Commerce City Colorado, just north of Denver, is still being exposed to water pollution from an oil refinery leak that began almost a year ago.

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.
commerce city water pollution
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 1930s. 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.

You Can Have Your Beer And Drink It Too

This post comes by way of The Huffington Post and describes one of the very many ways clean water is important.

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.
new belgium brewery clean water
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 doesnt 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. Its all connected, so we must do all we can to protect it.

Los Angeles waterways are about to receive some much needed attention.

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.
los angeles beach pollution
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 Californias 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.

Bottled Water Prices And Sales Continue To Rise

From a recent report from reuters.com, it seems that the bottled water industry is just as strong as ever.

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.
bottled water landfill
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 elses 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. Youll 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 recent article from americanrivers.org explains exactly how water pollution can have devastating effects on wildlife.

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.
mutated trout
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.

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