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November 26, 2010

  • NEW YORK, November 5, 2010 (Water Tech) — New York City officials issue warning about lead contamination
  • WASHINGTON, November 9, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA to issue new rules to reduce water pollution from power plants
  • WASHINGTON, November 17 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA to expand chemicals testing for endocrine disruption
  • HINKLEY, CA, November 17, 2010 (Water Tech) — Pacific Gas & Electric ordered to provide clean drinking water
  • BARSTOW, CA, November 24, 2010 (Water Tech) — Four-day drinking water ban lifted

    September 9, 2010

  • COLUMBIA, MD, August 23, 2010 (Water Tech) — Cryptosporidium antibodies may lead to better detection methods
  • WASHINGTON, August 23, 2010 (Water Tech) - EPA releases draft strategy for clean water
  • BOSTON, August 26, 2010 (Water Tech) — Settlement addresses wastewater, stormwater discharges
  • DENVER, September 1, 2010 (Water Tech) —Gates Foundation awards $5.6 million grant to Water For People
  • SACRAMENTO, CA, September 8, 2010 (Water Tech) - New study examines groundwater quality in North San Francisco Bay Region

    August 19, 2010

  • WILMINGTON, DEL, July 30, 2010 (Water Tech) — House candidate calls for investigation into drinking water contaminants
  • PHILADELPHIA, July 30, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA files complaints against 10 wastewater treatment plants
  • WASHINGTON, August 3, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA to hold public sessions on changes to water quality standards
  • What's in Your Water? New studies have found a host of nasties in H2O. WH investigates what's really flowing from the faucet (August 4, 2010).
  • NEW CASTLE, DEL, August 4, 2010 (Water Tech) — Pharmaceuticals contaminate Delaware’s drinking water
  • RICHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI, August 5, 2010 (Water Tech) — Mich. residents warned of high arsenic levels in drinking water
  • SAN BERNARDINO, CA, August 9, 2010 (Water Tech) — Calif. water company issues warning about contaminated well
  • Report: More bottled water coming from the tap (August 12, 2010)
  • WASHINGTON, August 18, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA launches web forum on drinking water quality issues

    July 29, 2010

  • WASHINGTON, July 12, 2010 (Water Tech) — Online dialogue to address EPA’s new drinking water contaminant strategy
  • LOUISVILLE, KY, July 13, 2010 (Water Tech) — Study finds pharmaceuticals, chemicals in Ohio River
  • LARAMIE, WY, July 15, 2010 (Water Tech) — Study: Private wells near Laramie, Wyo., contain high nitrite levels
  • ATLANTA, July 16, 2010 (Water Tech) — Waterborne diseases cost US healthcare system more than $500 million annually
  • BOSTON, July 21, 2010 (Water Tech) — Concrete manufacturer penalized for Clean Water Act violations
  • ILIMINGTON, DEL, July 27, 2010 (Water Tech) — Contaminated groundwater threatening Potomac Aquifer
  • NEW YORK, July 29, 2010 (Water Tech) — UN resolution declares access to clean water as fundamental right

    July 8, 2010

  • WASHINGTON, June 18, 2010 (Water Tech) —The American Water Works Association EPA to revise Total Coliform Rule
  • NEW YORK, June 30, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA approves New York State’s list of impaired waters
  • KANSAS CITY, MO, June 30, 2010 (Water Tech) — Wastewater overflows into Blue River in Kansas City, Mo
  • ROCHESTER, Ind., July 6, 2010 (Water Tech) – Three-mile project will help polluted area
  • FREMONT, CA., July 7, 2010 (Water Tech) – Ghastly trend is leading to ground contamination
  • Montreal, July 7, 2010 (Water Tech) – Historic water levels and turbidity could raise taxes

    June 17, 2010

  • GUELPH, ONTARIO, May 28, 2010 (Water Tech) - Nestle Waters’ John B. Challinor II responds to bacteria in bottled water study
  • WASHINGTON, June 2, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA takes action to reduce pesticides in American waters
  • WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 (Water Tech) — Manufacturing facilities significant source of pharmaceuticals in water
  • KANSAS CITY, KAN., June 10, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA takes action against Iowa beef feedlots for Clean Water Act violations
  • GLOUCESTER, MASS., June 11, 2010 (Water Tech) —Residents call for city to delay conversion to chloramine disinfection
  • DANBY, VT., June 16, 2010 (Water Tech) —Pennsylvania House committee to hold public hearing on chloramines
  • SACRAMENTO, CALIF., June 16, 2010 (Water Tech) — California Water Board releases list of 1,700 severely polluted waterways

    April 15, 2010

  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL, March 23, 2010 (Water Tech) — West Palm Beach considers new $63 million water filtration system
  • WASHINGTON , March 24, 2010 (Water Tech) — AWWA supports EPA's new strategies for drinking water
  • RENO, NV, March 25, 2010 (Water Tech) — New EPA drinking water regulations could impact treatment costs in Nevada
  • LIMERICK, PA, March 29, 2010 (Water Tech) — Toxic plumes contaminate groundwater in PA
  • SACRAMENTO, March 31, 2010 (Water Tech) — Report on California water conditions published
  • PROVIDENCE, RI, April 2, 2010 (Water Tech) —R.I. floodwaters pose serious threat to public health
  • Arsenic in MT. VERNON, ID, April 8, 2010 (Water Tech) — drinking water disturbs Ind. resident
  • BERNALILLO, NM, April 9, 2010 (Water Tech) — N.M. town enacts action plan to reduce arsenic in drinking water
  • OAKLAND, MAINE, April 14, 2010 (Water Tech) — Researchers study link between high arsenic levels in groundwater and IQ

    February 12, 2010 News

  • DENVER, January 25, 2010 (Water Tech) — AWWA publishes fifth edition of Plain Talk About Drinking Water
  • CHICAGO, January 27, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA orders Illinois dairy to comply with Clean Water Act
  • DALLAS, January 29, 2010 (Water Tech) — Oklahoma business fined for violating Clean Water Act
  • CHARLOTTE, NC, February 3, 2010 (Water Tech) — State officials order Duke Energy to test for toxins in groundwater near coal plant
  • BRIDGEPORT, CONN., February 4, 2010 (Water Tech) — Hospital bans bottled water
  • FREMONT, OHIO, February 5, 2010 (Water Tech) — Drinking water tests reveal high nitrate concentrations
  • WILLIAMSBURG, VA, February 10, 2010 (Water Tech) — Navy holds meeting to discuss possible contamination of Waller Mill Reservoir
  • MEMPHIS, February 10, 2010 (Water Tech) — EPA sues city of Memphis for violations of Clean Water Act

