A Big Conun-dung

Heavy rainfall is not the only thing that kept us from city beaches this summer. A spike in the presence of E. coli caused  a record-breaking season of closed water recreation sites in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. In a state that boasts 10,000 lakes, how do we protect the beauty and health of our freshwater?

Dr. Joan Rose, winner of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize, has been tracking how stormwater, agricultural runoff, and sewage affects the quality of our Great Lakes. She will be presenting her findings on Thursday, November 14 at the St. Paul Student Center, as part of the Moos Family Speaker Series. Reception begins at 5:30pm, lecture at 7pm.

The problems at beaches this summer point to a larger problem. Our freshwater is being slowly contaminated and the culprit? Septic systems. Specifically, the slow release of E. coli and pathogens from septic tanks that are not sufficiently filtering human sewage. Since this pollution is spread over a large area it is nearly undetectable, but the accumulation in our waterways has added up over time and taken a serious toll on water quality. 

If we can hardly track the source of the pollutant, then how do we begin to fix it? This is exactly the mystery Dr. Joan Rose and her team of Water Investigators have set out to solve. Join us to hear Dr. Rose’s analysis of water quality at a microscopic scale and how we can develop leadership that will manage our watersheds at a larger scale.