The denverpost.com has been following this story since November of last year. The primary pollutant in this case is Benzene, a well known carcinogen. Apparently, efforts over the past few months have largely failed at both removing significant amount of this toxin and preventing any more from entering the environment.
Although almost 700,000 gallons of “material” have been removed over the past few months, recent measurements show that there are levels of benzene that are more than 400 parts per billion in affected bodies of water. Government mandated “safe” levels of benzene in drinking water must not pass 5 parts per billion. This is obviously major cause for concern when you realize that nearby waterways are being exposed to levels of benzene that are more than 100 times the limit of what is considered “safe”.
It turns out that this story is nothing new for this part of Colorado. This refinery site dates back to the 1930′s. State health officials have known about pollution incidents in the area for more than a decade now, making this the most enduring case of industrial pollution in Colorado.
The refinery company in question here, Suncor, has attempted to mitigate the problem to some degree. Last year they managed to pump out 209 million gallons of contaminated groundwater. This water was then treated and released into Sand Creek. Obviously, this is the least that they should do since they are the reason for this toxic mess to begin with.
Not surprisingly, Suncor has not received any fines even though the pollution they have caused due to their business practices has contributed to benzene levels that have been tested to be more than a 1,000 times the legal limit. Sadly, the little that has been done to repair the environmental damage here only occurred when the EPA finally stepped in.
When will ethics and environmentalism finally trump the power and influence of the almighty dollar? Hopefully sometime soon. We are running our of rivers and waterways to pollute.]]>
As any beer enthusiast knows, you need good water to make good beer. The higher the water quality, the better the beer. Those who work at New Belgium Brewing, based out of Colorado, are also well aware of this fact. This company produces the very popular Fat Tire Amber Ale as well as 15 other quality brews. Jenn Vervier, their Director of Strategic Development and Sustainability, outlines the importance of clean water not just for basic health needs but also for sustainability-minded businesses like New Belgium Brewing.
The article primarily mentions the importance of the Clean Water Act, which is celebrating its 40th year anniversary. The brewery is specifically concerned about some smaller waterways that are currently not protected by the Act. These mountainous streams contribute to the rivers whose water is used by the brewery to make its beer. Although the main rivers are protected under the CWA, they are still at the mercy of the smaller streams that feed into them.
Environmentally aware businesses like New Belgium are counting on the Obama Administration to help strengthen the power and reach of the CWA, which was weakened by the previous administration. The good news is that the President seems to be a strong proponent of the work being done by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The people have spoken as the EPA received more than 200,000 comments from people who are in support of stronger water pollution restrictions and a healthier Clean Water Act. This is obviously a topic that should receive full support from everyone. After all, we all need clean water. It doesn’t get more basic than this.
This story is not surprising as Colorado is a very forward thinking and environmentally conscious part of the country. Hopefully this awareness spreads throughout the rest of the country. Businesses should eventually become aware of what New Belgium has; that clean water equals good business. Any of the costs associated with the EPA and its Clean Water Act will eventually be recouped through a much more sustainable and long lasting business.
One day we might not need agencies like the EPA. We should eventually get to a point where pollution would be unthinkable. We would finally have a full understanding of the idea that we have only one environment that we all live in. It’s all connected, so we must do all we can to protect it.]]>
This article comes by way of the The Examiner and entails a great example of what some powerful organizations and people can do to help make sure our future contains plenty of clean water.
Apparently much work has recently been done to improve the quality of water in and around the Long Island Sound in New York. Awards have been given by the Sound Guardian to 4 different people and organizations largely responsible for this cleanup effort. Those who are the recipients this year are; Commissioners Joseph Martens and Carter Strickland, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Construction company Skanska USA Civil Northeast.
The commissioners were specifically responsible for a 2.4 billion dollar pledge to develop some major green infrastructure improvements. This includes building rain gardens, making more porous pavements, allowing for more rooftop vegetation, and many other green advancements that make for safer and cleaner stormwater.
Senator Gillibrand is being recognized for her efforts in getting the Long Island Sound Stewardship and Restoration Act passed. This act is crucial for the funding that the EPA needs to continue its protection and work in this area of New York. In addition to an overall protection of the sound, the EPA now has more funding that it will specifically use to improve wastewater treatment facilities in the area. The senator sees the Sound as a “great place to work, play, and raise a family” so it should go without saying that these are crucial improvements that must occur to make this future a reality.
