Sources of Water Pollution

According to the EPA, Americans average use of fresh water is 151.9 gallons per day while average European use is 66 gallons per day. We use most of that water on our cars and lawns and other outdoor activities. We are by far the biggest water wasters on the planet. While we insist on the water conveniences, behind the scenes, the availability of clean, safe drinking water is in jeopardy and it is not something that will happen in 2050; it is happening now.

Storm water runoff, farm and agricultural runoff along with antiquated infrastructures combine to progressively degrade water quality. Cities like Las Vegas, built in the desert with no natural water supply, must receive water from Lake Mead which is supplied by the Colorado River. As a result of the water abuses in Las Vegas, Lake Mead, as of 2007, is 100 feet below normal and shrinking.

The Colorado River has its own issues with wars over water rights between …states. Indigenous people all along the river down to California, Mexico are vying for rights and are severely affected by the accumulated pollution in the river as it flows south.

The Navaho Nation has sued or water rights to the Colorado-

Acid rain produced by the smoke produced from fires, coal-fired plants add to the degradation of available surface water and also get into the ground water. The acidity raised because of sulphuric compounds dissolved in the water severely harms and kills sea life, damaging the livelihoods of those who rely on the sea. The increase of dust storms around the globe due to climate change and drought is also making major contributions to polluting the extremely limited supply of available drinking water.

“In the eight years President Bush has been in office, the Colorado River watershed has seen more oil and gas drilling than at any time since 1984, when the government began keeping such statistics. Uranium claims have reached a 10-year high.”

There is also the ominous threat to our drinking water from the thousands of dams and levees around, some over 150 years old are in dire need of upgrade or repair. There are also smaller private dams that have been abandoned. One of the nastiest threats are coal ash dams. The threat and hazards of coal ash and the earthen dams and fill ponds that hold this highly combustible and toxic sludge are coast t coast where ever there are coal-fired power plants. There are over 500 of these plants across the nation. Where I grew up in Fall River, MA, There are two within just a few miles of each other along the Taunton River; one is coal-fired at Brayton Point reported to have 95,000 tons of coal ash. The Taunton River is tidal influenced and any spill would destroy the sea life in the river. A spill would affect the cities and towns along the river all the way to the northern coast of Rhode Island including Aquidneck Island.

“The Taunton River Greenway flows for approximately 40 miles from the confluence of the Town and Matfield Rivers in the Towns of Bridgewater and continues through the towns of Halifax, Middleboro, Raynham, City of Taunton, Towns of Dighton, Berkley and Freetown to the confluence of Mt. Hope Bay at the City of Fall River and Town of Somerset.”

With over 500 of these threats across the country image how many other cities and towns and their environment are threatened.

Coal ash contains cancer-causing heavy metals such as Chromium and lead; there is mercury and arsenic along with other toxins that can cause birth-defects, gastrointestinal problems and other illnesses. Unfortunately, and thanks to the coal and utility lobbies who have donated to each party nearly equally, there still is no meaningful federal regulation dealing with coal ash. The responsibility is primarily left up to the states.

The EPA has what seems to be a convoluted determination on FFC (Fossil Fuel Combustion) wastes. I recommend that you read the determinations for yourself.

As Congress has proved time and again, the dollar is more important than your life.