Little Traverse Bay is the focal point of our regional economy and quality of life. During recent years, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has developed a watershed management plan to protect and improve water quality of the Bay and its tributaries.
Even as the plan was being finalized, an unknown, yet extremely serious water pollution problem was occurring. In what has turned out to be the greatest source of contamination to the Bay in recent history, CMS Energy, Inc. shut down a system that collected contaminated seepage from cement kiln dust (CKD) in Bay Harbor, essentially allowing the polluted water to flow freely into Little Traverse Bay.
Although CMS blames the system shutdown on technical difficulties, a conscious decision was made by somebody to halt operations instead of correcting the problem.
Leachate (contaminated seepage) from the kiln dust pile underneath the Bay Harbor Golf Course, with mercury levels 230 times greater than allowable limits and with a pH value showing the water to be more alkaline than household bleach, was allowed to flow into the Bay for eight months until the problem was uncovered by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.