Last but not least to mention here is Skanska. Skanska is a very large construction company that has completed dozens of wastewater treatment projects all across the country. The company currently is working on three different projects in New York that will have a direct impact on the quality of water in the Long Island Sound and New York City as well. Due efforts in recent years, wastewater treatment facilities have largely been responsible for an increase in dissolved oxygen and a decrease in pathogens in tested Sound waters. Much work still needs to be done but Skanska is proud to be a part of the solution.
This story will undoubtedly inspire many other U.S. cities to take further action to improve their own local waterways. In the meantime, it is always a good idea to make sure the water that you drink is as pure as possible. Many have found that a home water filter is the perfect solution. Positive clean water stories like this one are definitely great to hear about, but taking an extra step to know that you are drinking the best water possible is “sound” advice.]]>
More than 27 million pounds of toxins were dumped by industries in the Hoosier state in this past year. The company – AK Steel – was the largest single contributor of this water pollution. In 2010, the company dumped about 24 million pounds of pollutants in the Ohio River in that year alone. This plant uses nitric acid to clean its stainless steel products. This toxin then gets released into waterways as wastewater that contains nitrates.
Not surprisingly, those that are in charge of speaking on behalf of these industrial (or should I say – industrious?) polluters completely downplay the vast chemical discharges. The director of government and public relations for AK Steel basically claims that the company’s discharge is well within government regulations and poses no threat to the environment. Even the spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said that the pollution that the company is responsible for “cannot be used to draw conclusions to human health or the environment“.
Really? Well, based on the responses by these two individuals, it is fairly easy to draw conclusions about who signs their paychecks. It is unbelievably audacious to defend a company whose waste has made its state’s waterways the most polluted in the country. It’s typically not a crime to finish in last place, but in this case it should be. No amount of pollution should be considered safe and acceptable, so there is absolutely no reasonable defense for a company who pollutes the most.
It can be an easy argument to say that this company provides a much needed and valuable product for our country. However, there seems to be no attempt at discovering a better way to deal with the waste that is created from its business operations. Sure, this would mean an extra expense for the company. It could even be quite expensive. However, sustainable and long term operations should not be considered without making this change.
Hopefully the residents of Indiana are doing all that they can to protect themselves from their highly polluted water. Obviously, fishing should be out of the question since fish are the first to fall victim of the poisons in rivers. Many will start looking for the best water filter that they can find. This ultimately follows the awareness that bottled water is not the best choice for many reasons. Tap water is definitely out of the question here as well.
I guess the silver lining here is….well, not silver but a strong steel industry. At least Indiana can be proud of that. Who needs potable water?]]>
A recent article from sportfishingmag.com entails this latest effort to clean up the most populated part of California. The Los Angeles Water Board and The Environmental Protection Agency have teamed up to make some major improvements to 175 bodies of water in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The effects of this clean up will be numerous. A few include reducing the amounts of bacteria, mercury, phosphorus, nitrogen, and many other toxic chemicals. This will ultimately help restore these ecosystems which will provide cleaner water to all forms of life in the area. It will be safer to consume fish and there will be fewer beach closures.
This plan calls for more than 95% of affected waterways to eventually meet water quality standards once the work has been done. This will definitely be quite an achievement considering that this is one of the most populated areas of the United States. California is well on its way in proving that it is possible to have both a high density population and very low water pollution levels. It is like play no deposit slots and win money without spending
Part of this new water pollution reduction effort is associated with something that has already been set forth in the Clean Water Act. States are being held responsible to make sure that the waterways that are polluted to meet TMDLs (Total Maximimum Daily Loads). It is sad that polluted waterways are still accepted as a given and that corporate polluters are given allowances in this regard. Ideally, there should be no allowable “loads” at all. At least California is taking a step in the right direction.
Locals will soon be able to really appreciate these efforts to clean up local creeks, rivers, and beaches. The ultimate goal is for places like Long City Beach to be open all the time, instead of closing due to high levels of bacteria. Waters in Santa Monica Bay are currently polluted with significant levels of toxic chemicals that make its fish inedible. Work that is underway will drastically reduce levels of toxins that are found in this body of water.
