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A Giant Sucking Sound from Lake Michigan?

SHARE A Giant Sucking Sound from Lake Michigan?

Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior could be draining away, not with a quick drainpipe gurgle, but slowly.

Now, the US and Canada are studying what’s behind it.

Chicago Public Radio’s Shawn Allee reports people outside government want answers, too.


Scientists will spend five years looking at Lake Michigan’s receding water line.

Plenty of industries are interested in what they’ll find.

John Shabica works at his family’s North Shore beach construction company.

He wants to know if and when water levels will naturally rebound.

Shabica: When we have long-term lows like we’re having now, we lose a lot of the near-shore clay bedding which means the water’s getting deeper near shores. When the lake goes up, we have bigger waves now impacting the shore, which means we have to change the designs of our structures.

The power industry’s future is also affected by lake hydrology.

Analysts say, when lake levels stay low, ships can carry less coal.

And that raises prices for electricity.

I’m Shawn Allee.

Chicago Public Radio.

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