Our water: Keep it safe, keep it fun
It is a great weekend to be one of the roughly 948 trillion gallons of water in Lake Huron.
Many of those gallons of cool, clear water will get to play with the thousands of participants Sunday in the Port Huron Float Down. All of those gallons of almost pure water will have the undivided attention of environmental activists gathered, also Sunday, for the fourth annual International Rally to Protect the Great Lakes. And those seemingly endless but still finite gallons of blue will get an extra layer of protection as the Huron-to-Erie Corridor Drinking Water Protection Network comes back on-line.
The network was born in 2007 after a series of spills from Sarnia’s chemical and petroleum corridor, combined with delays in notification, made water treatment plant operators realize they were flying blind. Without real-time monitoring, they had no idea what they were drawing into their filters. Between the start of a spill and the time they were notified — which was sometimes never — they could have pumped thousands of gallons of contaminated water to customers.
The monitoring network provided real-time water quality data, allowing operators to shut down immediately.
The sensors and systems, though, were expensive to maintain and operate, so short-sighted municipalities disconnected them to save money. It was a dangerous choice — like a homeowner canceling his insurance policy. Thanks to a $375,000 from the state and commitments from local plant operators, the system is going back online with new sensors.
It needs to stay connected.
Environmental groups will make connections in Pine Grove Park from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Besides information about threats to the lakes and what citizens can do to help, there is live music plus the show on the water as Port Huron Float Down participants drift past.
It is OK that Float Down will have more participants than the rally.
They need to protect the future of their fun and iconic event by keeping themselves and their fellow floaters as safe as possible. Federal, state and local authorities are doing their best to keep the unauthorized, unorganized, unofficial event safe and fun. But don’t believe they won’t find a way to stop it if it turns stupid.
Wear your life jackets. Wear your life jackets. Wear your life jackets. Go with friends and make sure someone on shore knows what you are doing. Leave the kids at home; this is no place for them. Wear warm clothes and protect yourself from the sun. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Make sure you bring enough to eat and drink, and please limit your alcohol consumption. Have a plan for getting home.
And have fun out there. It is your river, and your trillions of gallons of Lake Huron.
— Times Herald (Port Huron)