Corporate polluters aside, many of Southern California’s waterways have apparently been quite literally trashed. The burden to avoid this type of pollution in the future definitely falls on the community. State and government sponsored clean up efforts can surely go a long way, however, it will take a much better environmental awareness by the local community to prevent general trash from ending up in rivers and beaches.
Hopefully California will help influence and lead the way for other states to help clean up their local waterways. This is not a far fetched idea because this state is both large in size and power.]]>
Nestle, a Switzerland corporation, is the largest food and beverage company in the world. It sells 15 different types of bottled water. It is not worth mentioning specific brand names, as you have most definitely heard of at least a few of them.
What is interesting to note about this specific corporation (and possibly a few others as well) is that they have recently increased the cost of their completely unnecessary product. As expensive and overpriced as bottled water is, it just became pricier. The company justifies this price increase due to higher commodity prices. They are not concerned about the effects of this increase because they know that the demand will be there.
While it is quite unfortunate to hear that the demand for bottled water will be increasing, there is a silver lining to this story. Apparently, part of the increase in the sale of bottled water is due to a decline in the consumption of carbonated soft drinks. Obviously, it is considerably better to be drinking water compared to soda. However, it is quite apparent that there is still much work to do to educate the general public about all of the downsides to the consumption of bottled water.
Not surprisingly, it is also right here in the United States where this education is needed the most. This is the only “developed” country whose carbonated soft drink sales are still higher than bottled water sales. So of all of the plastic contained fluids that are available, we are still choosing the worst ones. The end environmental result remains the same; considerably too much extra waste due to plastic bottles. I think that it is worth repeating that our landfill problems are not going to take care of themselves.
Obviously, a company that sells a billion cases of water a year is not about to walk away from such a cash cow. Their only real concern is to mitigate any bad press that they might get with some good public relations. Like most corporate polluters, they ultimately feel that environmental concerns are someone else’s problem. This is grossly irresponsible. More recently quoted from Spiderman, Voltaire said “with great power comes great responsibility“. This is absolutely true in this case and in any other situation where a decision can affect many people or the world as a whole.
Personal consumer choices still hold great weight in this world. We can all make a big difference by making the right daily choices. Deciding which things to buy and not purchasing certain items at all can make for widespread changes in time. This will not happen overnight. It is our responsibility to help each other make wiser consumer decisions. If you do not yet know about all of the many ways that home water filters are so much better than bottled water, then please find out. Whether you discover these advantages through this site or any of the other ones online, take that first step. You’ll eventually find out that you could be getting water that is cleaner, drastically less expensive, and much more environmentally friendly.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you for helping to spread the word.]]>
A brown trout with two heads has been found in the polluted creeks in southern Idaho. Large quantities of the metal Selenium has been found to be the culprit here. This toxic substance can enter our waterways from numerous actions; phosphate mining, coal burning, and mountain top removal. Selenium is one of the toxic parts of coal ash, which is quite pervasive due to the extensive number of coal power plants still in existence.
While water pollution invariably will effect fish first, the effects of large amounts of substances like Selenium can be easily damaging to people as well. It has been linked to circulation problems, hair loss, increased risk of cancer, walking issues, and reduced reflexes, to name a few dangers. It is not difficult to determine that large quantities of any given metal in our waterways can have extremely detrimental effects on life in general.
Unfortunately, the EPA has found that quite a few states have dangerous levels of toxins in many of their rivers and creeks. Polluters need to wake up to the fact that this is not just a problem for fish and other wildlife. This affects all life.
Can we get the energy that we need and the products that we want without polluting our water supplies? Yes, we can. It is obvious that business cannot continue as usual. We need a major shift in how we think about our interactions with our environment and ultimately a concerted effort in putting those ideas into action. This will definitely disrupt many parts of our antiquated energy industry. This needs to happen.
In the meantime, it is best to assume that the water that you come into contact with is not as pure as it should be. If you are lucky enough to live in a major city in the U.S. or other first world nation that has been able to provide safe water to its residents, then good for you. The question remains, however, is it good enough? Many people decide not to take any chances. They have installed the best water filter that they can find in their homes to make sure that they are getting the cleanest water possible. After all, we cannot all live next to pristine mountain springs.
