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October 17, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-17

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, October 17, 1984

The Michigan Daily

_9

The unlawful use of the Huron River

By Daniel Bicknell
The Huron River with it's lakes, im-
poundments, and tributaries is used ex-
tensively by the public for swimming,
canoeing, wind surfing, and fishing.
The ability to use rivers for public pur-
poses dates back as far as the doctrine
of public trust which traced the asser-
tion of public right in water courses and
shores from Roman Law through the
Magna Carta. As England and English
commerce grew, statutes and case.
judgements continued to expand the
public's rights and control over the
nation's water resources. This
developed into a public trust theory of
tidal and navigable waters. This theory
stated that the public has certain im-
portant rights to water resources, those
rights superceding any conflicting
private rights-including those of the
protector of public and common rights,
the King.
Continuing this expansion of public
rights, the Michigan Legislature passed
the Michigan Water Quality Standards
of 1973. These standards passed with
the doctrine of public trust in mind and
established requirements of water
quality for the Great Lakes region and
its surface waters, "which shall
protect the public health and welfare
and maintain the quality of water for
recreational purposes, and water sup-
plies." The Huron River at Geddes
pond and Ford and Belleville lakes
were designated in this legislation to be
protected for "total body contact"
recreational usage. The term total
body contact means that the river
should be swimmable and the bacterial
indicators, a measure for dangerous
disease conditions, should be less than

200 organisms per 100 ml sample of
water. No harm to the public should
result from enjoying the waters
because of disease organisms. To this
date none of these bodies of water
meets this criteria and all, Geddes
pond, Ford Lake, and Belleville Lake
are not being considered as safe, wholly
swimmable bodies of water.
GEDDES POND on the Huron River
is used for wind surfing, canoeing,
fishing, and swimming by many of the
local citizens. The high number of bac-
teria, viruses, and other disease
causing agents in the river has presen-
ted a health problem, created by a
number of systems that discharge
wastes and community collected runoff
into the river system. This mass of
pollution has rendered Geddes Pond un-
fit for swimming without a substantial
health risk. According to recent studies
the level of fecal coliforms-an in-
dicator measure of disease present
species-has a wide range from 60 to
over 10,000 fecal coliforms per 100 ml
depending on varying conditions. The
set standard level of fecal coliform
organisms at which a health risk is
present is 200 organisms per 100 ml.
This standard consequently indicates
that Geddes Pond, often with levels
above 2000 organisms per 100 ml,
represents a definite public health
problem. There is much debate over
this problem since both Ford and
Belleville Lakes have similar levels.
Barry Johnson, Director of Environ-
mental Health for the Washtenaw
County Public Health Department
says:
"a hazard can be there-in
the Huron River with significant
urban run-off which has all kinds
of organisms that can produce

disease. After watching the wind
surfers I would have to
categorize it definitely as a full
- body contact water sport. The
water quality does vary in Ged-
des Pond as well as Ford and
Belleville Lakes and one doesn't
know from time to time if you are
in the safe ball park range of
fecal coliform disease organism
counts. We have no information
on actual ill cases and unfor-
tunately no system of reporting
those types of diseases so it can
be brought to our attention."
James Murray, the Washtenaw County
Drain Commissioner, responsible for
the county's water quality, states "No,
there is not a bacterial problem in Ford
Lake, the State is responsible for
gathering that type of information."
The Drain Commissioner's office ac-
cording to the Drain Code of 1956, "may
make and cause to make surveys,
studies, and investigations for the pur-
pose of investigating subjects to abate
pollution or decrease the danger of
flooding for the review and approval of
the Water Resources Commission,"
which is the body of government
responsible for carrying out the state
water laws. The drain commissioner is
"to study our waters for the protection
of public health and general habitat."
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, Water Planning Division
published its findings in December,
1983 and cited Geddes Pond for
"violation of fecal coliform densities
and other water quality state standar-
ds." The report continues "in the Ann
Arbor-Ypsilanti reach the most
significant cause of poor quality in the
Huron was point sources and urban
stormwater run-off." This recently

4

4

A9

Daily Photo by DAVID FRANKEL
The pristine beauty of the Huron River masks a potentially serious public health problem.

distributed report matches other repor-
ts on Washtenaw County's water,
showing human wastes fouling the
Huron River today.
None of the public officials were
aware, however, that Geddes Pond and
Ford and Belleville Lakes were protec-
ted for total body contact recreation by
the Michigan state water laws. Mr.
Messerli, with the Ann Arbor Parks and
Recreation department, said "why
should the state allow swimming if it is

not acceptable because of the poor water
quality. We in the department do not
plan on having any swimming in the
park at Geddes pond." The present
plans for Ford and Belleville Lakes
consider only certain spots along the
two lake fronts for swimming and do
not consider wind surfing, waterskiing,
or general swimming as part of their
improvement proposals for the lake
impoundments in the future.
The lawful use of the Huron River

mandates that protection be given- to
the public in its rightful use of the
waters. Corrective measures must
be taken to protect the river so that
everyone can enjoy what God has given-
us.
Bicknell is a candidate for
Washtenaw County Drain Com-
missioner and a graduate student in
Public Health.

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 36

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Sinclair
AMERICAN4
ouRrLusX!

