rivers and lakes
"Amphibians are one of nature's best indicators of
overall environmental health. Their catastrophic decline serves as a
warning that we are in a period of significant
environmental degradation." - Russell A. Mittermeier
former employee of the EPA charges the federal government of the US with
turning a blind eye to the systematic poisoning of America's food supply,
animals, water, and people.
Anaconda Copper smelting from
1884 to 1980 contaminates 120 miles of the Clark Fork River in Montana.
1920's Powerine Oil Co. dumped oil wastes from
the 1920's to the 60's creating an under ground pool of
toxic sludge some 900 feet wide in
Santa Fe Springs, Los Angeles.
1951 Pacific Gas
& Electric Topock facility dumps waste water containing chromium 6
untreated into percolation beds from 1951 to 1969.
1978 United States Coast Guard discovered a plume of oil
beneath Brooklyn, New York containing between 17 million and 30 million gallons
of oil that had migrated from tank farms.
In St. Maries, Idaho a wood treatment facility is
found to be leaching contaminates into the St. Joe River.
operated as a creosote wood pole treating plant from the 1930s through the
creosote is a human
products are used in
'medicines' to treat skin diseases such as psoriasis, and are also used as
animal and bird repellents, insecticides, restricted pesticides, animal dips,
1999 Massive 7 million tire fire in Westley, California
releases 250,000 gallons of oil into a gully which runs into the California
2000 Cracked Sunoco pipeline spills 192,000 gallons of oil
into a pond and surrounding wetlands in the
John Heinz National
Wildlife Refuge, Pennsylvania.
Buried 28 inch Explorer Pipeline Co.
pipeline ruptured spilling over 500,000 gallons of
gasoline into Lake
Tawakoni, Texas which is used as a backup water supply reservoir by the City of
2001 Columbia Terminals Inc. pleads
guilty to illegally disposing over 500,000 gallons of hazardous chemicals. The
incorporation will pay $1.3 million in fines.
Hecla Mining Co. agrees to
pay $138 million over the next 30 years as part of a settlement for cleanup
costs associated with toxic mine tailings in the Coeur d'Alene basin, in the
1,500 square mile Bunker Hill area, Idaho. Estimated cleanup costs will run
State of Colorado determines over 50,000 fish were killed
along a 7.4 mile length of Clear Creek by Coors Brewing Co. from the release of
77,000 gallons of bad beer into the tributary of the Colorado River.
House of Representatives passes a measure ordering the EPA
to reduce the current maximum allowable level of
arsenic in drinking water,
50 parts per billion (ppb), by 80% - in effect backing the 10 ppb put into
affect by the Clinton administration and subsequently rescinded by the George
Walker Bush administration.
drinking water can cause lung, bladder and skin cancer and according to a
study by the National Academy of Sciences, the current 50 ppb standard "could
easily" result in a cancer risk
of 1 in every 100 people exposed.
Three thousand water systems
nationwide serving over 13 million people currently supply water which exceeds
the 10 ppb level.
2002 Measurements taken in Red Lion Creek, Delaware found
levels of benzene at up
to 22,000 times federal drinking water standards.
contamination resulted from tank failures of the Metachem Chemical facility
spilling 6.8 million pounds of
compounds into the soil in 1986.
The facility had been one of the world's largest producers of
chlorinated benzenes which were used in
herbicides, dyes and other products.
Chlorinated benzenes are composed
of twelve chemical species: one mono-, three di-, three tri-, three tetra-, one
penta-, and one hexachlorobenzene.
Hexachlorobenzene is applied to
wheat as a
is used chiefly against termites in soil.
Trichlorobenzenes are used as
solvents for pesticides.
benzenes have a chemical structure and properties similar to those of PCBs and
Gasoline from a ruptured pipeline
of SFPP L.P., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Partner L.P.
contaminates soil and ground water in
The spill, estimated at 10,000 gallons, was larger as
some 52,000 gallons had been recovered by January, 2005.
leaching chemicals into Petrolia, Pennsylvania wells.
