Tag Archive for 'water pollution'

To the Last Drop

Photo retrieved from: www.globalpost.com

“Once again the issue is water, but this time it is not just the flow of the river, but the chemicals the current may be carrying downstream from the strip mines and bitumen upgraders.

In recent years, according to the Alberta Cancer Board, Fort Chipewyan has experienced an unusually high rate of cancer. Local fishermen are finding growing numbers of deformed fish in their nets. Residents and John O’Connor, the community doctor, worry there could be a connection to the oil sands.

As they did in the 1970s, the people of Fort Chipewyan have appealed to science for help. Then it was William Fuller, a biologist from the University of Alberta, who collected the data that proved the Delta was dying. Today, it is David Schindler, the winner of the Stockholm Water Prize, and a team of international scientists conducting painstaking research to find out what is in the Athabasca River – and where it is coming from.

Alan Adam, the chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, has worked closely with Schindler. He knows that vast areas of the Delta are once again becoming impassable because of falling water levels. This means the hunting, trapping and fishing rights guaranteed to his people in Treaty 8 are worthless.

He has appealed to elders like Pat Marcel and Francois Paulette from neighbouring Fort Fitzgerald to record the changes they are seeing in the water and the wildlife. In a unique exchange, science and traditional knowledge are coming together to challenge the oil sands.”

Read more: Aljazeera


Kaoline Plant to Blame for River Pollution

Photo retrieved from: www.tobeaticwilderness.ca

“GUANGZHOU – A kaoline plant is to blame for water pollution that caused death of huge amount of fish in South China’s Guangdong province, local environment authorities confirmed Monday.

Huazhou-based Deying Kaoline Plant has been illegally discharging untreated acid waste water to the Longwo River close to the village of Longtan, the Guangdong Provincial Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement after an investigation.

Local residents complained on Sunday via Internet postings that huge amount of fish died as a result of water pollution.

The postings also said thousands of residents along the river were affected by the pollution, and some began to store up bottled water.

The provincial environmental protection department has since ordered the local government to halt the discharging of waste water from the plant and use lime to neutralize the contaminated water.

By Monday evening, water quality in the Longwo River has been improved and the Hedi Reservoir, a drinking water resource in the lower reaches of the river, is in normal condition, said the statement.

The Guangdong provincial environmental monitoring center also enhanced surveillance on water quality in the area, it said.”

Read more: China Daily


Oregon adopts strictest standards in United States for toxic water pollution

Photo retrieved from: www.oregonlive.com

“Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission today adopted the strictest standards for toxic water pollution in the United States.

The new rules, adopted on a 4-1 vote, are designed to protect tribal members and others who eat large amounts of contaminated fish.

Oregon’s current water quality standards are built on an assumption that people eat 17.5 grams of fish a day, about a cracker’s worth and typical of most states. The proposed standard boosts that to 175 grams a day, just shy of an 8-ounce meal.

The change, proposed in January, dramatically tightens Oregon’s human health criteria for a host of pollutants, including mercury, flame retardants, PCBs, dioxins, plasticizers and pesticides.

That could boost cost for industry such as paper mills and for municipal sewage treatment plants, increasing sewer rates.”

Read more: Oregon Live

Water Utilities Failed to Alert Public to Presence of Likely Carcinogen, Group Says

Occurrence Survey of Boron and Hexavalent Chromium; Photo retrieved from: waterrf.org

“U.S. water utilities have known about the prevalence of a likely carcinogen in water sources for seven years and have failed to share that information with the public, according to an advocacy group, which released today a 2004 industry study of hexavalent chromium.

“The American Water Works Association (AWWA) Research Foundation study focused on hexavalent chromium in groundwater sources nationwide. The AWWA report was obtained and released by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group today.

“The 124-page report features data from tests on 341 water samples from 189 water utilities in 41 states. About two-thirds of those samples came from groundwater sources, while another third came from surface sources. The report found hexavalent chromium nationwide, particularly in groundwater. The highest levels were found in California.

“”Several groundwater results show total chromium concentrations composed exclusively by hexavalent chromium,” the report says. “This speciation trend has not been previously reported.”"

Read more: New York Times

Big Coal’s Watergate? Nation Watches as Clean Water Act Scandal Rocks Kentucky Court Today

“Extraordinary investigative work turned up over 20,000 incidences of Clean Water Act violations by three coal companies. Now will they finally be held accountable?

“Clean water advocates and concerned citizens across the nation will be monitoring a blockbuster Kentucky court case today, which will ultimately determine whether citizens can intervene in a state’s gross mishandling of indisputable acts of contempt and egregious Clean Water Act violations by two coal companies.