    January 20, 2010 News

  • CHICAGO, December 28, 2009 (Water Tech) — EPA begins cleanup of Ottawa River
  • SAN GABRIEL VALLEY, CA, January 4, 2010 (Water Tech) — Polluted groundwater concerns officials
  • January 5, 2010 (Cool Site of the Day/EWG) — Is your drinking water safe?
  • NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC, January 6, 2010 (Water Tech) — Tests reveal high arsenic levels near schools
  • JEFFERSON CITY, MO, January 8, 2010 (Water Tech) — Tests reveal trace levels of hexavalent chromium in two cities’ water supplies
  • SANTA FE, January 15, 2010 (Water Tech) — Uranium, Arsenic and water softener salts found in New Mexico wells

    December 23, 2009

  • BOSTON, December 4, 2009 (Water Tech) — MA town faces $82K fine for drinking water violations
  • NEW YORK, December 8, 2009 (Water Tech) — Drinking water violations examined by NY Times
  • HIGH BRIDGE, NJ, December 10, 2009 (Water Tech) — High levels of lead at taps in NJ community
  • December 14, 2009 (Water Tech) — Tap water report reveals best and worst supplies
  • UTICA, NY, December 14, 2009 (Water Tech) — NY Rep probed over his bottled water budget
  • LAS VEGAS, NV, December 15, 2009 (Water Tech) – Las Vegas’ drinking water among worst in nation
  • RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA, December 15, 2009 (Water Tech) – Pollutants found in Riverside County’s water supply
  • POMPTON LAKES, N.J., December 17, 2009 (Water Tech) — Study of cancer cases in New Jersey underway
  • NEW YORK, December 17, 2009 (New York Times) — That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy
  • CHICAGO, IL, December 23, 2009 (Water Tech) — EPA begins cleanup of Ottawa River

    December 4, 2009

  • WASHINGTON, November 17, 2009 (Water Tech) — Akron, OH, to improve sewer system
  • IOWA CITY, IA, November 17, 2009 (Water Tech) — Study finds arsenic prevalent in rural IA wells
  • SCRANTON, PA, November 20, 2009 (Water Tech) — PA residents sue energy co. over water contamination
  • SPRINGFIELD, IL, November 23, 2009 (Water Tech) — TCE confirmed in IL communities’ supplies
  • MARIETTA, OH, November 30, 2009 (Water Tech) — High levels of nitrates prompt warning
  • CEDAR RAPIDS, IA, December 2, 2009 (Water Tech) — New study details Iowa’s emerging contaminants
  • HERSHEY, PA, December 2, 2009 (Water Tech) — PA AmWater system to switch to chloramines
  • RIALTO, CA, December 3, 2009 (Water Tech) — Perchlorate-tainted water gets federal attention

    September 24, 2009

  • An estimated 1 in 10 Americans have been exposed to drinking water that contains dangerous chemicals or fails to meet a federal health benchmark in other ways, an investigation by The New York Times has found. A report of the investigation was published in the September 13 edition of the newspaper. “Those exposures include carcinogens in the tap water of major American cities and unsafe chemicals in drinking-water wells. Wells, which are not typically regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, are more likely to contain contaminants than municipal water systems,” the report said. It notes that many who consume dangerous chemicals through their drinking water do not realize it because “most of today’s water pollution has no scent or taste.” READ MORE
  • The Water Quality Association (WQA) issued a September 14 press release urging consumers to consider installing final contaminant barriers in their homes.READ MORE

    September 4, 2009

  • NEW YORK , August 7, 2009 (Water Tech) — New York City wells are center of federal MTBE trial
  • LISLE, IL, August 7, 2009 (Water Tech) — New CA lead rule still vague, industry says
  • PAW PAW, MI, August 10, 2009 (Water Tech) — Polluted groundwater prompts bottled water, new wells
  • FORT MEADE, MD, August 14, 2009 (Water Tech) —Army looks for chemicals in private well water
  • GLOUCESTER, MA, August 19, 2009 (Water Tech) — Turbidity prompts water-use restrictions
  • BEND, OR, August 20, 2009 (Water Tech) — Water quality an issue for Oregon community
  • NEW YORK, August 24, 2009 (Water Tech) — High atrazine in water unreported, NY Times finds
  • MUNCIE, IN, August 31, 2009 (Water Tech) — POU devices may help, Indiana says of atrazine
  • MANCELONA, MI, September 1, 2009 (Water Tech) — Plume with TCE migrates toward well field

    July 09

  • WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 (Water Tech) — Carbonate aquifers low in contaminants: USGS
  • CHAPEL HILL, NC, June 29, 2009 (Water Tech) — UNC clean drinking water program gets boost
  • PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL, July 2, 2009 (Water Tech) — Cancer cluster raises questions about wells
  • FENNVILLE, MI, July 2, 2009 (Water Tech) — Birds Eye seeks to remedy well contamination
  • WASHINGTON, July 6, 2009 (Water Tech) — EPA revises Stage 2 DBP Rule
  • WOODLAND PARK, CO, July 8, 2009 (Water Tech) — Small system’s radium levels concern customers
  • ANNAPOLIS, MD, July 13, 2009 (Water Tech) — Tracing nitrates from groundwater to Chesapeake Bay
  • TORNILLO, TX , July 14, 2009 (Water Tech) — Stimulus funds slated for arsenic removal

    Following are excerpts taken from past News articles. We have listed them in state or country order. At the bottom of this list, you will find other various articles on contaminants and health issues.

    Many of these articles illustrate the length of time that passes between the time of contamination and the time the public is notified. In some cases, several years passed before anyone was notified that there was a contamination problem. And in other cases, consumers were not notified at all, unless an environmental or public interest group researched the matter and exposed the problem. Once the pollution is identified, it may take many years to solve the contamination problem. In the meantime, consumers' drinking water contains harmful contaminants.

    We hope you will consider you health enough reason to research and make a good decision to filter your own water right from the tap! That's the safest and most economical way to make sure your drinking water is healthy! When you are finished researching our news articles, we hope you will consider our solid carbon filters as a good choice for your health!


    Private well users urged to check for contaminants

    Robertsdale, AL - September 29, 2002, (al.com)
    Residents using private wells are urged to test their water for contamination following last week’s flooding, a Health Department official said.

    Floodwaters could have sent sewage, agricultural runoff and other contaminants into well systems, said the environmental supervisor for the Baldwin County Health Department. Anyone living in an area that was flooded during Tropical Storm Isadore should check their wells before drinking the water or using it to water animals, he said.

    Although water color can be an indication of a dirty well, he said, it does not necessarily warn an individual of the presence of contaminants.

    Report on water polluters in Alabama

    State of Alabama - August 7, 2002 (AL.com)
    The nonprofit Public Interest Research Group reported that 72 of Alabama's water polluters were significant, illegal polluters.

    Alabama's environmental agency reported that it is still capable of running its own water program.

    PIRG's report placed Alabama among the top 10 states with large factories or other major wastewater plants in violation of the Clean Water Act. Some of those violations were paperwork, and some were actual pollution.

    Using EPA's records, the group also found that 72 of Alabama's polluters were pouring toxins into waters at such a high rate that EPA classifies them as a significant problem.

    Violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act are not unusual in Alabama, or in any state. The report showed that six states had more illegal water polluters than Alabama. About 180 streams and lakes in Alabama are classified as impaired under the Clean Water Act, meaning they don't meet minimum pollution standards.

