Water, Water Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink

water_drop1Water pollution is a big concern, and has been for a long time.  As the problem of population continues to grow, Americans are being exposed to more unhealthy water every year.  This is a problem that needs to be taken care of, and fast.  There have been many articles written on this topic recently, here are a few that I’ve found showing some of the problems we are having with our water around the southwest.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that, “Utah is one of 49 states that warn anglers about dangerously contaminated fish in their lakes and streams.”  This is from Robert F. Kennedy, the founder and chairman of a worldwide environmental group network named Waterkeeper Alliance.   It is not only the streams and rivers in Utah that have been affected; it is also the Great Salt Lake.  Utah is the only state in the union that advises people not to eat certain waterfowl due to high levels of mercury in the lake.  Utah is currently looking for a replacement Great Salt Lakekeeper because the last one was let go for not following the groups guide lines for clean water. 

Another article in The Salt Lake Tribune highlights the small community Yerington, NV, located about 75 miles southeast of Reno next to a long abandoned copper mine.  The ground water near this small farming community has concentrations of uranium well over the EPA standards for safe drinking water.  The oil company BP, who now owns the abandoned mine site, claims that the mine has nothing to do with the unsafe levels of uranium and arsenic.  The small population of the town is forming a group to investigate the situation and hopefully get some backing from the government to get the contamination cleaned up.

On a more positive note, the Vail Daily is reporting on a community initiative to keep prescription drugs for entering local streams and reservoirs.  Rather than flushing these unused drugs down the toilet, City Market will be accepting these to be properly disposed.  Different kinds of prescription drugs cannot be taken out of the water through regular water treatment processes, causing many problems for fish populations in the area.  Creating collection sites and a simple marketing strategy is an easy and productive way to take care of this problem. 

Many policies are in place to keep our rivers and lakes clean, we just need to obey them.  There are several companies and individuals that dispose of toxins in a way that is not friendly to the environment.  If these people and companies would look at what they are doing to the environment and stop focusing on their bottom line things would be much better and safer for all of us.  Although there are laws in place, they could be much stricter so we can force these polluters to see the light.  Then we’ll all be able to enjoy our waterways for generations to come.

Royce Johnson

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