Backed Up

The Environmental Integrity Project analyzed how many of the municipalities with combined sewer systems in six Great Lakes states (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, or EPA’s Region 5) are in compliance with the Clean Water Act. In general, we found that more than half of the municipalities in the Great Lakes states are not yet in full compliance with the Clean Water Act. Evidence suggests that many of the  municipalities do not meet minimum standards for preventing combined sewer overflows (CSOs), do not have approved long-term plans required by law for upgrading sewage collection or treatment systems, and do not adequately report the occurrence of CSOs to the public.

Information and data contained in this report were generally derived from federal and state legislative sources; EPA guidance documents, reports and memoranda; EPA’s Permit Compliance System database; information provided by the states and EPA in response to open records requests; and personal communications with federal and state regulators. Where discrepancies existed between EPA and state data, we used state data.