I am hopeful for the future. Corporate polluters will eventually be held accountable. They will either be forced to change operations or they will finally realize that it is in their best interest, along with the rest of the planet.]]>
This is good news for those who care about our clean water sources. A recent Edmonton Journal article (edmontonjournal.com) follows up with Erin’s current clean water activism. Her latest film appearance is in the documentary called “Last Call at the Oasis.” It is about the dwindling clean water supplies around the world and the drastic repercussions already being experienced.
Brockovich is especially concerned with water issues at home in the U.S. “There are people in our country that don’t get water, and that is a shocker for people“. As she alludes to the idea that water shortages and water pollution is falsely assumed to be largely a third world problem, she is becoming just as surprised at others to find out how untrue this is.
The film named after her, in which Julia Roberts won an Oscar for, has certainly aided in her fight to help protect clean drinking water sources and to expose companies that threaten to ruin them for all. She is also currently working on a case of a group of children in New York suffering from unusual neurological symptoms that may be attributed to polluted water.
Perhaps the most important take-away from this article was the fact that she encourages others to take a stand. She realizes that one person can only do so much, and that, she has. Our collective voice for clean water rights can be much more powerful that just one, albeit a very strong one. Grassroots efforts can turn into very large campaigns when people come together.
Hopefully Erin Brockovich’s work is showing the people that she comes into contact with just how true that can be.]]>
The www.nwitimes.com recently covered this controversial story in which involved residents of Lake Station making quite an appearance at City Hall.
The major outcry from residents is that their water is not that clean to begin with. If they are to be charged a considerable amount more, the least that they should expect is much better water. Many residents would have also preferred more gradual increases to the rates that they are charged.
It is safe to assume that the major issue here is not really the cost increase of this proposal. According to the article, even those residents who use the most water would only see their rates go up about $10 per month. On the other hand, the main issue here is water quality. It is expect that the city should be able to provide clean water to its residents for a reasonable cost.
One resident brought a dirty water filter to the City Hall meeting to give a good visual example of how bad the situation is. It might be a given that the challenges being made by increasing water pollution are making it difficult for municipal water treatment plants to deliver the cleanest water possible. However, every step should be taken to get to this point.
Hopefully the outcome of this meeting will at least make the average resident of Lake Station aware of the need to acquire a home water filter. Whether or not they are familiar with a great company like Aquasana, they should still seek out the best water filter that they can. Anyone who saw how bad that filtration cartridge looked will want to avoid the water that their city is delivering through their kitchen’s tap. Ideally they also avoid bottled water, which is neither proven to be healthier and definitely is not cheaper than home water filtration.
I’m sure that anyone who comes across this story will think twice before they assume that their tap water is safe enough to drink.]]>
This news arrives by way of The Sacramento Bee (sacbee.com). The article mentions how the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) are taking considerable actions to both educate the public and various leaders and to actively help solve current energy problems.
The mayor of California and the President have both set respective state and national clean energy goals. It is expected that a high percentage of our energy needs can be provided by clean, renewable sources in the coming decades. The end result of this goal should be clear to all by now; we will benefit from considerably less air pollution and we will not be reliant on foreign energy sources.
There are already quite a few clean water agencies in California that are able to completely offset their own energy usage by using the energy that is created when wastewater is treated. This energy comes from the methane, biosolids, and biogas that is stored in the wastewater and other substances that the plants process. Some of these other substances include oil and grease provided by restaurants.
Energy produced from wastewater treatment plants represents an opportunity that is too significant to ignore. For example, the Water Environment Research Foundation has mentioned that biosolids and wastewater contain at least five times the amount of energy that is needed to process them. It is easy to imagine the considerable clean energy potential if this process were scaled to a national and fully cooperative level.
CASA’s Gary Darling is very optimistic about the organization’s ability to spread the word and ultimately have a large effect on clean energy awareness and production. His “Waste to Watts” motto will undoubtedly take off as more and more people realize the urgency that is involved with clean energy and clean water.
This is the kind of leadership that must gain some real traction if we are to be able to benefit from a cleaner, more livable future. I believe that our leaders will start to pay attention to movements like this one because they make too much sense. It will be difficult to say no to something that not only improves our environment, but makes money at the same time. This is the kind of win-win situation that can bring much hope to our future world.]]>