    Deadly PCBs, Dirt and Chemicals

    Anniston, AL - January 1, 2002 (Washington Post)

    "ON the west side of Anniston, the people ate dirt. They called it Alabama clay and cooked it for extra flavor. They also grew berries in their gardens, raised hogs in their backyards, caught bass in the murky streams where their children swam and played and were baptized. They didn't know their dirt and yards and bass and kids along with the acrid air they breathed were all contaminated with chemicals. They didn't know they lived in one of the most polluted patches of America.

    Now they know. They also know that for nearly 40 years, while producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs at a local factory, Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills.

    David Carpenter, an environmental health professor at the State University of New York at Albany, has been a leading advocate of the EPA's plan to dredge the Hudson, but he says the PCB problems in Anniston are much worse.

    In the absence of data, local residents seem to believe the worst. The stories linger: the cancer cluster up the hill; the dog that died after a sip from Snow Creek; the fish that turned belly-up within 10 seconds of being submerged in the creek."

    For the complete story CLICK HERE

    MTBE in the Water

    Montgomery, AL - January 8, 2002 (AP)

    "State officials are testing for contaminated soil and well water at several Montgomery County homes after one of six monitoring wells in the neighborhood tested positive for the fuel additive MTBE.

    Officials said the MTBE most likely leaked from a Mobil gas station. The station has been under scrutiny since inspectors detected a leak in its underground fuel tanks in 1988.

    Barry Wood, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil, said, we have been continually monitoring this site since 1988. A well tested and came up with MTBE. After you find it, you have to fix it. We are planning to fix it by hooking them up to public water. "

    More information on MTBE - http://www.theolivebranch.com/water/mtbe.htm


    Page drinking water contaminated

    Page, AZ - July 2, 2002 (Lake Powell Chronicle)

    Trace amounts of contaminant metals are showing up in Page's drinking water at levels exceeding those allowed by the EPA. City officials believe old water pipes are to blame, but replacing the city's water lines could cost as much as $10 million.

    It was not immediately clear what effects these substances might have on people who drink the water. Fred Ladman, city engineering spokesperson, said he did not believe the contamination posed any short-term risks. If you drink a couple glasses of water a day for a couple of months, nothing is going to happen to you, he said. What the long-term effects of this might be, I really can t say.

    The situation is serious enough that Mayor J. Dean Slavens recommended that residents in the affected area, especially children and senior citizens, consider switching to bottled drinking water until further testing yields more information.

    City fined for water, waste violations

    Phoenix, AZ - June 25, 2002 (Water Tech)

    The EPA and the US Department of Justice have fined the city of Phoenix $198,532 for numerous hazardous waste and water violations at its drinking water facilities on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

    Phoenix stored corrosive, hazardous waste without a permit, according to EPA; mistakenly combined ferric chloride and sulfuric acid two incompatible acids and moved the toxic mixture to an aboveground tank.

    The city also failed to immediately notify the National Response Center after it released approximately 14,000 gallons of the highly toxic mixture into tributaries of two rivers, EPA said.

    The release occurred in August 1996 and was not reported to the NRC until September 1997 more than 13 months later, the agency alleged.


    Major chromium-abatement water plan under way

    LaQuinta, CA, April 1, 2004 (Water Tech) -

    According to an article in Water Tech, A plume of chromium 6 (hexavalent chromium), has tained the groundwater, and the Colorado River which is a major source of drinking water for Southern California and Arizona. The water has migrated to within about 125-150 feet of the river.

    Plan waives water pollution rules for farmers

    Sacramento, CA - December 6, 2002,(Contra Costa Times) ­
    A key water overseer in California said tens of thousands of farms can continue to operate without limits on pesticides, salts and other pollutants that drain from their fields.

    The decision by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board came as a deep disappointment to environmentalists, who had hoped the expiration date on Dec. 31 of regulatory exemptions for farmers, logging operations and other diffused water pollution sources would lead to an aggressive new cleanup effort throughout the state.

    Instead water regulators decided to extend the waiver of permit requirements for two more years.

    Vended water flunks tests

    Los Angeles, CA - December 10, 2002, (L.A. Daily News) ­
    Water sold in vending machines near supermarkets by the largest seller in California fails to meet state standards one-third of the time and falls short of claims of being 97 percent contaminant-free, says a report released by Environmental Working Group and Environmental Law Foundation.

    The first study of its kind analyzed water from machines operated by San Diego County-based Glacier Water Services Inc. It mirrors findings on vending machine water by Los Angeles County.

    The study found that water from one-third of the Glacier machines tested exceeded the state health standard for contaminants that have been linked to increased cancer risk and birth defects if consumed above certain levels. More than two-thirds fell short of the company’s claim that the machines remove 97 percent of the contaminants.

    Glacier Water is California’s biggest operator of water-vending machines. The company operates more than 7,000 machines in California and 14,000 nationwide.
    ------------------------------- Wells to be tested over concerns about childhood cancer rates

    Valley Center, CA - November 26, 2002,(Water Tech Online)
    The school board authorized testing for MTBE at two school district water wells and another well at a softball field used by school children because of concerns over cases of cancer among area children.

    The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that researchers with the University of California Irvine Epidemiology Department confirmed eight cases of childhood cancer from 1997-2001 in Valley Center, when statistical formulas indicate about 3.8 cases would be normal.

    HP Labs of San Diego is conducting tests, requested by the residents, for chemical contamination on water samples taken from 14 pipes and storage facilities serving the Valley Center Municipal Water District.

    Cases of similar child cancers haunt neighborhood

    Sacramento, CA - September 22, 2002(Sacramento Bee)

    Shirley Reidenbach’s 6-year-old daughter was just starting her chemotherapy when she met Gretchen Jaeger, whose 4-year-old daughter was in her second month of treatment. Both girls had leukemia.

    The women were stunned to discover they lived just three blocks apart on the same street. “I thought it was just coincidence,” Jaeger recalled. “Then I heard about Denise.”

    Denise Norris lived around the corner from the Jaegers and was also starting chemotherapy. She had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer related to leukemia.

    All 3 neighbors were diagnosed in 1995. In 1998, a 3-year-old boy who lived a block away developed leukemia. Then in 2002, another child was diagnosed with leukemia.

    In addition to the five cases within those few blocks, at least nine other children and one adult in that area have been diagnosed with leukemia in the past 11 years. All 15 lived within 3 miles of the Jaegers’ street.

    The Reidenbachs no longer live in that neighborhood because they suspect the area’s well water is hurting the children.

    Last September, the owner of the water system found a nearby well polluted with a solvent chemical, PCE. The concentration in one sample was 15 times above the legal limit. Several health studies have shown a link between childhood leukemia and PCE.

    More information on this story:

    California urges study of alarming breast cancer rates

    San Francisco, CA - October 24, 2002, (Reuters)

    Faced with an alarming and unexplained rise in new breast cancer cases, California officials called Wednesday for a pilot program to monitor breast milk for signs that environmental contamination plays in a role in the spread of the deadly disease.

