Bad River Tribe Must Stop Lake Pollution By Next January, Says EPA

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The Environmental Protection Agency has given the Bad River Band a deadline to stop pollution at its wastewater treatment plant on Lake Superior.

In a letter to Bad River Chairman Mike Wiggins yesterday, the EPA issued a Jan. 31, 2014 deadline for the tribe to align with the Clean Water Act at the Ashland County reservation.

The EPA says the tribe is exceeding limits for phosphorus, E. coli, suspended solids, and biochemical oxygen demand.

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About six months ago, Bad River reported to the EPA that they were out of compliance, but were spending $1.6 million to fix problems at their waste treatment plant. At that time, a few Republican legislators accused Bad River of being environmental hypocrites – fighting a proposed iron ore mine while they were polluting Lake Superior.

Wiggins said the pollution from their wastewater treatment plant would pale in comparison to water pollution from a proposed mine, and that the attacks were political.

At that time, the EPA also said there would be no fines and that they were working to fix the problems.

If Bad River doesn’t meet the January 31 deadline, they could face formal action from the EPA.

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