Climate Change and Water QualityBioeconomy and Global Climate Change, Climate Change Vulnerabilities and Opportunities: Michigan and Beyond Symposium (2010)
AbstractThe climate of the Midwest has become measurably altered over the last half century. The average air temperatures have significantly increased. Heavy rains and increased yearly precipitation have lead to elevated risks and occurrences of flooding over the last century. Recent research undertaken in the Great Lakes Basin has identified pathogens such as viruses (Adenoviruses, Enteroviruses and Noroviruses), bacteria (Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Clostridium) and protozoa (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) which are able to persist and cause water related public health problems. Under the current precipitation and temperature assumptions of climate change in the Great Lakes, the likelihood of increased gastrointestinal illnesses associated with waterborne diseases is expected to increase. Aging infrastructure and combined sewer overflow (CSO) systems will face increased pressure and leading to greater stress to the Great Lakes. For instance, Michigan has 158 CSO outfalls which discharged 2.6x1010 gallons of untreated or partially treated sewage to surface waters in 2007. Another example of failing infrastructure that poses a direct public health risk is drinking water systems. During record precipitation levels, a Cryptosporidium outbreak occurred throughout Milwaukee in which 54 people died due to a failure in the drinking water treatment system. As the science progresses so does the ability to quickly detect emerging pathogens. According to surveillance data from the last decade, drinking water outbreak detection agents are moving towards the use of Norovirus and Cryptosporidium. Although the means for detecting pathogens is advancing, there is a greater need to reduce the sources of diseases (i.e. repair/replace aging infrastructure) which has been estimated at $12 billion for Michigan alone.
Publication DateApril, 2010
Citation InformationAsli Aslan. "Climate Change and Water Quality" Bioeconomy and Global Climate Change, Climate Change Vulnerabilities and Opportunities: Michigan and Beyond Symposium (2010)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/asli_aslan/103/