    "When women in America today are getting breast cancer at a rate that is three times the rate of 50 years ago, something is seriously wrong," state Assemblyman Dario Frommer said at a special joint meeting of the legislature's health committees. "We need to take a hard look at what is causing this surge in cancer and what we can do to reverse this trend."

    Breast cancer rates across the country have increased steadily in recent years, with the risk of a woman contracting the disease at some point during her life now at 1-in-8, against 1-in-22 just 50 years ago.

    "I believe it is high time to seriously consider environmental chemicals as the most likely cause of this sudden increase in risk," said Dr. Ana Soto, a breast cancer specialist at Tufts Medical School.

    While many breast cancer studies focus on genetics or lifestyle factors such as reproductive history, alcohol use, and exercise, Soto said there was little being done to assess how environmental toxins may be causing cancer.

    "The increasing risk of breast cancer and other cancers has paralleled the proliferation of synthetic chemicals since World War II," Soto said, adding that only 7 percent of the estimated 85,000 synthetic chemicals registered for use in the United States had been subjected to toxicological screening.

    Tap water poses risks, study says

    Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, CA - October 30, 2002 (LA Times)

    The water that residents of California’s largest cities get from their taps might meet most government safety standards, but it still poses some health risks and needs to be treated more thoroughly, according to a study released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

    A report called, "What's on Tap", concluded that antiquated waterworks and pollution are combining to affect the quality of drinking water residents receive in many cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
    More on that report - http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/uscities/execsum.asp

    Though many urban residents can drink tap water without serious threats to their health, the study concluded that some contaminants still pose a risk, especially to infants, pregnant women, and people with AIDS and other immune system deficiencies. In Fresno, the study found, the risk may be substantial. Fresno water showed “repeated problems” with pesticides and industrial chemicals.

    “There are still significant risks from contaminants,” said NRDC senior attorney Erik Olson, one of the study’s authors. “The other issue is that because of deteriorating infrastructure, and the need to improve pipes underground, things are likely to get worse unless significant improvements are made. “It’s like someone that hasn’t brushed their teeth in years,” he added. “It may be hidden for a while, but eventually it’s going to catch up with you.”

    Los Angeles water contains noteworthy amounts of disinfection byproducts, among other chemicals. San Francisco water does not meet a new standard for trihalomethanes that have been linked to cancer.

    Early ban of MTBE requested

    Pleasanton, CA, October 11, 2002 (Bay Area.com)
    Livermore-Amador Valley’s Zone 7 Water Agency is urging local gas stations to immediately convert to MTBE-free gasoline to help prevent groundwater contamination and millions of dollars in potential cleanup costs.

    Although California has postponed a ban of MTBE for another year, Zone 7 is seeking voluntary phase out now by stations with underground storage tanks located near municipal drinking water wells.

    Zone 7 has sent letters to about 50 stations within the “capture zones” of municipal wells asking them to voluntarily convert now, or at least to install monitoring equipment.

    “As manager of the groundwater basin, we must make every effort to protect our precious water resources, as well as the region’s 27 municipal wells from the very real threat of contamination posed by MTBE,” said Zone 7 board member John Marchand. Fifteen of those wells are in Pleasanton and 12 are in Livermore.

    He said water from those wells provides as much as one-third of the valley’s drinking water.

    Cleanup in Irvine, by Order of the Court

    Irvine, CA, October 9, 2002 (LA Times)
    Under police guard, a construction crew began a project aimed at removing pollutants from under an Irvine gas station despite protests from the business owner.

    County prosecutors took the unusual step of getting a court order to perform the work, saying leaking underground gas tanks were threatening the local water supply. It’s the latest step in a crackdown on environmental pollution by a special unit of the district attorney’s office.

    The owner of Alfie’s Place, a busy service station, carwash and lube shop, has been fighting for several years with the former owner, Unocal, over the placement of equipment needed to clean up underground pollutants. Unocal agreed in 1995 to clean up pollutants that leaked from its underground tanks before it sold the station.

    The owner said he was shocked when a police officer, district attorney investigator and construction crews entered his property to begin the cleanup. Burnstine went to court Tuesday to stop the work, but a judge declined to issue a restraining order.

    Tests have shown that MTBE slowly is seeping under the Alfie’s Place property and poses a potential threat to a “major drinking-water aquifer” a few miles away.

    Lead in water raises concerns

    Modesto, CA - September 13, 2002(Modesto Bee)

    Officials say lead levels high enough to trigger additional water treatment have been found in homes near Groveland, though they add that people should not be alarmed.

    Groveland is about 25 miles west of Yosemite National Park.

    Lead, a common metal, can cause damage to the brain, red blood cells and kidneys. The greatest risk is to young children and pregnant women. Lead seldom occurs naturally in water. Most often it leaches into drinking water from pipes.

    The district is required to control pipeline corrosion, a source of lead, once more than 10 percent of homes tested are found to have lead levels above the 15 ppb level, James Hampton, operations supervisor for the Groveland Community Services District.

    Valley Center to expand water testing

    Valley Center, CA - September 6, 2002(North County Times)

    Water district officials plan to begin testing Valley Center water for at least 49 possible contaminants to see if they can be linked to a group of cancer cases among community residents.

    In mid-August we received a list of 89 chemicals from the local cancer-cluster coordinating committee through UC Irvine, Valley Center Water District General Manager Gary Arant said. We took it to our board of directors, and they approved additional testing.

    More than a dozen children in the Valley Center area have developed leukemia or brain tumors in recent years, which is about twice the national average of cases for a population that size. Residents there have formed the independent group Concerned Citizens of Valley Center to study the matter and to raise money for the families of patients.

    Arant said the chemicals on the new list are all pesticides used in the Valley Center area between 1990 and 2000, taken from records kept by the state Department of Agricultural Weights and Measures.

    Crews clean an MTBE leak in Los Osos

    Los Osos, CA - August 6, 2002 (The Tribune)

    Crews digging at a former Chevron station of Los Osos Valley Road are now in the midst of a second cleanup of soil and groundwater contaminated with a potentially harmful gasoline additive.

    Gasoline tanks leaked MTBE into the soil and groundwater, and was detected in a nearby drinking water well, said Corey Walsh, a geologist with the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The state agency is overseeing the MTBE cleanup.

    Around here where you have shallow groundwater, by the time you find it (in soil) it s contaminated the groundwater, Walsh said.

    Leaks were originally reported in June 1990, Walsh said, and a cleanup followed years later. The station voluntarily stopped selling gasoline in May 2001, and its underground storage tank was removed two months later.

    Distrusting the tap. Weariness over water reflects public's mood

    Sacramento, CA - July 20, 2002(Sacramento Bee)

    Californians don't think much of the government's ability to protect the environment, and most put this belief into action with every swallow they take.

