- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Federal regulators say nearly $80 billion is needed over the next 20 years to reduce sewage overflows and protect drinking water in the Great Lakes region.

An organization that lobbies for increased Great Lakes funding says that number comes from a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the nation’s water infrastructure.

Pollution from sewer overflows and stormwater runoff is one cause of beach closures and destruction of fish and wildlife habitat.

The federal government provides low-interest loans to help communities upgrade sewer and water systems. About $500 million is available to the eight Great Lakes states this year.

But the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition says that’s not enough. It says at current funding levels, it would take 160 years to meet the needs of communities in the region.

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