December 21, 2018


December 19, 2018
Contact:  Brittney Dulbs, 517.442.5294
   Pam Taylor, 517.270.2419


Adrian, Michigan (Dec. 19, 2018) – DNA test results released today show the presence of cyanobacteria in one of three samples taken from different Adrian homes. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can produce microcystin, a potent colorless, odorless, toxin that is invisible to the naked eye and cannot be removed by boiling.  Microcystin is responsible for the 2014 Toledo water intake shutdown and was responsible for a do-not-drink advisory for Carroll Township, Ohio in 2013.  Earlier this year, the City of Salem, Oregon, distributed bottled water to citizens after finding cyanobacteria in its municipal water distribution system.  Salem gets its drinking water from its reservoir, Detroit Lake, and has experienced algal blooms for several years, but 2018 was the first time cyanobacteria was found in the drinking water supply.

Scientists don’t know what triggers cyanobacteria to produce the microcystin toxin and can’t predict when it will happen.  Because of concern that microcystin-producing cyanobacteria could have successfully passed through the City’s treatment system and entered the distribution system and colonized at certain locations in the City, some of Adrian’s drinking water customers had their tap water tested for the presence of both cyanobacteria and microcystin DNA.  Testing performed using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method confirmed the presence of the cyanobacteria organism in one of the three samples tested.

Brittney Dulbs, one of the Adrian residents who continues to have problems with her home tap water, said, “This has been going on for far too long.  Based on a map of the addresses of the people who have contacted me, it seems like a pattern is emerging.  We need the City to supply clean, safe water.”

All three samples tested negative for microcystin.  Dr. Tom Prychitko, Director of Helix Biological Laboratory, wrote, “My feeling based on these test results is that the source of tap water in Adrian does have some sort of low level of contamination of Cyanobacteria that may periodically vary so that it may be detectable one week and then not detectable the next.”  More samples have been taken and the results will be released when they are available.

Gail Philbin, Director of the Michigan Sierra Club, said, "The threat to water quality in Michigan has only grown since the drinking water for Toledo and southern Michigan was poisoned in 2014.  Annual algae blooms have increased in size and frequency and location, yet the state has made little progress in addressing their causes.  Given the prevalence of the problem in Michigan, it's important for state and local officials to take the situation in Adrian seriously and work with local residents to identify the scope and source of the cyanobacteria and resolve it before it becomes a public health crisis."

“Ohio requires public water treatment systems to report tests for microcystin which are posted regularly on the Ohio EPA web site.  In addition, Toledo has a ‘Drinking Water Quality Dashboard’ that shows cyanobacteria/microcystin test results that they immediately post on their web site. Adrian’s water quality report for 2017 discloses no test results for microcystin and there are no postings for 2018. Michigan DEQ should require testing and the public posting of the results for microcystin from Adrian and for all water treatment plants where blue-green algae is near drinking water intakes,” stated Sandy Bihn, Lake Erie Waterkeeper.

Bentley Johnson, Partnerships Manager for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, added, "Cyanobacteria is not only a threat to those that rely on Lake Erie for their drinking water — the threat of toxic contamination from harmful algal blooms can be found statewide, including the city of Adrian. We encourage officials to use all the tools at their disposal to investigate these reports in Adrian and make sure that drinking water is safe for residents. We must also work collectively across the state in a bold manner to address the root causes of harmful algal blooms in our Great Lakes and in our inland lakes, rivers, and streams."  
The City of Adrian gets its drinking water from two sources:  Lake Adrian, a reservoir created by damming Wolf Creek, and from groundwater wells.  Wolf Creek is a tributary of the River Raisin that outfalls into Lake Erie.  Lake Adrian has experienced algal blooms over the years, including last summer.  In 2018, the City reported high amounts of microbes that cause taste and odor problems, which can be produced by cyanobacteria when they die.  Despite continued treatment by the City, taste and odor problems continue to this day at several locations scattered throughout the City, long after the end of the bloom.  Pam Taylor, a local environmental activist and member of Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan who has been testing streams in the Raisin watershed for many years and has found high levels of nutrients and bacteria with DNA from livestock manure and human waste, said, “Cyanobacteria and microcystin were found at several spots upstream from Adrian in Wolf Creek in both 2017 and 2018.  While cyanobacteria at low levels is common in the summer, more serious blooms along with increased microcystin levels are happening upstream from Lake Adrian in the Wolf Creek watershed.”  Blissfield and Deerfield, both downstream from Lake Adrian, get their drinking water from the Raisin.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Adrian were contacted about the preliminary results of these tests last Friday, December 14, 2018, and the official report was sent today.



