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, president of
"When the EPA, charged with the job of protecting
our environment for the benefit of the American people,
stone walls on regulating a known
toxin in public drinking water, in my mind it is akin to our government
saying it's OK to poison Americans." - Mike Laskavy
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.
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.
The facility operated as a
creosote wood pole treating plant from the 1930s through the 1960s.
Coal tar creosote is
Coal tar products
are used in 'medicines' to
treat skin diseases such as psoriasis, and are also used as animal and bird
restricted pesticides, animal dips, and
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. Arsenic in 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.
The benzene contamination
resulted from tank failures of the Metachem Chemical facility spilling 6.8
million pounds of chlorinated benzene
compounds into the soil in 1986.
The facility had been one of the world's largest producers of
chlorinated benzenes which were used in
pesticides, 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 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
Tucson, Arizona. The spill, estimated at 10,000 gallons, was larger as some
52,000 gallons had been recovered by January, 2005.
chemicals into Petrolia, Pennsylvania wells. Cromptom 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
4 million gallon underground plume of
the ground water of
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 extinct. 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 were 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
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.
Kerr-McGee Chemical 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 mantles. Kerr-McGee
bought the facility in 1967 and closed it 6 years later. 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
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.
Plastics maker Keysor-Century Corp.
will pay $4.3M dumping for toxic waste water into the Santa Clara River,
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
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. In one 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
Tsakos Group ship spills 265,000 gallons of oil into the
wells in Glendale, California are found to contain levels of chromium 6 at
49 parts per billion (ppb). 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
Chemical responsible for contaminating an aquifer used by residents of the
Myrtle Grove Trailer Park for drinking
High levels of the
a toxic colorless gas with a sweet odor used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC),
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 years.
2005 Government Accounting Office
(GAO) reports there was between 450,000 and 1,000,000 brownfield sites in
New York City contains approximately 6,000 properties
designated as brownfield sites.
EPA announces over 300,000 sites with
leaking under ground storage tanks have been remediated over the past 20 years.
Some 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 regulations.
Levels of chromium 6 in a well within 60
feet of the Colorado River measure 354 parts per billion (ppb).
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.
Oil agrees to pay all cleanup costs necessary to remediate contamination
caused by leaking under ground storage tanks at 184 gas stations in Orange
which acquired Atlantic Richfield, has cleaned up 10 of 60 gas stations where
Weyerhaeuser agrees to remediate contamination
at a mill and a landfill near the Kalamazoo River, Michigan.
landfill reportedly contains hundreds of thousands of pounds of
Allegheny Ludlum Corporation agrees to pay $2.4 million to
wsuit filed by the State of Pennsylvania which alleged that in the 1990s the
steelmaker dumped acids and waste into Pennsylvania
rivers. Litigation continued for nine
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.
waited 18 hours to report the spill which dumped 123,774 gallons of oil into
wetlands near San Francisco Bay in April 2004.
The state's Attorney General stated
that "the incorporation has sort of brushed off civil penalties in the past and
thought they were just the cost of doing business."
Regional Water Quality Control Board orders Micro Matic USA draft beer
equipment maker to cleanup up
contamination emanating from its Northridge, California facility.
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 drinking
The incorporation has operated the facility for nearly 50
Wisconsin circuit 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.
Eleven California companies are fined $8.2
million to settle their liability for the cleanup of volatile organic compounds
water beneath the city of Industry and portions of La Puente and Walnut.
The firms used solvents for degreasing operations.
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. Over 30 square miles of
ground water beneath
the San Gabriel Valley may be contaminated.
EPA approves a $29 million
cleanup plan for the Solvents Recovery Service of New England Superfund site in
Southington. The incorporation disposed of millions of gallons of solvents and
oil from 1955 and 1991 by dumping them into lagoons and leach fields.
The site is some 500 feet from the Quinnipiac River.
Ground water beneath the site is
contaminated with acetone, toluene and other
volatile organic compounds (VOC).
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 colorless, volatile, flammable liquid, and is the
simplest and smallest ketone.
soil is contaminated with
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.
began work on an "Amphibian Ark."
A deadly new fungus, the chytrid
fungus, is decimating amphibian populations worldwide.
hope to collect uninfected amphibians and lock
them away to save amphibians from extinction.
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 River.
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." -
"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, Earthjustice
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 Kitimat.
"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
In British Columbia's
Fraser River watershed fishery managers expected 10 to 13 million sockeye in
the fall 2009 run. About 1 million showed up.
According to EPA data more
than 23 million people received drinking water from municipal systems that
violated a health-based standard.
An 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
neurological disorders. 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
million acre-feet. 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 services.
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. This water originates as precipitation and
snowmelt in the Rocky and Wasatch Mountains.
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