Symbolic river may be removed from polluted river list

Ohio.com – Groups working to get Cuyahoga River off pollution list: “The once-dead and still-symbolic Cuyahoga River might be removed from an international list of polluted Great Lakes hot spots.”

The burning river that spurred on the environmental movement is clean enough in some places to be removed from the list of polluted rivers. Where once no fish could live, now dozens of species of fish thrive.

The Clean Water Act calls for swimable, fishable water. The Cuyahoga River is to the point where it is fishable. Continued problems with combined sewer outflows on the middle and lower Cuyahoga keep it from being considered swimable, and canoeing is not recommended, but this is real progress. I have canoed the lower Cuyahoga and it is a wonderful, peaceful, wild experience. I can’t wait until the day the bacteria levels from combined sewers and other sources are low enough that someone decides to open a canoe livery.

What a wonderful success story that is coming together.

 

Feds sue Akron to enforce Clean Water Act and to stop city from polluting Cuyahoga River – Metro – cleveland.com

Feds sue Akron to enforce Clean Water Act and to stop city from polluting Cuyahoga River – Metro – cleveland.com: “Akron, and other cities like Cleveland and Columbus, have older sewer systems in which raw sewage sometimes runs into storm sewer pipes and directly into waterways, including rivers and lakes, and may cause health problems for animals and humans.”

It is about time that this happened. Akron extends its sewer lines and stimulates more development, but fails to take care of its existing mess. The EPA should have enforced years ago.

Now, the problem will be paying for this. Maybe the feds can fork over the money to fix the problem? At an estimated $1 billion, it would only cost the same as about 3 days of our expenses in Iraq. Ain’t clean water worth that?

 

Don't Drink the Water…

Occurrence of Organic Wastewater Compounds in three tributaries to the Cuyahoga River: “a total of 12 antibiotic, 20 pharmaceutical, 41 wastewater, and 22 hydrophobic compounds were detected in water.”
This new government report on the contents of our water is disturbing to me. Not because we don’t already have a growing awareness that Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are in our natural water courses. The reason it is disturbing to me is the extensive list of chemicals listed in this report.

In spite of the fact that over the last 40 years we have made great strides in reducing bacterial loads and known toxic chemicals from our water, our streams are still cocktails of antibiotics, birth control hormones, caffeine, and dozens of other chemicals. While the EPA says there is no known human health effects of PPCPs in the environment, the fact is we don’t know. Meanwhile, fish, aquatic plants, and wildlife (people?) that eat fish are getting low level, long term doses of a whole host of chemicals.

This report is about just a few small tributaries to the Cuyahoga, but this issue is relevant everywhere people live in high numbers. How many anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria can develop in such environments? What happens to people who eat fish that take in birth control hormones from the water they live in?

The answer? We do not know. This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed by a combination of education, regulation, and better scientific research.

For more information about PPCPs, visit the EPA’s web page.