-1 i E F E N T AQAC A K C V R C A
~TrfE MILITA

iON Will.. CA E
IN OPERATrOqsM

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

I

A step toward peace

A LAWYER IN La Palma, El Salvador
Monday aptly summed up the
progress toward peace made in that
region: "Now, we have gotten past the
stupid pride stage where one side
wouldn't talk to the other because it
was a sign of weakness. Maybe this
can serve as an example for other Cen-
tral American countries, like
Guatemala or Nicaragua." The hopes
of this single man are undoubtedly
shared by the people of El Salvador
and by all' peace-loving nations. And
there is a good chance that the
people's wish for peace can now
become a reality.
Earlier this week, Salvadoran
government officials took a big first
step when they met with guerrilla
leaders in La Palma. They came out of
the meeting agreeing to form a joint
commission seeking an end to their
country's five-year war. More than
50,000 civilian lives have been taken
and warfare has become almost a way
of life to the people. But never a
welcome lifestyle. While University
students and Detroit Tigers fans may
find other reasons to celebrate, the

citizens of El Salvador had a nightlong
party just considering the prospect of
an end to the deaths of their friends
and loved ones.
The agreement reached between the
government leaders and the guerrillas
is, however, far from ideal. There was
no cease-fire proposed by the two op-
posing sides. But the new commission
will have four government and four
rebel officials who will study ideas
presented by both sides on how to put
an end to the current armed conflict. It
is, indeed, an important move toward
peace.
"We believe it is the first step of a
positive dialogue in a difficult
situation," said one guerilla political
leader. While President Jose Napoleon
Duarte commented: "I'm ready to
listen. Let's start. I want to break the
ice, start listening, talking, and looking
for solutions." With attitudes such as
these on both sides, it is a wonder that
negotiations could not have gotten un-
derway any sooner. Both sides have
shown the commitment to negotiate.
The test will be if they can translate
this into a peaceful solution.

The Detroit Tigers won the
World Series and to me it was not
a good thing. I wonder if it was
that good a thing to all the Tiger
fans who "celebrated" in Detroit
and Ann Arbor on Sunday night. I
am sure they thought it was a
good thing and I am sure it
brought them joy. But
somewhere in the in-
tangible and surreal area bet-
weenthe Detroit Tigers and the
Detroit Tigers fan, this joy was
transformed, indeed maligned.
It is precisely that distance from
the event that caused their hap-
piness to vent itself in the cloak of
destruction. No longer are
aggression and violence the out-
come of anger. It is rather
distressing to realize that they
can be the product of happiness
as well.
I question the value of the
Tigers "victory" because the
events following the competition
take the situation out of the realm
of sports and necessarily place it
in a social context. I question the
victory because it makes me
refer to it as a victory. Exactly
who did we beat? The nine
Padres, or the whole team in-
cluding those players who sat in
the dugout? Did the Padres,
owner win? Did we beat the city
of San Diego? Did we beat the

The all too. violent
results of baseball
frustration
By Gary Meister

Recognizing autumn

T AKE A LOOK out the window some
time this week. The autumn glow is
not to be missed. Someone has painted
the trees in orange-yellow hues and
they stand, elegant and precious,
demanding to be observed. Oc-
casionally a gust of wind will reach up
into the branches, scattering the colors
about the ground for curious, ruddy-

cites the nostrils.
Get out a warm sweater. The kind
days of summer have been nipped by
Jack Frost changing into an in-
vigorating chill that calls for some
defense.
Autumn is not just for a minute's
contemplation. The golden richness of
t hav. fnr mnre than hastv

of saying we were a part of this
too, c'mon look at us, please look
at us. This violence could not
have occured after a regular
game, or even after a pennant
victory. It is when the big game
is over, the biggest game, that
the fan realizes he or she is no
part of it, that it would have hap-
pened without him or her, that
they have no clear idea of who or
what the Tigers are, that the
violencehas to occur.
It is this unconscious
realization, and the desire for at-
tention and power that makes a
Tiger fan burn a police car. This
violence is indicative of the
viw Mu ,nT TWTqr

futility in identification with in-
tangible, undefined ideals such as
the Detroit Tigers, the American
Flag, the Republican Party, or
Jesus Christ. Government en-
courages the forsaking of the self
to a larger entity. There are- a
million things you can take or use
to fill up the emptiness that
comes with the self, that comes
with solitude. The realization of
choice is so overwhelming that it
becomes necessary to give your-
self over to the crowd's whims
and desires.
The Detroit Free Press
described the championship as
an opportunity for Detroit to

forget about crime and soup kit-
chens for a while. That is absurd
for today we will use baseball
tomorrow the television, the next
day alcohol etc. If the champion-.
ship were truly a good thing' it
seems to me that it would fill the
heart with love, with positivism
and would move some people to a
deeper awareness of and concern
for these problems.
An old African sage once said
that people want two things: to
feel that they are better than
someone else and to drink beer..
Baseball affords one both these
opportunities. Personally, I do
not understand it. I don't know
the players on the Tigers team
and I don't know why they call
themselves Tigers. I imagine the
Padres got their name from John
Birch. I don't even want to think
about where basketbal's
Washington Bullets got their
name or the implications of that
ridiculousness.
I hope people will consider
their violence and destruc-
tiveness and I hope I can
someday enjoy sports that-are
fun and devoid of male violence
and frustration.
Meister is a senior in LSA.
by Re.1re Rreathed

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