Friday, November 13, 2009

Troubled waters

A new report (PDF file) entitled "Wasting Our Waterways: Toxic Industrial Pollution and the Unfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act" by Environment America says Virginia's waterways are the second dirtiest in the United States. The report says Virginia had more than 18 million pounds of toxic chemicals released into its waterways, second only to Indiana. The New River (NC, VA, WV) is the worst in the Commonwealth and second worst in the entire nation with 14,090,633 pounds of total discharges. Ranking second in the state (31st in the nation) is the James River with 1,686,939 pounds. The Roanoke River also made the nation's top dirty 50 in total discharges. The discharge numbers are from 2007 when Environment America says more than 232 million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped into 1,900 waterways.
Here at CCC I've previously posted about water quality issues with Shenandoah Valley rivers, most notably trash and animal/human wastes in our streams. When you consider the trash, the mostly unseen mix of chemicals, the bacteria, the nutrients, and the sediment/run-off that goes into our waterways it is pretty scary for anybody who wants to swim, canoe, fish, or use our precious water resources. W.C. Fields only touched on one irrelevant aspect of water quality in his famous quote about why he doesn't drink water. W.C., there are lots of other reasons!
Tom Toles' cartoon in the Washington Post November 13, 2009 sums it up pretty well.

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