Tag Archive for 'dead zones'

Dead Zone Pollution Is Growing Despite Decades of Work, So Who’s the Culprit?


Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“Washing off farms and yards, nitrate is largely responsible for the Gulf of Mexico’s infamous “dead zone.” Nitrate and other nutrients from the vast Mississippi River basin funnel into the Gulf, sucking oxygen out of the water and killing almost everything in their path.

The pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Sewage treatment plants along the rivers already have spent billions of dollars, and some farmers now use computers to apply fertilizer with pinpoint precision.

But after three decades of extensive efforts to clean it up, nitrate along the rivers is getting worse. In Hermann, the levels have increased 75 percent since 1980, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published last year.”

Read more: AlterNet


EPA Sued Over Pollution Petition

Photo retrieved from: www.treehugger.com

“Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency alleging the agency failed to approve a petition to lower pollution into the Mississippi River Basin and the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The groups claim that excessive nitrogen and phosphorous pollution into these waters have resulted in the largest North American “dead zone.”

Gulf Restoration Network, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Iowa Environmental Council, Tennessee Clean Water Network, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance Inc., Prairie Rivers Network, Kentucky Waterways Alliance Environmental Law & Policy Center, and the Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. filed the lawsuit on March 13 in federal court in New Orleans.

The lawsuit concerns the EPA’s July 29, 2011, denial of a 2008 petition submitted pursuant to the Clean Water Act. The petition asked for revised or new state water quality standards and total maximum loads to address excessive nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in the waters of the Mississippi River Basin and the northern Gulf of Mexico.

According to the lawsuit, the excessive nutrient pollution in the waters causes or contributes to a massive low-oxygen “dead zone” in the Gulf and extensive water quality degradation.”

Read more: Legal Newsline

America’s Top 10 Most Polluted Waterways

Retrieved from: www.motherjones.com

“An eye-opening new report (PDF) from Environment America Research and Policy Center finds that industry dishcarged 226 million pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers and streams in 2010. The pollution included dead-zone producing nitrates from food processors, mercury and other heavy metals from steel plants, and toxic chemicals from various kinds of refineries. Within the overall waste, the researchers identified 1.5 million pounds of carcinogens, 626,000 pounds of chemicals linked to developmental disorders and 354,000 pounds of those associated with reproductive problems.

In the report are a few goodies (or baddies, really) that are worth ogling. First up, there’s this map of the most heavily polluted waterways in the US, broken down by state:

Retrieved from: www.motherjones.com

It’s important to note that the vast majority—if not all—of these releases are perfectly legal. I reached out to all of the companies on the list above and received a response from several. They all basically told me the same thing: “All discharges meet permit requirements,” said Cargill. “This is a natural process that is fully licensed, and included as part of our wastewater discharge reporting,” echoed McCain Foods.”

Read more: Mother Jones

NOAA predicts biggest dead zone yet for areas of Gulf

Photo retrieved from: www.sunherald.com

“NOAA is predicting a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas this summer larger than any on record, based on the amount of pollution coming down the Mississippi River this spring.

The dead zone has been in existence since the 1970s. It is caused when farm fertilizer and animal waste, washed into the river and flow downstream into the Gulf.

The nutrients feed algae that overgrow, and use up oxygen in the water at the bottom of the Gulf. Starved for oxygen, marine animals either move or die.

It’s an area that has been growing over the years. And federal agencies have made little progress in curbing the amount of nitrogen or phosphorus entering the river.

This year, with twice as much nutrient-filled water coming down the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, NOAA is predicting a dead zone the size of New Hampshire or New Jersey — 8,500 to 9,400 square miles along Louisiana and Texas.

A zone of our own

But this year, with the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway, the water of the Gulf south of Mississippi is expected to have a dead zone of its own.”

Read more: Sun Herald




Louisiana Fish Deaths Raise Oil Spill Questions

Photo retrieved from: www.bbc.co.uk The dead fish found at Bayou Chaland in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, include pogies, redfish, drum, crabs, shrimp and freshwater eel, officials say.

“The Plaquemines Parish Inland Waterways Strike Force claims oil was spotted in pictures of the dead fish.

The group is now attempting to find if the BP oil spill was connected to the incident, known as a “fish kill”.

The cause of the fish kill has not been determined, but such events typically happen due to depleted oxygen levels.

The types of fish affected at Bayou Chaland, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, include pogies, redfish, drum, crabs, shrimp and freshwater eel, Plaquemines Parish officials said.

A dead baby whale was also found close to the site earlier this week.

The Plaquemines Parish Inland Waterways Strike Force is an emergency response team that works under the direction of Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

Mr Nungesser has asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency for “extensive testing” to be done on the dead fish.”

Read more: BBC News