surface freshwater?
The short answer: Going over the fiscal cliff would likely mean more sewer overflows into the Great Lakes. That’s a serious concern, especially since U.S. cities already discharge more than 24 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage into the lakes each year. Those sewer overflows contribute to beach closures that threaten human health and hurt the economy.