Pollution From Flood Waters Could Threaten Great Lakes

Jun 22, 2015

Many Fort Wayne's parks, including Swinney Park, remain largely flooded.
Credit Jeremey Young

While recent flooding across the region has posed public safety concerns and inconveniences, it can also have a significant environmental impact.  Flooding poses more of a threat to  waterways downstream of Fort Wayne. 

Record-setting rainfall this month has caused sewage, sediments, and harmful  nutrients to enter Fort Wayne’s waterways. Dan Wire of the Tri-State Watershed Alliance says although the rivers are  particularly bloated and brown right now, we don’t have much to worry about  here. 

“One of the things about us here at the headwaters, is certainly when we get that  bacteria or even that sediment washing in, just because of nature and the way  nature works," says Wire. "After just a couple of days the biological process takes place and  then we do not have harmful levels of bacteria in the rivers.” 

But in that water is also phosphorous and nitrates, which the U.S. Geological  Survey says are currently two to five times their average presence in Fort Wayne. 

While they’ll quickly flow out of town, they’ll eventually make their way  downstream and into Lake Erie, where they could drastically increase the  development of harmful algae blooms later this year.