    Only a quarter of Californians routinely drink the water that comes from a tap. In Los Angeles, only 18 percent trust the tap. Another 32 percent take it filtered. Residents in the Central Valley drink straight tap water more than any other region, and they're still a minority only 33 percent.

    This finding was part of a broader tapping of the state's environmental pulse by the Public Policy Institute of California.

    "Area south of Sebastopol told to avoid contact with water that may contain toxins"

    Sebastopol, CA - May 13, 2002 (Press Democrat)

    State water officials are trying to figure out why several private wells south of Sebastopol are contaminated with dangerous chemicals that may cause cancer and other health problems.

    The state first learned about the contamination more than three years ago, but officials began investigating this year when the chemicals were found in a fourth well on Lynch Road.

    A lack of funding prevented earlier investigation, according to officials with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

    For now, the source of the contamination, how long it has been in the groundwater and how many wells are contaminated is a mystery.

    Nobody shows any signs of illness from the water now, said Neil Bickerton, resident. I m worried my kids will get cancer of the liver or kidneys when they're in their 30s.

    Tests have so far detected chemicals, tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE), in at least 13 wells in the area, state officials said. The chemicals exceed state and federal safe drinking water standards in at least four of the wells, state records show.

    "MTBE tainted water dumped in Kern"

    Bakersfield, CA - March 31, 2002 (Bakersfield Californian)

    Without informing local regulators, Chevron Texaco Corp. has been trucking water contaminated with the controversial gasoline additive MTBE into Kern County for most of the past year and injecting it into oil wells in the form of steam.

    A coastal water board, with no jurisdiction over Kern, apparently approved the plan after two other coastal agencies refused to allow Chevron to dump the stuff in their boundaries.

    The contaminated water contains a few hundred parts of MTBE per billion parts of water, according to Chevron spokesman Ed Spaulding. It is being injected as steam used to heat and soften crude oil and make it easier to pump to the surface. The water that returns to the surface with the oil is then separated from the oil, filtered and recycled into the steam process.

    The contaminated water comes from the scenic coastal town of Cambria, six miles south of Hearst Castle and about 100 miles northwest of Bakersfield. Gasoline containing MTBE apparently leaked from a tank beneath a Chevron service station on the town s main street.

    It has destroyed several private wells in the Kern County town of Glennville, which has no community water system.

    There are some 10,000 contaminated sites in the state so far.

    Pollution fuels fears about water

    San Bernardino, CA -August 7, 2002 (Press-Enterprise)

    A plume of groundwater contamination covers a larger area of Rialto, Fontana and Colton than previously reported, and water officials are worrying about loss of drinking-water wells in a time of drought.

    The plume now extends south and has closed at least 14 drinking-water wells. The seven contaminated wells closed by the Fontana Water Co. amount to a loss of 15,000 gallons per minute, General Manager Michael McGraw said.

    The underground contamination has been spreading for many years from an industrial area in northern Rialto.

    "MTBE more than halfway to Truckee River"

    Lake Tahoe, CA - March 26, 2002 - (Tahoe Daily Tribune)

    MTBE contaminated groundwater is 800 feet from Upper Truckee River, according to soil samples collected for the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.

    The MTBE, a suspected carcinogen, came from a leaking pipe at the Beacon gas station in Meyers. The leak was discovered in 1997. Lahontan and South Tahoe Public Utility District have battled the water-soluble fuel additive ever since.

    The samples, taken in December, show the MTBE contaminated water plume has moved about 2,000 feet from its point of origin toward the Upper Truckee, a tributary of Lake Tahoe and Lake Baron.

    The agency has been working to clean up the site since 1998. That s when it gave up trying to get owner Joe Tveten to comply with its directives.

    The agency did not identify the location of the leak until last fall. Tventen failed to reveal its whereabouts before he committed suicide in the winter of 2000.

    Lahontan removed 400 cubic feet MTBE contaminated soil from the area. More dirt needed to come out, but at the time, the Beacon was open for business and Lahontan did not want to jeopardize the station s gas tanks, said Lisa Dernbach, senior engineering geologist at Lahontan.

    District says leak of MTBE threatens water supply

    Ventura County, CA - June 20, 2002,(Inside VC)

    Local water officials are warning of catastrophic damage to nearly a quarter of Ventura County's water supply because cleanup of a leaky underground fuel storage tank in Oxnard is lagging months behind schedule.

    A plume of the gasoline additive MTBE has been tracked by United Water Conservation District officials. They fear it is moving increasingly closer to pumps supplying drinking water to almost 200,000 people in Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

    The plume has moved to within 1,300 feet of district wells.

    If I were an Oxnard citizen, I would be concerned about having this cleanup done as soon as possible so it's not a loaded gun, said Steve Bachman, groundwater manager with the district.

    Californians shy from taste of tap

    Walnut Creek, CA - June 27, 2002,(Contra Costa Times)

    More than 70 percent of California residents do not drink straight tap water in their homes, according to a statewide survey the Public Policy Institute of California released today. Instead, the 2,029 residents questioned overwhelmingly prefer bottled and filtered water, the report states.

    Consumers shy away from tap water because of taste preference, a response to advertising and some concern about quality, said Steven Hall, director of the Association of California Water Agencies, a statewide lobbying group.

    "Board discusses progress of groundwater cleanup"

    Bloomington, CA, March 27, 2002 (LA Times)

    A plume of groundwater contaminated by a toxic gasoline additive is on top of an inactive water well and 500 to 600 feet away from an active well that serves a portion of about 13,500 people within the Bloomington area, a Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board official said Tuesday.

    Gasoline started leaking into the ground from a fuel storage tank terminal near the Rialto-Colton border about 25 years ago. The contaminated plume has been moving in a southerly direction. The Santa Ana water board has been overseeing the cleanup work since 1993.

    Though little is known about the Colton site prior to 1974, there have been 14 spills reported since then, totaling about 268,000 gallons of fuel. There are 47 above ground tanks that store 63 million gallons of fuel.

    Williams said the plume has moved in the last three years at a speed of about a foot to a half-foot a day. The contaminated water is leaking southward from the tank farm.

    "Water faces threat"

    Bakersfield, CA - April 7, 2002 - (Bakersfield Californian)

    Three plumes of gasoline have developed from leaky tanks near the mountain community of Bear Valley Springs, possibly contaminating one drinking water well and creeping toward others. At least one of the sites has been allowed to fester for a decade.

    That tainted site developed from a leaking underground gas tank at a county fire station, and while the county has been aware of its existence for years, officials have considered the contamination a low priority.

    MTBE has also been found in groundwater at the nearby prison. There, the chemical has been found at levels more than 1,000 times the health standard. While the contamination is about a mile from drinking water wells, officials are very concerned about this site.

    "Two oil giants deceived the public on MTBE s hazards, jury finds "

    San Francisco, CA - April 17, 2002 - (Chronicle)

    In a landmark case, a San Francisco jury has found that gasoline with the additive MTBE is a defective product and that two major oil companies were aware of the chemical s dangers but withheld the information when they put it on the market.

