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Drinking Water Quality in the U.S.

Clean Water - USA-Focus.org

… if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, [you’ll] finally get … whatever you need. (Jesus Christ, The Message translation)

FOUNDING FATHERS’ PERSPECTIVE

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”(Abraham Lincoln)

“Waste not, want not.”(Ben Franklin)

“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” (Ben Franklin)

“The disquietude of the people; … and, perhaps [their] refusal to cooperate … would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.” (James Madison)

FACTS

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (John Adams)

◊  40% of the lakes and rivers in the U.S. surveyed by the Environmental Protection Agency are too polluted for swimming or fishing. 65% of our drinking water in the U.S. comes from rivers. The Nature Conservancy. “Why is our Water in Trouble?”

◊  One-third of the U.S. population receives water from sources that are not covered by clean-water laws that limit toxic pollutants. 27 states and the Environmental Protection Agency have all CUT their funding that is used to maintain drinking water quality. New York Times, 2/8/16. “Unsafe Lead Levels in Tap Water Not Limited to Flint”

◊  When the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, its waters are so toxic that it creates a “dead zone” of almost 6,500 square miles where no marine life can live. Over 18 million people get their drinking water from the Mississippi River.
“1 Mississippi – Water Quality”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 8/4/15. “2015 Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Above Average”

◊  Almost every major city east of the Mississippi River is distorting their water testing and avoiding EPA guidelines in an attempt to show lower lead content than what really exists. The Guardian, 1/22/16. “US Authorities Distorting Tests to Downplay Lead Content of Water”

◊  Endocrine disruptors and fracking chemicals continue to be poured into drinking water sources in growing amounts, even as their full negative impact on human health remains largely unknown. Water Defense – “New Study on Fracking Chemicals and Hormone Disruption”

◊  Primary pollutants in U.S. drinking water come from: agriculture, factory discharges, consumer products, urban runoff and wastewater treatment plants. These pollutants could be greatly reduced or eliminated if the Clean Water Act and the Clean Drinking Water Act were enforced by the EPA. Scientific American, 12/14/09. “U.S. Drinking Water Widely Contaminated”

◊  The Federal Government considers its Clean Water Act of 1972 one of the great successes of environmental law. Slate, 12/10/12. Salzman, James. “Why Rivers No Longer Burn”

SUMMARY

The U.S. has two primary laws to protect our water supply: the Clean Water Act passed in 1972 and the Safe Drinking Water Act passed in 1974. Both laws have more than adequate provisions for giving America the best drinking water in the world, IF they were enforced. Enforcement of both acts is the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency. Neither law has ever been fully enforced, and that is why our drinking water supply continues to be wasted and polluted. Given the growing demands on our water supply, there is no reason to believe that our water quality will stop deteriorating until both federal laws are enforced.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION

With drinking water quality declining, and 40 of the 50 states’ water managers predicting serious water shortages in the next 10 years, every citizen should demand, from city to federal level, that the two federal water laws be enforced.

Brief #7A – June 6, 2016

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