Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Michigan muck removal starts in 2010

Hopefully the days of Great Lakes goodness that I (and Kid Rock) remember are on their way back. 

The Michigan Legislature passed a couple of bills on Dec. 18 that will limit phosphorus in laundry and dishwashing detergents beginning July 1, 2010. 

This development went unnoticed by Mainstream Media, from what I can tell (thanks Google News). But the Michigan Policy Network has a rundown, with the requisite links, and the Michigan Environmental Council praised the legislation in a year-end wrap-up report. So I feel it. 

This is big news if you care about limiting phosphorus, a nutrient that's been blamed for nasty, stinky dead algae that's been fouling beaches and shoreline property for years in the Great Lakes state. 

Of course, simply cutting out this bit of phosphorus won't cure the problem (hello invasive species), but it will hopefully improve conditions, experts say. It also will lessen the strain on wastewater plants that have to remove phosphorus as part of the treatment process. Similar phosphorus limits will begin at the same time in 2010 in several other states, too.

The new Michigan standards, which actually should begin sooner, will cut phosphorus levels in detergents from a current 8.7 percent to 0.5 percent (a 17-fold decrease if my math is right). Local governments started this wave, by banning phosphorus in residential lawn fertilizers earlier this year. Hopefully that's next for Michigan. 

Have a muck-free holiday!

- Green Mullet

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