    The verdict, the first of its kind, came after seven weeks of deliberation in a five-month trial. Dozens of such cases are pending against the nation s largest oil companies that could expose the industry to billions of dollars in cleanup costs and punitive damages.

    According to state records, there are 1,189 underground tank sites leaking MTBE within 1,000 feet of public supply wells or on vulnerable drinking water aquifers. An additional 1,729 leaking tank sites farther away from drinking water wells also pose a concern.

    "Cattle Ranch fined for polluting waterways"

    Sacramento, CA - March 19, 2002, (Watertech)

    A Tehama County ranch accused of dumping dead cattle and manure into creeks that feed into the Sacramento River was fined $1.7 million on Monday by a US District Court judge.

    With 6,000 cattle producing an estimated 391,000 pounds of manure a day, the Masami Ranch first ran into trouble in 1995, when water quality regulators cited it for various violations, according to state officials, the Sacramento Bee reported. In January 2000, the attorney general's office filed a civil complaint against the ranch and its owners. It alleged the ranch was mishandling manure, and had intentionally dumped waste and dead cattle into streams feeding the Sacramento River.

    For about four years, the ranch discharged manure wastewater into two creeks that feed into the Sacramento River. The defendants also admitted in court to dumping dead cattle into ravines and waterways on the ranch.

    "Farm water runoff exemption may be coming to an end"

    Fallbrook, CA - March 20, 2002, (North County Times)

    North County (San Diego) farmers and growers and their counterparts throughout the state may soon lose an exemption they have had for the last 20 years regarding agricultural water runoff.

    Across the nation, excessive fertilizer and animal manure washing off of fields is blamed for poisoning fish and destroying the ecology of lakes and rivers as well as forcing municipal water agencies to spend huge amounts to treat water. Until now, agriculture has been largely exempt for treating farm runoff except for ensuring massive amounts of pesticides and other contaminants were not escaping.

    The California State Water Resources Control Board is getting ready to launch a nine-month project involving growers, environmentalists and other interested parties in developing a measure to control the effects of agricultural water runoff. The state board and its nine regional boards, including the board for the San Diego region, are planning a series of public workshops throughout the state.

    Fresno, CA, March 5, 2002 (Fresno Bee)

    The state Water Resources Control Board plans a series of public hearings beginning this spring to discuss a first-ever pesticide monitoring program.

    We don t know what is coming off the fields, and that is what we are spending the money to figure out, Arthur Baggett Jr., water board chairman, said.

    In addition to the $2 million for pesticide monitoring, the board plans to spend at least $600,000 during the next two years to find less toxic pesticides for farms and ranches.

    WaterKeepers Northern California, a nonprofit group, claims pesticides have polluted 500 miles of waterways in Northern California.

    Farmers said they also are concerned about possible contamination and want to work with the water resources board to create a sensible approach to monitoring.

    Mendota, CA - February 28, 2002 (Watertech)

    Officials are exploring converting agricultural drainage water into tap water in an area that has a long history of water that is undrinkable.

    For years, the water in this city has violated state Department of Health secondary drinking-water standards, meaning it does not taste or smell good, the newspaper said. Engineers blame the water woes on salty irrigation water that has been flowing in since the 1980s, when the federal government closed the San Luis Drain system.

    It was closed after biologists found hundreds of dead and deformed wildlife at Kesterson reservoir, where the drain water pooled, and years later, Mendota residents are paying for the contamination that has seeped into their water supply.

    Newport Beach, CA - March 5, 2002 (LA Times)

    Tiny, worm-like midge fly larvae in tap water in some parts of the city have caused officials to stop all water service from Big Canyon Reservoir.

    After residents reported seeing what appeared to be worms in their tap water and toilets, city officials on February 25 began supplying water to all homes and businesses directly from the Metropolitan Water District.

    The fly larvae, measuring about a 16th to an 8th of an inch long, are harmless, though unpleasant, officials said. Translucent and smaller than a grain of rice, they are difficult to see. From time to time, this can happen at an uncovered reservoir, said Pete Anista, the city s utilities director. There s no real way to get rid of them. We ve added chlorine, and we re hoping that they will run their cycle.

    The reservoir normally supplies water to most parts of the city. Until recently, about three-quarters of the reservoir's water originated from city wells in Fountain Valley and nearby. In January, the wells were shut down after the potentially hazardous chemical Dioxane 1,4 was found in them.

    The city's push to cover the reservoir has been stalemated in Washington for months as city officials have been looking for ways to help pay the $4.2 million cost of a soft plastic cover for the reservoir. Most recently, city officials have been trying to solicit the help of Rep. Chris Cox to obtain federal funding.

    Garberville, CA - February 23, 2001(ENS)

    "An environmental group plans to sue Maxxam/Pacific Lumber over more than a million alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

    At issue are the hundreds of pipes, ditches, culverts, landslides and other erosion sites that pervade the watersheds in Northern Humboldt County. As water gets channeled through these various conduits, it combines with pollution from clear-cut and herbicide laden hillsides, then flows into streams and rivers.

    The California Department of Forestry, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and US EPA have all declared that the cumulative impacts from logging operations in these areas are severe.

    A report released late last year by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board shows that between 1994 and 1997, sediment delivery increased 1,161 percent in Stitz Creek and 1,365 percent in Bear Creek, EPIC notes. The North Coast Regional Board is the state agency charged with enforcing state and federal water pollution control laws in the North Coast region."

    The notice of intent to sue is available at Click here - http://www.wildcalifornia.org

    The report from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is available at Click here -http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/~rwqcb1/

    Lodi, California, March 15, 2001 (Lodi Bureau Chief)

    "Toxic solvents at unsafe levels found in tests. An official involved in testing said, that preliminary results are "disturbing." Perchloroethylene, or PCE, has reportedly contaminated groundwater which effects wells. City and state officials are concerned about the threat to drinking water supplies."

    Los Angeles, March 4, 2002 (AP)

    Drought has engulfed nearly a third of the United States, threatening to confront some places this summer with what experts say could be their worst water shortage in years.

    In the last six months, Los Angeles has seen just over a third of its usual 11 inches.

    Overall, drought has spread to about 30 percent of the country, according to forecaster Richard Tinker at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.


    Vancouver, BC - November 20, 2001 (National Post)

    "British Columbians who think they’re suffering from the stomach flu or food poisoning may instead have had drinking water contaminated with parasites, the provincial health officer said. Dr. Perry Kendall told a news conference that for many years, British Columbia has had the highest rate of gastrointestinal or stomach illness in Canada.

    While there’s no way to tell exactly what causes most of the stomach ailments, the water is the likely culprit, Kendall said in releasing his annual health report for 2000.

    He also said people with diseases such as AIDS or cancer are especially at risk of contracting a water-borne illness and should boil their drinking water.

    Three quarters of the province’s water comes from lakes, creeks, rivers or rainfall, sources that are susceptible to contamination because they aren’t treated, Kendall said.

    That means parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium, which are resistant to traditional disinfectants such as chlorine, aren’t removed.

