Archive for December, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Napa County, California, have recently pledged to appropriate $3.3 million in funding to improve water quality and the natural wildlife habitat of the Napa River watershed.

This recent announcement can be found in the EPAs newsroom at yosemite.epa.gov.
napa river salmon
This two part restoration effort covers 15 miles of the Napa River. Also, approximately 135 acres of farmland will be converted back to wildlife habitat. More than 40 landowners have agreed to contribute to help make this happen.

Although this project will benefit many species of wildlife, salmon is definitely a major focal point here. Local salmon populations have been declining for decades in the Napa River. Stream erosion and higher concentrations of fine sediment are two of the primary culprits for the dwindling salmon numbers. The river once supported between six thousand to eight thousand Steelhead salmon. Now the adult salmon population measures in just the hundreds. The grant money will help stop erosion and improve spawning gravel to help spur a recovery in salmon population numbers.

There is also strong economic incentive for this project. The Napa Valley is perhaps one of the most well known wine producing locations in the world. Local winemakers have been not surprisingly very cooperative with the restoration efforts. More than 20 acres have been restored to help protect the Napa River. This can be seen as a common sense move on behalf of the vintners as they are taking a positive step in helping to protect their own stake in a $61 billion per year industry.

The river has become increasingly narrow which has led to a high erosion factor. A decrease in water has created banks as high as 30 feet. This has created a situation where these banks can collapse much more easily. Work is being done to mitigate this danger as well.

Another important goal of this project is to minimize potential pollution sources affecting the Napa River. Polluted runoff will be monitored as well as an implementation of heightened pollution standards.

This project is a truly shining example of how environmentalism and economic stability go hand in hand. It is very refreshing to see businesses and agencies like the EPA working together on a common goal.

It really is quite simple. Any business activity that is not good for the environment is also not good for business. There is no long term business model that does not rely on environmental resources. So it is easy to conclude that taking care of the environment easily translates into a long term, sustainable business.

The moral of this story is that you can make money by making a better world.

Hopefully examples like this news story will start to spread to other parts of the country and the world.

Corporate polluters have been getting away with poisoning our drinking water sources for many years now. Residents of Washington County in Minnesota know all about the dangers of water pollution.
In a recent article from the South Washington County Bulletin (swcbulletin.com), findings show levels of PFCs in citizens of Cottage Grove have been declining. PFC is short for perfluorochemicals. While there does not seem to be any documented studies that has linked this chemical to any human diseases or illnesses, you can be sure that they can and will damage your health.

This chemical is used by many companies to make fluropolymer coatings and other products that resist oil, stains, water, grease, and heat. This chemical does not break down in nature. It eventually can show up in food products and drinking water.

The company that has been responsible for dumping this toxic chemical is 3M. The company has been lawfully dumping this chemical waste in sites nearby Cottage Grove for decades. Unfortunately, all of those years have passed before there was enough awareness of the consequences of this action. Apparently there was not enough concern or knowledge of the impact that this pollution would have on drinking water sources.

Although there has been a decline in the amount of this chemical found in individuals that have been tested in 2010 than those tested in 2008, the fact that there is any amount in their blood streams is obviously a cause for concern. While there may not be any direct link between this chemical and any specific illness, it wont be surprising when it happens.

As part of the Minnesota Department Of Healths remediation efforts, new carbon filters have been placed at nearby water treatment plants. Those who had relied on their well water were either given carbon filtration units, or were connected to the citys treated water.

This story is a shining example of how it pays to be proactive when trying to protect your health. Instead of just assuming that the water that you are currently drinking is safe, why not make sure. One of the only ways that you can do this is to filter it right at the point of use. Again, this is where a good home water filtration comes in. Had residents of Cottage Grove and nearby towns assumed that their public drinking water and tap water was not safe to drink, they could have drastically limited their exposure to this toxin by installing a home water filtration system. Its the best water filter for preventative health measures.

Universities like the College Of Dupage, in Naperville Illinois, are making strides against disposable bottled water.

The college has installed a total of five water bottle filling stations throughout the campus. Students that are concerned about bottled water waste can now use these water filtration systems to do their part to help reduce the amount of bottles that end up in landfills.
bottled water filling stations
Whats unique about these systems is that they showcase a green ticker that displays how many water bottles have been spared from use and therefore needless waste. Since the filters inception in the college in 2010, more than 40,000 16 ounce bottles have been saved. This is obviously a major step taken to combat this source of environmental pollution.

The systems are set to fill 16 ounce reusable bottles. No buttons need pushing as the system detects the presence of a bottle and automatically fills it up.

It wont be long before word of these great systems spreads to other institutions. While the upfront costs associated with these systems range in the thousands, the waste saved from landfills is priceless. This is the kind of leadership that must take place for real change to happen. Organizations should not always need a monetary return for every investment that is made.

As more universities, corporate office spaces, and organizations of all kinds get word of these great systems, we will see some major headway in the prevention of bottled water use and waste. Major change can also come from the home. Obviously, a good amount of time of the average person is spent away from school and work. Having a good water filter at home will ensure that you will have access to clean water no matter where you are. Definitely do some research to get the best water filter that you can find.

We can all do our part to spread the word about this. Tell everyone you know that using a water filter is less expensive, more convenient, and less wasteful than bottled water.