Become a "Member" of the Responsible Flushing Society
For annual dues of only $5, you can be part of the solution. As a new "member" of the Responsible Flushing Society, you will be helping to protect our waterways.
"Members" of the Responsible Flushing Society pledge to be conscientious in all flushing endeavors. We understand that sometimes the items we flush into Combined Sewer Systems can make their way into our streams, lakes, rivers and oceans. As such, we pledge to never flush:
I will always flush responsibly and protect our local waters!
It's important to stop flushing things other than #1, #2, and toilet paper.
The Great Lakes region faces pollution challenges from combined sewer overflows.
Combined Sewer Overflows: when our sewer system is overwhelmed by weather and our water use, the overflow ends up in our waterways.
Like the tens of millions of goldfish found in the Great Lakes or the "flushable" wipes that clog our sewer systems, these issues are causing damage to our Great Lakes.
And though it is hard to believe, yes, many older Great Lakes cities have sewer systems that discharge directly into local waterways when an overflow event happens. Intentionally designed this way more than a century ago, these "combined" systems collect rainwater and snowmelt, as well a sanitary waste from things like toilets, showers and dishwashers. On most days, all of the wastewater makes its way to the treatment plants, but on days of heavy rain or snowmelt, the pipes that carry the wastewater are overwhelmed, and to safeguard homes, businesses and the treatment plant, the sewer overflow will be released into local waterways with little to no treatment. These systems are slowly being improved, but it will take several decades and tens of billions of dollars to fix.
The Great Lakes contain over 20% of the world's fresh water, and nearly 85% of the North America's fresh water. The issues facing the Great Lakes are interconnected through a complex relationship of chemistry, biology and physical processes. Our lakes are worth protecting, and if the picture of this little fish can help raise awareness and attention, then maybe the next fish story provides a happier ending for our lakes and rivers.