Corporation agrees to pay $4.5 having acquired companies that dumped chemicals
at the landfill during the 1950s and 1960s.
Beazer East Inc. agrees to
pay $18.1 million in cleanup costs.
Kaiser Aluminum agreed to pay $24
million in cleanup costs for 66 contaminated sites.
4 million gallon
underground plume of gasoline contaminates the
ground water of Hartford, Illinois.
gasoline from a
refinery to the Mississippi River were leaking 15,120 gallons of
gasoline per week.
The facility operated from 1981 to 2002 when the refinery was
2004 Study by the nonprofit group Center for Progressive
Regulation concludes that many states do not have the money to enforce the
federal Clean Water Act.
150 species of amphibians have become
As many as 55% of
all known species, more than 3,000, could be on the verge of
extinction according to a report
published in the journal Science in October .
More than 500
scientists are included in the first global amphibian assessment.
Amphibians serve as sentinels for environmental problems that might be
jeopardizing entire ecological systems.
In America, 21% of known
species are threatened with extinction.
indeed telling us that the Earth is being harmed right where you and I live,"
said Andrew R. Blaustein, director of the graduate program in environmental
sciences at Oregon State University.
Wells 125 feet from the Colorado
River, a drinking water source for some
18 million Californians, are found to have levels of chromium 6 at 100
EPA developes three options to remediate pollution caused by mining
waste along Butte's Metro Storm Drain, Montana.
Corp. agreed to remove thorium contamination from Kress Creek and the DuPage.
From the 1930s, Lindsay Light and Chemical Corp. began processing ore
to make radioactive thorium used in the manufacture of gas lamp
Kerr-McGee bought the facility in 1967 and closed it 6 years
During the years of operation, the facility dumped waste water
into local creeks.
An estimated 800,000 tons of mill tailings were also
generated and were spread around the community for use as landfill for flood
plains and on residential lawns.
It is found a redeveloped limestone
mining and cement manufacturing plant has failed to cap cement kiln dust piles
creating a high pH leachate contain metals, including
arsenic which is
seeping into Little Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, Michigan.
Exploration and Producing US, Inc. settles a federal and state action by
agreeing to pay $5.5 million for spilling oil in tributaries of the San Juan
River, Utah between 1991 and 1999.
Keysor-Century Corp. agrees to pay $4.3M dumping for toxic waste water into the
Santa Clara River, California.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.
agrees to cleanup an Albuquerque, New Mexico wood treatment facility.
The wood treatment facility operated from 1908 to 1972 releasing
creosote into the soil and ground
EPA states that Colonial Pipeline is
responsible for "at least 194"
oil spills in 12 states
from 1966 to 1994 and "numerous" spills in subsequent years.
spill, more than 950,000 gallons of diesel
fuel spilled into the Reedy River in South Carolina in 1996, killing 35,000
fish and other species of wildlife, and dispersing more than 34 miles
Group ship spills 265,000 gallons of oil into the Delaware River.
Drinking water wells in
Glendale, California are found to contain levels of chromium 6 at 49 parts per
The city council has set a safety limit of 5 ppb for
chromium 6, while the state maximum allowable level remains at 50 ppb.
Remediation of the Clark Fork River basin, Montana will cost $1
responsible for contaminating an aquifer used by residents of the Myrtle Grove
Trailer Park for drinking water.
High levels of the
a toxic colorless gas with a sweet odor used to make polyvinyl chloride, were
found in 1997, 1998 and 2001.
EPA concludes cleanup of up to 355,000
contaminated sites nationwide will cost up to $280 billion over the next 35
2005 Government Accounting Office (GAO)
reports there was between 450,000 and 1,000,000 brownfield sites in America.
New York City contains approximately 6,000 properties designated as
EPA announces over 300,000 sites with leaking under
ground storage tanks have been remediated over the past 20 years.
130,000 leaking under ground storage tanks still need to be cleaned up and 4
out of every 10 under ground storage tanks remain out of compliance with
Levels of chromium 6 in a well within 60 feet of the
Colorado River measure 354 parts per billion (ppb).
