State leaders say the Great Lakes region needs to drastically improve public water systems.
The Great Lakes Commission this week called for upgrading wastewater treatment plants, storm water pipes and drinking water filtration systems. The commission, which represents the region's eight states, says a conservative cost estimate is $271 billion.
Chairman John Linc Stine says recent drinking water crises in Flint, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, illustrate the hazards of aging and underfunded water infrastructure.
Billions of gallons of sewage and untreated storm water are released into the Great Lakes each year because outdated systems can't handle it.
The commission endorsed a plan for tackling the problem during its annual meeting in Duluth, Minnesota.
It also recommended a closer look at emerging pollutants such as chemicals, drugs and tiny plastic particles.
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