Nothing is more important to your health and quality of life than safe drinking water and clean streams and lakes. Across the country, pollution from farms is one of the primary reasons water is no longer clean or safe. Agriculture is the leading source of pollution of rivers and streams surveyed by U.S. government experts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Thankfully, if we make simple changes in the way we farm, we can take a big step toward clean water.
At the heart of the nation’s Clean Water Act is a system of permits that determines how much pollution every factory, machine shop, electric utility, sewage treatment plant or other polluter can dump into the nation’s waters. These permits, which set the terms for all of the nation’s water pollution, are tailored to the size of the polluter, the toxicity or threat of the pollution, the technology available to clean it up, and the quality and size of the waterway receiving the discharges.
An analysis of federal enforcement records shows that large industrial polluters in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania are routinely breaking the law -- and getting away with it. Big water polluters are almost never fined for their violations, and when they are fined, the penalties are often too low to act as a deterrent to future pollution. For many big polluters, breaking clean water laws has become standard business practice.Read More
Across Ohio, small and large businesses have polluted public drinking water supplies with impunity. An Environmental Working Group analysis of Ohio EPA data and an internal, unpublished report from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) shows that industries have contaminated at least 54 public water supplies, but have been held responsible for contributing toward cleanup in only three cases.
n a little-noticed decision earlier this year, the EPA’s top scientific committee on children’s health declared that protections against the toxic weed killer atrazine in food and water should not be considered safe for infants and children. According to the Office of Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee:
Atrazine, the most heavily used herbicide in the United States, is a cancer-causing weed killer applied to 50 million acres of corn each year. After it is applied each spring, it runs off cornfields and through drinking water plants into the tap water of millions of Midwestern homes.Read More
Pollutants in rivers and other source waters throughout Ohio are contaminating drinking water statewide, a citizen monitoring project has found.Read More
The federal government and the states have adopted a high- cost, high-risk strategy in their drinking water programs, where consumers pay water suppliers to try to make polluted water drinkable. In spite of the vigorous efforts of drinking water providers, tap water made from dirty rivers and lakes is often host to multiple toxic chemicals, or is contaminated with the by-products of the clean-up process itself.
Under existing federal pollution control laws, the American people are kept in the dark about the vast majority of toxic pollution spewed into the environment by U.S. industry. Even the most comprehensive toxic pollution reporting system in the nation, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), accounts for only about 5 percent of all toxic pollution of the environment each year (GAO 1991, EPA 1996c).
More than 45 million Americans in thousands of communities were served drinking water during 1994-1995 that was polluted with fecal matter, parasites, disease causing microbes, radiation, pesticides, toxic chemicals, and lead at levels that violated health standards established under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. More than 18,500 public water supplies reported at least one violation of a federal drinking water health standard during this two year period.Read More
An Environmental Working Group review of nearly 200,000 water sampling records found that over two million people -- including approximately 15,000 infants under the age of four months -- drank water from 2,016 water systems that were reported to EPA for violating the nitrate standard at least once between 1986 and 1995.Read More
EWG's response to a pesticide industry-funded 'critique' of their report Tap Water Blues, which documented public health risks from drinking water contaminated with herbicides.Read More
In 1993-94 over 53 million Americans drank water that did not meet Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) health or biological treatment standards or guidelines. In the Drink documents, on a community-by-community basis, drinking water utilities that have been listed as violating or exceeding these basic health and treatment safety standards.Read More
Wetlands, and federal efforts to protect them, have become the source of considerable controversy in recent years. Many opponents of the current wetlands regulatory system have made exaggerated claims about the effects of the federal wetlands permitting program on private landowners. Among those claims are that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wetlands program (authorized under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act) simply places all wetlands off limits to development; that the wetlands program affects an enormous acreage of land throughout the country; and that small private landowners bear the brunt of the burden of wetlands permitting.Read More