It's been the snowiest January on record in some parts of Michigan even with a few days left in the month.

Once the snow melts, it has to go somewhere and it might not be pretty. Dr. Alan Steinman of the Grand Valley Annis Water Resourses Institute tells WOOD Radio our clean, white snow won't look so nice once it makes its way to Lake Michigan.

"Most of this snow will end up melting in the spring when we have a rain event on top of the snow. It will accumulate and wash off a lot of the dirt and contaminants into the waterways."

Steinman says Lake Michigan is large enough to handle the short-term dirt and debris the snow-melt will wash its way. Bigger problems are the bacterial contaminants, the loss of land and habitats that has to be controlled.

As far as lake and river levels, it is too soon to say if our increased snow pack will raise the water levels. If the water levels do increase, Steinman says it would be far short of the big lake's 10 year average.