How's the Water? A GLT Investigative Series

Credit Joe Jungmann/ Creative Commons

The GLT newsroom decided to explore the future of water in McLean County in August of last year, long before news broke about lead contamination in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water. It was a prescient decision. Not only did the Flint example focus national attention on the safety of public water supplies, but the on-going drought in California also called attention to the need for communities to plan for adequate amounts of drinking water.

This five-part investigative news series centers on  the state of water in McLean County and what threats lie ahead.  You’ll learn how Lakes Bloomington and Evergreen shape up as primary water resources, and you’ll hear about possible solutions to saving water and improving its quality. 

Even before news broke of the devastating lead contamination of the water in Flint, Michigan, our WGLT newsroom was in the process of exploring the future of water in McLean County. It was a prescient decision. Not only did the Flint example focus national attention on the safety of public water supplies, but the on-going drought in California also called attention to the need for communities to plan for adequate amounts of drinking water.

Judith Valente / WGLT

Dangerous lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water and the prolonged drought in California have caused many communities to examine more closely the safety and the future of their water supplies. Currently Bloomington and Normal have adequate water resources, but experts say another severe drought could result in a shortage.

Judith Valente / WGLT

Lake Bloomington is the main source of drinking water for the city of Bloomington. The lake is also a popular recreation destination. In recent years, it’s increasingly become a site for large, and in some cases, year-round homes.

The homes along the lake all use septic systems to dispose of human waste. They discharge treated effluent to within just a few feet of the lake. In Part Two of the investigative series, “How’s The Water?” a growing number of experts question the wisdom of having these septic systems so close to the city’s drinking water supply. WGLT’s Judy Valente has the story.

Judith Valente / WGLT

Just a few days ago, a section of the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota had to be shut down after a leak that spilled close to 17,000 gallons of crude oil. Here in McLean County, petroleum is now flowing through a pipeline operated by the Canadian company, Enbridge Inc.  

Environmentalists objected to the pipeline because it crosses under three bodies of water that help provide drinking water for the city of Bloomington.

How's The Water? Part 4

Apr 17, 2016
Judy Valente / WGLT

The first three parts of the GLT News series "How's The Water?" have focused on the condition of water before it comes to your home. In part four, you'll hear about the back end of the water filtration process--what happens when we flush our toilets, wash our dishes and run our showers or washing machines. WGLT's Judy Valente has the story.

How's The Water? Part 5

Apr 17, 2016
Judith Valente / WGLT

Water improvement Solutions:

Wetlands

One of the ways to reduce the amount of nitrates and phosphates getting into the drinking water supply from farm fertilizer is to construct what are called wetlands at the edges of farms.