“According to many observers, the sheer number of fraudulent acts and mind-boggling oversights could turn this case into Big Coal’s Watergate–or Clean Watergate.

“Thanks to the extraordinary investigative work of clean water advocates, Kentucky subsidiaries of International Coal Group and Frasure Creek Mining were singled out in an intent to sue notice last October of “over 20,000 incidences of these three companies either exceeding permit pollution limits, failing to submit reports, or falsifying the required monitoring data. These violations could result in fines that may exceed 740 million dollars.””

Read more: AlterNet

Chesapeake Bay Case Settled With Nation’s Largest Water Cleanup Plan

“Restoration of the Chesapeake Bay entered a new phase today as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, its co-plaintiffs, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settled their lawsuit with a binding agreement that will require pollution to be reduced across the nation’s largest estuary.

“The settlement requires EPA to take specific actions by dates certain to ensure that pollution to local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay is reduced enough to remove the bay from the federal “dirty waters” list, said Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker.

“When we filed our notice of intent in October 2008, EPA had been missing in action for years. The Bush administration had 60 days to respond, but consistent with its previous eight years it did nothing,” said Baker.

“We filed suit on January 5, 2009, and began negotiations with the new administration. While it has taken longer than we would have liked, we are very pleased with the results and commend Lisa Jackson and her senior staff for their willingness to work through the bureaucracy to obtain this game-changing agreement,” he said.”

read more: AlterNet

Water pollution expert derides UN sanitation claims

Safe drinking water

“In its latest report on the progress of the UN Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people lacking access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, the World Health Organisation said that since 1990 1.3 billion people had gained access to improved drinking water and 500 million better sanitation. The world was on course to “meet or exceed” the water target, it said, but was likely to miss the sanitation goal by nearly 1 billion people.

“However, Prof Asit Biswas, who has advised national governments, six UN agencies and Nato, said official figures showing that many cities and countries had met their targets were “baloney”, and predicted that by the UN deadline of 2015 more people in the world would suffer from these problems than when the goals were first adopted.

“If somebody has a well in a town or village in the developing world and we put concrete around the well – nothing else – it becomes an ‘improved source of water’; the quality is the same but you have ‘improved’ the physical structure, which has no impact,” said Biswas. “They are not only underestimating the problem, they are giving the impression the problem is being solved. What I’m trying to say is that’s a bunch of baloney.”

“Barbara Frost, chief executive of the UK-based global charity WaterAid, said: “Here is a global catastrophe which kills more children than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined and which is holding back all development efforts including health and education.”

read more: The Guardian

Lynn Henning wins environmental award for CAFO monitoring [dairy manure spill into Lake Hudson]

“Lynn Henning of Clayton is among six environmental activists from around the world receiving prizes today from the Goldman Environmental Foundation at a ceremony in San Francisco.

“Henning has had a running confrontation with a number of large dairy, or CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation), operators since a dairy manure spill into Lake Hudson caught her attention in 2002.

“Her goal, she said, is seeing stricter regulations enacted for concentrated animal feeding operations. The CAFO operations that have developed in recent years are very different from family farms that government agencies have been used to dealing with, she said.”

read more: lenconnect

The Nation’s Big Water Repair Bill

toxic water

“While the E.P.A. and state environmental agencies are failing to fully enforce our federal and state clean water laws, it’s also a funding problem. Since 1978, the U.S. share of water infrastructure spending has plunged from about 75 percent to less than 5 percent, leaving cash-strapped state and local governments to shoulder an expense most cannot afford.

“As a result, our water delivery and sewage treatment systems are deteriorating, threatening public health and forcing many Americans to rely increasingly on expensive bottled water, which from an environmental and economic point of view is a disastrous trend.”

read more: New York Times

EPA study of the Portage River Basin indicates several major non-attainments

Mouth of the Portage River in Port Clinton

“According to the Clean Water Act, all rivers and streams should be suitable for recreation and/or aquatic life. It is the job of the EPA to evaluate whether they meet these standards. Between 2006 and 2008, the Ohio EPA tested 80 sites in the Portage River Basin, with nearly half failing to meet Clean Water Act standards. Overall, 27% were in partial attainment, and 19% were in non-attainment.

“Many of the issues of the assessment indicate sewage treatment failures. Water around Fosteria and Port Clinton had high ammonia levels, an indication of failures at their waste water treatment facility. Failing home sewage treatment systems and unsewered areas also contributed to nutrient and organic overload. ”

read more: Examiner