Water Desk

Going to California

Texas Poisoning Prisoners with Contaminated Water

Alabama drinking water systems have chemicals linked to cancer

Flint not aberration: Government negligence and abuse is systemic

New test for waterways finds crazy list of pollutants

"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

"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

Our water is poisonous!

Poison Spring

A 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.

EWG's Tap Water Database

Why Are 96,000,000 Black Balls on This Reservoir?

National Water-Quality Assessment: Pesticide National Synthesis Project

1884 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.

The facility operated as a creosote wood pole treating plant from the 1930s through the 1960s.

Coal tar creosote is a human carcinogen.

Coal tar 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, and fungicides.

1999 Massive 7 million tire fire in Westley, California releases 250,000 gallons of oil into a gully which runs into the California Aqueduct.

still water

Willows on the Water

Wyoming criminalizes citizen science

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Pure water the key to China' victories in the war against cancer

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 Dallas.

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 $1.3 billion.

State of Colorado determines over 50,000 fish were killed along a 7.4 mile length of Clear Creek by Joseph Coors 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.

Hexachlorobenzene is applied to wheat as a fungicide.

1,4-dichlorobenzene is used chiefly against termites in soil.

Trichlorobenzenes are used as solvents for pesticides.

Chlorinated benzenes have a chemical structure and properties similar to those of PCBs and PCTs.

2003 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.

Landfill leaching 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 contaminated sites.

4 million gallon underground plume of gasoline contaminates the ground water of Hartford, Illinois.

Pipelines carrying 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 closed.

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 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.

"Amphibians are 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 ppb.

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 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 mercury and arsenic which is seeping into Little Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, Michigan.

Mobil 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. 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 water.

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 downstream.

Tsakos 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 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.

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 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).

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.

British 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 chemicals.

Allegheny Ludlum agrees to pay $2.4 million to the State of Pennsylvania for dumping acids and waste into Pennsylvania rivers.

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.

Attorney General 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 facility.

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 drinking water.

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 (VOC) contaminating ground water beneath the city of Industry and portions of La Puente and Walnut.

The firms used solvents for degreasing operations.

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.

EPA 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 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.

Toluene, an aromatic hydrocarbon (paint thinners), is a mono-substituted benzene derivative, consisting of a CH3 group attached to a phenyl group.

Acetone, (CH3)2CO, is a volatile, flammable and colorless liquid is the simplest and smallest ketone.

The soil is contaminated with lead, cadmium and PCBs.

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 more.

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 nitrates, arsenic and barium.

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."

A deadly new fungus, the chytrid fungus, is decimating amphibian populations worldwide.

Scientists 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." - 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, Earthjustice

"Reports from 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, 09/10/09

"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 at this time the Clean Water Act has been violated more than 506,000 times since 2004, by more than 23,000 corporations.


End of the Miracle Machines

Global Drought Conditions Are Drying Out Several Regions

California's New Era of Heat Destroys All Previous Records

California's Drought Could Upend America's Entire Food System

California can learn from Saudi Arabia's water mystery

Climate change linked to California drought disaster

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 1594.

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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