December 5, 2018

State House Gets Revised Line 5 Bill Rearranging Tunnel Deck Chairs While Enbridge Pipelines Remain Threat That Could Sink the Great Lakes


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

State House Gets Revised Line 5 Bill Rearranging Tunnel Deck Chairs While Enbridge Pipelines Remain Threat That Could Sink the Great Lakes

Senate Endorses Move Aimed At Stopping Incoming Governor, Attorney General from Protecting Mackinac Straits from Dangerous Pipelines

LANSING, MI—Citizens groups blasted a Republican state Senate bill passed today by lame duck lawmakers that increases the likelihood of a catastrophic oil pipeline rupture in the Great Lakes while giving a private foreign corporation access to Michigan’s waters, bottomlands, and taxpayer money.
After modifying a provision that would directly saddle the Mackinac Bridge Authority with ownership of a proposed oil tunnel, lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1197. The measure creates a new state body--the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority-- to own and govern the proposed tunnel, although questions remained regarding its relationship with the Mackinac Bridge Authority and any potential liability that could impact the bridge authority.

The proposal now goes to the state House for continued fast-track approval and then on to Gov. Snyder’s desk.  Snyder has been the chief driver of the legislation, which would allow Enbridge Energy Partners Inc. to continue operating the twin Line 5 oil pipelines in the Mackinac Straits under proposed agreements the Canadian multinational corporation secured from the outgoing Michigan governor.  

“This proposed legislation sentences the Great Lakes and Michigan to 10 years or more of living with a massive high risk oil spill in the Mackinac Straits,” said
Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair.  “House members should see this proposed legislation for what it is—a dangerous giveaway to Enbridge—and reject it.”

Enbridge and Snyder have signed agreements that call for Line 5 oil tunnel to be constructed under the Straits, a project that if undertaken, could take up to 10 years or more to complete. Meanwhile, the state has agreed to allow Enbridge to keep operating its deteriorating pipelines on the Straits lakebed where they are subject to ship anchor strikes, corrosion and other threats.

“If Enbridge, a multinational corporation, wants an oil tunnel in the Mackinac Straits that primarily benefits its shareholders it should propose doing it without governmental partnerships or special treatment,” said Sean McBrearty, senior organizer for Clean Water Action  “We need elected representatives who will take care of Michigan’s citizens, its businesses and the Great Lakes, not a Canadian company that has consistently lied to the state and the public about the condition of Line 5—a company that was negligently responsible for the worst oil pipeline rupture in Michigan history.”
After more than four years of Enbridge-funded studies,  Gov. Snyder is racing the clock on an expiring term in an attempt to block his successor, Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, and Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel, from decommissioning Line 5.   

The new tunnel authority would allow Snyder to immediately appoint a small, three-member board to six-year terms and empower them  to implement agreements for a Line 5 tunnel. The proposed legislation would also:
  • Establish a recklessly rushed process with a Dec. 21 deadline -- less than 3 weeks from now -- for creating a series of agreements involving complicated construction and operation of a Mackinac Straits tunnel with little or no review by the public and tribes with treaty rights in the Straits.   
  • Require the incoming Attorney General Dana Nessel to defend the new Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority against multiple potential legal challenges, essentially obligating Michigan taxpayers to defend a tunnel that will primarily benefit Enbridge, a foreign corporation.