    At the latest count, British Columbia had 304 water systems on boil-water advisories, up from 220 last year, Kendall said."

    North America Shifts pollution from air to land/water

    Montreal, Canada, May 31, 2002 (ENS)

    Factories, electric utilities, hazardous waste management facilities and coal mines in the U.S. and Canada generated almost 3.4 million metric tons of toxic chemical waste in 1999, shows an annual report from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America. The wastes included 269,000 tons of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive problems.

    The report, Taking Stock is based on reports submitted to the national pollutant release and transfer registers of Canada and the U.S. by industry, and includes data on 210 chemical substances. This year, the study also presents the first five year analysis of pollution releases and management.

    The North American manufacturing sector's 25 percent reduction in releases to air was offset by a 26% increase in releases to lakes, rivers and streams.

    Out of the air, into the water and land emerges as a major trend from our five year analysis, said Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) executive director Janine Ferretti.

    For the complete report, go to: http://www.cec.org/takingstock


    State has plans to inventory sources of water pollution

    Killingly, CT - October 28, 2002 (Norwich Bulletin)
    The state Department of Public Health outlined plans for a statewide inventory of potential sources of water contamination.

    Whether it’s industrial or agricultural sources or underground fuel storage tanks, Lori Mathieu of the DPH’s water supply division said that the survey would identify any potential threats to public water supplies.

    Ratings for each area will indicate susceptibility of water sources to potential sources of contamination. Any problems that are located could force testing of the water supplies. In all, the project will cover 3,400 public water supply systems and 4,500 sources of supply.

    Dirty well problems persist

    Stafford, CT - September 5, 2002 (the Hartford Courant)

    Three weeks after a solution was proposed to fix a chronic well problem in Stafford Hollow, First Selectman Gordan J. Frassinelli Jr. sat down with residents and asked, how's the water?

    Not good was the answer, but he already knew that. It looks a little better, Sharon Miller said. It still smells like dirt.

    More than a decade ago, the homeowners had to abandon wells after the groundwater became contaminated with salt and gasoline. The town reached an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection to supply clean water. Initially, the town provided bottled water and filters but later drilled a public well.

    Residents say turning on the tap is a gamble; they never know if it will flow clear or dingy. The owners of the water treatment system suggested that providing residents with clean water would require either a substantial upgrade of the system or finding a second well.

    One problem state officials are hoping to avoid is using too much chlorine, which raises the sodium in the water.


    Schools promote water for brainpower

    June 17, 2002, Yorkshire, England (Water Tech)

    A campaign has been launched in schools in Yorkshire, England to encourage children to drink more water to increase their concentration.

    A report from the BBC News said studies have found that children who are dehydrated do not work as well in the classroom as those who have consumed the recommended eight glasses of water a day.

    Yvonne Davison, a teacher at one of the schools involved in a pilot program, said she strongly supported the program. All brain activity is neurological and is a chemical activity which doesn t function without water.


    Water Alert Breakdown

    Tampa, FL - October 2, 2002 (Tampa Tribune)

    The water department issued an alert warning customers not to consume or cook with tap water unless it had been boiled for at least a minute because of possible contamination. The alert went out to the news media and the public four hours after the water plant lost power, causing a temporary drop in water pressure.

    “We learned from this,” said Mayor Dick Greco. “We learned that we need to do a better job. It is not acceptable for three or four hours to go by before we send out a notice.”

    The water department will meet with city and county emergency officials to come up with a plan for notifying the public of emergencies, he said.

    The problem extended beyond the delayed news release. The water department didn’t tell the mayor’s office about the problem until mid-afternoon. Most city employees, including the mayor’s communications director, weren’t notified at all.

    Restaurants and School Districts also were not notified.

    Mayor Greco called the communications breakdown a “wake-up call.”

    Orlando, FL - May 2, 2002 (AP)

    Central Florida's main source of drinking water contains traces of a potentially toxic chemical leaking from a former Superfund cleanup site, officials said.

    Environmental Protection Agency officials hope to identify the pollutant in the coming weeks and determine its health risk, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

    The substance, composed of pesticide molecules long classified as toxic, seeped into the ground below the abandoned Tower Chemical Co. plant.

    The pollutant then traveled through a sinkhole 90 feet underground into the Floridian Aquifer, a layer of porous rock from which most of the region draws its drinking water.

    EPA officials don't know how far the chemical might spread. So far, most of the contamination is within 100 feet of the sinkhole, said EPA site manager Galo Jackson. Minute traces were also found in drinking water wells of several nearby homes.

    Boca Raton and Florida - January 11, 2002, (Florida Today)

    "The water they drink puts more than 1,700 pregnant women in Florida at risk of miscarriages or birth defects each year, according to a study released by two environmental groups (Public Interest Research Groups and Environmental Working Group).

    Florida ranked 14th worst in the nation for the number of pregnancies at risk of exposure to high levels of chlorination byproducts, the study found. Boca Raton was the worst in the state and 36th in the nation with 654 pregnancies at risk. "

    Wekiva River, FL - February 18, 2002 (Orlando Sentinel)

    His son had been hospitalized in St. Petersburg with cancer for several months when Jim Williams returned to make a quick check on his home along the Wekiva River. From his backyard, he watched an airboat roar by, dousing the river with weedkiller. Suddenly, he had a queasy feeling and an urgent need for an answer. He flagged down the boat s crew and was stunned by what he heard.

    He had no idea that the chemical the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been spraying could have poisoned the river water his family uses. And the corps didn t know that Williams and other residents used river water in their homes every day.

    Williams and his wife would go on to learn that a weedkiller sprayed on the Wekiva is linked to the type of cancer that nearly killed their son, now 7 and still battling the disease.

    The Wekiva long has been a source of not just bathing and washing water for river dwellers, but drinking water as well. And rules that govern the corps weedkiller prohibit drinking treated water for as much as three weeks.

    For 50 years, the corps has sprayed 2,4-D to kill a non-native and fast-growing nuisance called water hyacinth.

    The Williamses had agonized for months about what had ignited their son s non-Hodgkin s lymphoma. They began investigating 2,4-D right after Williams learned of its use on the river. So far, the one cancer linked by studies to 2,4-D is non-Hodgkin s lymphoma.

    For the complete story, CLICK HERE - http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orl-asecherbicide18021802feb18.story


    Disease outbreaks from pools, water increase, CDC reports

    Atlanta, GA - November 22, 2002, (AP) ­
    Outbreaks of disease from drinking water and swimming pools have risen dramatically in recent years despite improvements in publicly operated water systems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

    “Many of these drinking water outbreaks are preventable,” said Sherline Lee of the CDC. “Whether from the tap or a bottle, the public should think about where their water comes from and whether it has been made safe.”

    About 70 percent of the outbreaks traced to swimming pools involved the chlorine-resistant cryptosporidium.

    Germs found in wells and other sources of drinking water can include giardia and cryptosporidium.

