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Energy & Environment

Science on Tap Discusses Great Lakes Ecosystems, Water Quality

U.S Geological Survey via

Science on Tap this week is looking at water quality in the Great Lakes.

Director of UW Madison’s Aquatic Sciences Center Jim Hurley says the nature of Great Lakes pollution has changed over the years, now coming from more diffuse sources instead of point ones. 

“We might have mercury, that used to be discharged directly from industrial sources, where dilution was the solution. And now we’ve pretty much eliminated most of those, but we find that mercury enters the lake based on rainfall, and from the atmosphere.”

Hurley says among the new challenges that the Great Lakes face is an onslaught of invasive species, introduced thanks to advances in shipping.

“We’ve made the lakes more economically viable for transportation – from going to our parts out to other parts of the world. But what that does is bring in a completely different set of problems, that comes in ballast water of some of these large tankers. And that’s why we’re seeing more invasive species.”

Science on Tap is Wednesday April 1st at 6:30 pm in Minocqua.  

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