The allowable limit
set by the state is 50 ppb.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) uses
chromium 6 as a rust prevention agent in natural gas compressor stations along
pipelines during 1950s and 1960s.
Shell Oil agrees to pay all
cleanup costs necessary to remediate contamination caused by leaking under
ground storage tanks at 184 gas stations in Orange County, California.
Petroleum, which acquired Atlantic Richfield, has cleaned up 10 of 60 gas
stations where contamination occurred.
Weyerhaeuser agrees to remediate
contamination at a mill and a landfill near the Kalamazoo River, Michigan.
The landfill reportedly contains hundreds of thousands of pounds of
Allegheny Ludlum Corporation agrees to pay $2.4 million to
the State of Pennsylvania for dumping acids and waste into Pennsylvania
Kinder Morgan Energy
Partners pleads guilty to failure to promptly report an
oil spill from one of
its 14 inch pipelines to California state regulators.
stated Kinder Morgan Energy
Partners waited 18 hours to report a spill which dumped 123,774 gallons of
oil into wetlands near San Francisco Bay in April 2004 and
brushed off civil penalties in the
past as a cost of doing business.
Los Angeles Regional Water
Quality Control Board orders Micro Matic USA draft beer equipment maker to
cleanup up ground water contamination emanating from its Northridge, California
A perchloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene or PCE plume runs
beneath the facility and under area homes.
Levels of PCE have been
measured at more than 300 times levels considered safe for
court judge fines home improvement retailer Menard Inc. $2,025,000 for
discharging pollutants from one of its distribution centers into a maintenance
shop drain contaminating the Chippewa River.
Regulators alleged that
employees disposed of solvents, cleansers, oils and other
pollutants by pouring them into
the shop drain.
companies are fined $8.2 million to settle their liability for the cleanup of
compounds (VOC) contaminating ground water beneath the city of Industry and
portions of La Puente and Walnut.
The firms used solvents for
The settling defendants include: Acorn
Engineering Co., Aerosol Services Co. Inc., GOE Engineering Co., Hexcel Corp.,
Lansco Die Casting Inc., Herring Investments LLC, Somitex Prints of California
Inc., Union Pacific Railroad, and Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co.
approves a $29 million cleanup plan for the Solvents Recovery Service of New
England Superfund site in Southington which disposed of millions of gallons of
solvents and oil from 1955 and 1991 by dumping them into lagoons and leach
The site is some 500 feet from the Quinnipiac River.
Ground water beneath the site is
contaminated with acetone,
toluene and other
Toluene, an aromatic hydrocarbon (paint thinners), is a
mono-substituted benzene derivative, consisting of a CH3 group
attached to a phenyl group.
(CH3)2CO, is a volatile, flammable
and colorless liquid is the simplest and smallest ketone.
The soil is
contaminated with lead,
Study by the
nonprofit research organization Environmental
Working Group (EWG), which involved a review of two years worth of
information on tap water gathered by regulators in 42 states, found 141
contaminants for which there are no enforceable health standards.
Nineteen of these contaminants were found in levels that exceeded the
EPA's unenforced safety guidelines for water utilities serving 10,000 people or
Contaminants included gasoline additive MTBE, rocket
fuel component perchlorate and
several industrial solvents.
According to the study, the top 10 states
with the most contaminants in their drinking
water were: California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Texas,
New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
The study also found 119 contaminants for which
enforceable heath standards exist including
According to the Environmental Working
Group, the contaminated tap water is used by over one hundred million
people in the 42 states.
2006 Remediation of
contaminants at and from the former
Anaconda Copper mine in
Nevada will cost between $100 million and $1 billion.
2007 Scientists began work on an "Amphibian Ark."
deadly new fungus, the chytrid fungus, is decimating amphibian populations
to collect uninfected amphibians and lock them away to save amphibians from
David B. Wake of
UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, a leading amphibian expert,
called the prospects for amphibian survival "very grim."
