From the Blog: A Little Bit of Drinking Water Contamination – Is That Okay?

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaign Director

Actually, it’s a complicated question.  But one thing is certain.  Coal plants and other facilities should not be contaminating our rivers, lakes, streams and drinking water sources with arsenic or any other toxic metals and chemicals.  That is why it has been puzzling to see the reaction to the coal ash spill into the Dan River from a recent Duke Energy coal ash disposal site in Eden NC.  This enormous spill has been chronicled by my colleague Jennifer Peters here and here and has made national news.  Local water treatment plants have said that the spill does not pose problems for them because they are able to remove the contaminants in the ash. This is a good thing, though it demonstrates that once again our nation’s Public Water Systems have to clean up toxic waste that should have been prevented upstream. Read more.

It’s Still Leaking: Clean Water Action Statement on Revelations that Toxic Coal Ash Continues to Leak into the Dan River

Washington: Today Waterkeeper Alliance and Yadkin Riverkeeper released new findings that toxic coal ash is still pouring into the Dan River in North Carolina. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh launched a Federal Grand Jury Investigation into the spill, the third largest coal ash spill in US history. Clean Water Action Campaign Director Lynn Thorp released this statement.

Published On: 
02/13/2014 - 13:28

Clean Water Action Welcomes EPA Action To Protect Drinking Water From Chemicals Used In Oil And Gas Drilling

Washington, D.C. — Clean Water Action welcomed today’s pre-publication by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of permitting guidelines for hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas where diesel is used in fracturing fluids. “These recommendations are needed to protect drinking water sources from some of the worst chemicals found in the hydraulic fracturing process and to enable the Safe Drinking Water Act to be implemented where diesel is used in drilling operations,” said Clean Water Action President Robert Wendelgass.

Published On: 
02/11/2014 - 13:33

The River City, Where Coal Ash (STILL) Flows from Eden

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Campaigns Coordinator

The motto for the City of Danville, Virginia is “The river city, where innovation flows.” Since Sunday night, the River City has been where coal ash flows. As I posted Wednesday, Duke Energy has been scrambling to stop the flow of coal ash wastewater from one of its ash ponds since a stormwater pipe beneath the pond ruptured Sunday afternoon. The ash pond, located near Eden, North Carolina, is approximately 20 miles upriver from the city of Danville, VA, which gets its drinking water from the Dan River. Our friends Catawba Riverkeeper have created this timeline of events for the ongoing spill. It’s been over five days – and I am beginning to wonder, how many Duke Energy engineers does it take to fix one broken pipe? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.

Read more

From the Blog: A River Runs Gray, Threatening Downstream Water Supplies

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Campaigns Coordinator

Nearly 72-hours after a stormwater pipe buried beneath a 27-acre unlined coal ash pond burst, wastewater from the pond is still spilling into the Dan River near the town of Eden, North Carolina. Duke Energy, the pond operator, estimates that between 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash has contaminated the Dan River – a volume of ash that would fill between 20 and 32 Olympic-size swimming pools. The company estimates that an additional 24-27 million gallons of coal ash wastewater has poured into the river.

Coal ash is the waste left behind from burning coal and it contains arsenic, lead, mercury, boron, cadmium, selenium, nutrients and other harmful chemicals. Heavy metals like mercury are highly soluble in water, and wastewater from ash ponds pose an especially big threat to aquatic life because these dissolved heavy metals can persist in the environment for a very long time. Heavy metals like mercury also concentrate up the food chain, which is why so many water bodies across the country have fish consumption advisories. Read more.

From the Blog: US Senate Hearing on West Virginia Drinking Water: Crisis What Crisis?

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director

Yesterday I attended a U.S. Senate hearing on the West Virginia “Drinking Water Crisis” brought on by last month’s chemical spill into the Elk River, the drinking water source for West Virginia American Water’s 300,000 consumers.  The hearing title got me thinking that we do have a “crisis” on our hands, but it’s not limited to what happened in West Virginia.  Far too often, many different types of polluting industrial activities – not just storing chemicals in tanks  - are allowed to contaminate our drinking water sources.

This could be prevented.  But instead we’re putting a burden on our drinking water systems and their consumers (us). We’re basically turning our drinking water treatment plants into an easy-way-out waste disposal option for companies who should be cleaning up their act way upstream. That’s what our Put Drinking Water First efforts are about, and you’ll be hearing more about them during this 40th anniversary year of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Read more

Clean Water Action Statement on Senate Hearing on Drinking Water Supplies and the WV Spill

Clean Water Action Statement on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife entitled, "Examination of the Safety and Security of Drinking Water Supplies Following the Central West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis."

Washington DC -- Clean Water Action welcomes today's hearing and its focus on protecting drinking water sources. "Elected officials need to make protection of drinking water sources the primary consideration in decisions about facility siting, permitting and oversight," said Clean Water Action National Campaigns Director Lynn Thorp.

Published On: 
02/04/2014 - 14:00

Clean Water Action Applauds EPA Action on Coal Ash Pollution

Washington, DC:  After years of delay, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will finalize coal ash disposal standards by December 19, 2014. Clean Water Action welcomes this announcement and looks forward to the release of the final rule. Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action’s National Water Campaign Coordinator released this statement.

“This is great news and a step in the right direction. It’s also a testament to the power of sustained activism in the court of public opinion and the federal courts.  We’re thrilled that persistence of public interest groups like Earthjustice and the Maopa Band of the Paiute tribe paid off and are looking forward to working with these groups to support a strong final rule.

Published On: 
01/30/2014 - 15:07

Climate Change is Water Change

President Delivers Leadership at Critical Juncture for our Water

Washington: Tonight, Clean Water Action welcomed President Obama’s continued focus on climate change in his State of the Union address. Clean Water Action CEO Bob Wendelgass released this statement:

“We’ve long said that climate change is water change. Water resources that are already under stress are being placed even more at risk as climate change worsens. The same dirty energy sources that are now causing irreversible climate change are also bad news for our water, our air and our health. Like President Obama, we agree that it’s time to end the massive subsidies to oil companies and focus support on new sources of clean energy to create jobs and fight climate pollution.
Published On: 
01/28/2014 - 22:01

States Grapple With Toxics Where Federal Action Fails

33 States To Consider Toxic Chemical Regulation In 2014
As meaningful federal toxic chemical reform languishes, state legislators are standing up to chemical industry pressure and acting to protect public health. Over half the country — at least 33 states — will consider policies in 2014 to address toxic chemicals in consumer products, according to an analysis by Safer States, a national coalition of state-based environmental health organizations.
Published On: 
01/28/2014 - 10:54
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