Troubled Water: Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water

Troubled Water: Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.
We can’t live like that.” While manufacturing, mining and waste disposal companies — and dozens of others — provide millions of jobs, products and services to Americans, these industries are also among the country’s worst water polluters, based on a News21 analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, Discharge Monitoring Reports and Superfund data.
Hundreds of these companies have been contaminating drinking water throughout the country for decades with everything from arsenic and lead, to mercury and chromium – most coming from improper dumping and waste disposal, according to EPA data.
A News21 analysis of EPA data shows that the drinking water of more than 244 million people contains contaminants that can be linked back to industrial practices and are not currently regulated.
That’s what the water looked like, our drinking water.” Water from a shallow aquifer began to run red with contaminants, first into a small waterway called Tar Creek and then out into surrounding streams and lakes that provide drinking water to communities in the area.
Groundwater pollution in the area dates back to the 1930s, and contaminants like iron, copper and lead were discovered in private wells almost 50 years ago.
The 2015 report, published in the science journal Environmental Research Letters, found a pattern of industrial polluters being located in low-income and minority communities across the country.
EPA investigations found that the chemicals produced at the company polluted the Passaic River, a drinking water source for millions of New Jersey residents.
“There will always be groundwater contamination from the coal ash in this area.” Coal ash, a byproduct of coal burning, is often stored in large pits in the ground called impoundments.
From 2013 to 2015, the EPA reported more than 234 million people had higher levels of the chemical in their water than the agency recommends.

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