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners
pays $5.3 million to settle charges addressing the April 2004 spill at the
Suisun Marsh in Solano County, the February 2005 76,902 gallon-spill at Oakland
Inner Harbor in Alameda, and the April 2005 300 gallon-spill into Summit Creek
that impacted waters in the pristine Donner Lake watershed in the Sierra Nevada
Range in Placer County.
The spills, on Kinder
Morgan's 3,000-mile Pacific Operations Unit pipeline system, discharged a
combined 200,976 gallons of diesel fuel,
jet fuel and gasoline
into waters, sensitive ecosystems, and impacted endangered and other species,
habitat and commercial uses.
2009 Analysis of 925 major rivers from 1948 to 2004 finds
significant changes in about a third.
Of those, rivers with decreased
flow outnumbered those with increased flow by a ratio of about 2.5 to 1.
The reduction in river flow to
the Pacific Ocean alone is about equal to shutting off the Mississippi
Clean Water Act does not prevent the Army Corps of Engineers
from allowing mining waste to be dumped into rivers, streams and other waters.
"The Army Corps of Engineers permit, issued in 2005, said that 4.5
million tons of waste from the Kensington mine could be dumped into the lake
even though it would obliterate life in its waters." - Leslie Kaufman
"If a mining incorporation can turn Lower Slate Lake in Alaska into a
lifeless waste dump, other polluters with solids in their wastewater can
potentially do the same to any water body in America." - Trip Van Noppen,
conservationists, salmon-stream walkers and ecotourism guides all along British
Columbia's wild central coast indicate a
collapse of salmon runs has triggered widespread death from starvation of
black and grizzly bears. Those guides are
on the front lines of what they say is an unfolding ecological disaster that is
so new that it has not been documented by biologists." - Mark Hume,
"I've never experienced anything like this. There has been a
huge drop in the number of bears we see," said Doug Neasloss, a bear-viewing
guide with the Kitasoo-Xaixais tribes in Klemtu, about 180 kilometres south of
"River systems that in the past had 50,000 to 60,000 chum have
now got 10 fish. The chum runs have been fished out. The collapse of the Fraser
sockeye and now the north-coast chum salmon runs is
leading to ecological
collapse of our coast ecosystems.
We've seen the biological
extinction of a salmon species, and now we're seeing the impact on bears.
I've talked to stream walkers [who monitor salmon runs] who have been out for a
month and have yet to see any bears." - Ian McAllister, 09/10/09
British Columbia's Fraser River watershed fishery managers expected 10 to 13
million sockeye in the fall 2009 run. About 1 million showed
According to EPA data more than 23 million people received drinking
water from municipal systems that violated a health-based standard.
estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from drinking water
contaminated with parasites, bacteria or viruses, according to a study
published in 2008 in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental
Contamination and Toxicology.
These figures do not count toxic
industrial chemical poisoning.
The most frequently detected toxic
industrial chemical contaminants cause cancer,
birth defects and
According to EPA compliance forms submitted by corporate
polluters the Clean Water Act has been violated more than 506,000 times
since 2004, by more than 23,000 corporations.
2004 US Geological Survey reports
that tree ring reconstructions of Colorado River flows determine that the
lowest five year average flow of the Colorado River occurred between 1590 and
The average yearly flow at that time was determined to be 8.84
During the Dust Bowl years 1930 to
1937 the average yearly flow
was 10.2 million acre-feet. Between the years 2001 and 2004 the average yearly
flow was 5.4 million acre-feet.
Since 2000, the Basin has been
experiencing a historic, extended drought that has impacted regional water
supply and other resources, such as hydropower, recreation, and ecologic
During this time, the Colorado River Basin has experienced
its lowest 16-year period of inflow in over 100 years of record keeping, and
reservoir storage in the Colorado River system has declined from nearly full to
about half of capacity.
The Upper Colorado River Basin supplies
approximately 90% of the water for the entire Basin.
originates as precipitation and snowmelt in the Rocky and Wasatch
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