Going Green: Save Maumee Grassroots Organization

Published 04/15 2014 12:41PM

Updated 04/15 2014 12:54PM

A local organization here in Fort Wayne has been making huge strides in cleaning up the Maumee River since 2005. 

WFFT's Tara Petitt reached out to the Save Maumee Grassroots Organization and has more on how these volunteers are helping to save our community's water supply.

"When people ask about water issues, it's not just one thing or another, it's a combination of problems."

Abby King is the Vice President and Founder of the "Save Maumee Grassroots Organization".  Their function is to preserve, protect, and improve the ecosystems of the Maumee River and watershed by increasing public awareness.

"Since 2005, we have removed 26,000 pounds of trash, planted 900 pounds of seed, hundreds of plant plugs, and over 2,000 trees, many of which are fruit and  berry bearing."

All of this has been done under 100% volunteer hours and donations.

The Maumee River Basin is the largest contributing watershed to the Great Lakes.  11 million people depend on the Maumee River for clean water.

"When they built the infrastructure, it was about 1912.  They had about 40 miles of underground tunnel."

Since then, the city has added several miles to the original infrastructures.

"So now when it rains just a tenth of an inch, the storm sewer fills all the way up pretty quickly, and then discharges quickly into the CSO."

The CSO is the combined sewer overflows.  The pressure between the sanitary and storm sewer builds up quickly, resulting in sewage overflow at 42 discharge points in Fort Wayne.  This is not the only thing contaminating the Maumee River.

"Then you also have NPDES permits, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits."

These are legal large scale pollution operations.  Major permits allow over a million gallons of waste discharge each day.

"It's a legal permit to pollute."

Grand Lake's Saint Mary's River has also dealt with serious water contamination and because there's not just one source responsible, who is to blame?

"It's been on the backs on all of the people who live there.  Not people who created the issue.  The taxpayers and the people who live there are the ones who pay for it."

The Save Maumee Grassroots Organization exists so that the blame doesn't fall on Fort Wayne.


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