More than $200 million in costs avoided as Great Lakes Water Authority disinfects Rouge River

October isn't quite beach weather, but make no mistake that when the time comes to enjoy the rivers and lakes outlining the state, that water will be clean enough to jump into. Every year, 60 days of heavy rainfall washes into water bodies without being disinfected. However, the Great Lakes Water Authority took advantage of equipment and put it to use during those heavy rainfall periods, and have since disinfected every drop of water that's entered the Rouge River - saving the region hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 1969 the Rouge River burned. 50 years and more than a billion dollars later, life has returned to the water

In 1969, a worker on the Rouge River dropped his torch into the water. The flame ignited oil from an accidental spill from the nearby Shell refinery by the I-75 overpass. It lit the river on fire - and hardly anyone cared. Now, 50 years later, with the aid of thousands of volunteers, the cooperation of hundreds of groups and more than a billion dollars, the restoration of the river and its watershed has become a paradigm for how others should clean their polluted rivers.