    Two people died and 122 people were hospitalized in drinking water outbreaks in 1999 and 2000, the CDC said. A total of 2,027 people were made ill by drinking water outbreaks in 1999-2000.
    -------------------- Disease outbreaks from pools, drinking water increase, CDC reports

    Atlanta, GA - November 22, 2002,(Contra Costa Times)
    Outbreaks of disease from drinking water and swimming pools have risen dramatically in recent years despite improvements in publicly operated water systems, the government said.

    One of the chief causes includes insufficient regulation of private wells, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

    “Many of these drinking water outbreaks are preventable,” said Sherline Lee of the CDC. “Whether from the tap or the bottle, the public should think about where their water comes from and whether it has been made safe.”

    Germs found in wells and other sources of drinking water can include parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium.

    State of Georgia - March 4, 2002 (AP)

    Drought has engulfed nearly a third of the United States, threatening to confront some places this summer with what experts say could be their worst water shortage in years.

    Thousands of shallow wells in New Hampshire and Georgia have run dry. In the last six months, Los Angeles has seen just over a third of its usual 11 inches.

    Overall, drought has spread to about 30 percent of the country, according to forecaster Richard Tinker at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.


    Public talks set on tainted wells

    Downers Grove, IL - September 4, 2002 (Chicago Tribune)

    Last month the EPA notified 14 businesses and a public utility in the industrial park that they are potentially liable for the contamination found in hundreds of private wells south of the Downers Grove site. Of 500 homes tested by the Illinois EPA in unincorporated Downers Grove, more than 400 have private wells contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE) or a combination of the two chemicals, which are used as solvents.

    The contaminated wells came to light after Lockformer announced in mid-2000 that numerous spills of TCE had occurred at its metal fabricating plant on Ogden Avenue in Lisle. After several private wells south of the plant tested positive for TCE, the Illinois EPA conducted a wide sampling of water. State and federal officials believe Lockformer is the source of contamination only of wells in Lisle and unincorporated areas near Lisle and Woodridge.

    Herbicide traces force school to convert to bottled water

    Chicago, IL - March 25, 2002, (Watertech)

    A school in the St. Charles suburb of Chicago is installing a new water-filtration system because of concerns over traces of a potentially dangerous herbicide in wells.

    The herbicide was found in some samples of water taken by a consulting firm that has been conducting an environmental analysis at the school, the Chicago Tribune reported.

    The herbicide has the potential to cause liver damage. Regulations set by the EPA limit its concentration in drinking water to no more than 0.5 parts per million (ppm). The levels found at Anderson School ranged from 0.032 ppm to 1.15 ppm, said spokesman Tom Hernandez.

    Officials acted with caution, he said, and decided to turn off the water until a charcoal filter that will remove the herbicide is in place, the newspaper said.

    The consulting firm recommended a filtering system be installed to ensure the safety of the Anderson School water supply. The firm was hired in January for an environmental analysis of the school in the wake of teacher health complaints. Those complaints include 12 cases of cancer among teachers and staff over the last 27 years, as well as respiratory problems.

    Fred Carlson, director of environmental health for Kane County, said the school took appropriate action by converting to bottled water and agreeing to install a filtering system. He said the county Health Department is considering further tests of groundwater in the area.

    Lisle, IL - January 11, 2002 (PR Newswire)

    "Chlorination of public drinking water may lead to harmful chemical byproducts such as chloroform, trihalomethanes, and haloacetic acids flowing from home taps according to a study released by the Environmental Working Group and the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.

    The study reports that such byproducts in drinking water may put pregnant women at a higher risk for miscarriages, neural tube defects, and reduced fetal growth. At the same time, physicians universally recommend that pregnant women drink plenty of water.

    The issue is complex. Chlorination of public drinking water ensures that consumers have safe drinking water according to the Water Quality Association. Together with filtration, chlorination is one of the greatest public health advancements of this millennium, notes WQA Executive Director Peter Censky. Unfortunately, however, chlorination does introduce potentially toxic contaminant byproducts.

    There is a solution to the dilemma, however. Consumers can have the best of both worlds when it comes to their household water supply. Municipal water treatment systems must continue to use essential chlorination processes to safeguard against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Fortunately, there are several at-home devices that cheaply and simply remove possible chlorine byproducts, Harrison notes.

    In addition to safeguarding pregnant women and potential bladder cancer victims from more than 100 potentially toxic chlorination byproduct compounds, commonly available home filtration units can also remove unpleasant tastes and smells associated with chlorinated water."


    Chemical is seeping into water

    Martinsville, IN, January 7, 2003, (Indianapolis Star)
    A cancer-causing chemical is leaking into Martinsville’s water system, causing city officials to shut down a well and begin planning expensive options to clean up the drinking water supply.

    State environmental officials are looking for the source of the tetrachloroethylene (PCE), an industrial-strength degreasing and cleaning chemical often used by drycleaners that was discovered nearly a month ago in city water.

    They said the problem could be the legacy of chemicals dumped or buried decades ago that slowly are seeping underground and reaching the city’s wells.

    The city’s well field is near the former sites of several brick-making and other factories and a former city dump.

    MTBE in school’s drinking water

    Roselawn, IN - November 18, 2002(Northwest Indiana News)

    High levels of the gasoline additive MTBE were found in Lincoln Elementary School’s drinking water. The contamination was made public in April, but lab results showed that students were exposed to it for at least two years.

    To a number of parents, the findings were a possible answer to why their children had been suffering from a host of vague illnesses, from stomachaches and headaches to more serious maladies.

    Some students’ symptoms cleared up when school was not in session, only to return when students returned to classes, parents have said.

    Kids drank MTBE-laced water for two years

    Roselawn, IN - July 17, 2002, (Water Tech Online)

    State environmental officials said that a service station is the primary source of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) contamination of drinking water at an elementary school in Roselawn, IN, and that kids likely have been drinking MTBE-laced water for at least two years.

    The Associated Press reported that investigators from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) found that most of the MTBE in Lincoln Elementary Schools drinking water originated one-third of a mile away at the Bozeman Oil Co.

    According to the news service, more than 450 elementary students have been drinking water tainted with MTBE, a possible human carcinogen, for at least two years.

    The children could have been drinking the tainted water for a longer period since the school only began testing for MTBE in 2000.

    Some drinking water at the school tested as high as 350 parts per billion of MTBE.

    Both the EPA and the IDEM consider any water with more than 45 ppb unsafe to drink.

    Students and parents have been suffering from unexplained illnesses, including stomach aches, migraines, respiratory problems, rashes and nosebleeds, although the cause of the ailments has not been determined.

    Roselawn, Indiana (Washington, DC, May 9, 2002 - ENS)

    Stephenson told the lawmakers about a school in Roselawn, Indiana that discovered the children had been using and drinking water with 10 times the EPA's recommended safe limit of the gasoline additive MTBE.

    This is a detailed report on leaking tanks: http://ens-news.com/ens/may2002/2002L-05-09-05.html


    Bosier, LA - October 25, 2001 (Water Tech Online)

    "While miles apart geographically, the communities of Columbus, MI; Bossier City, LA; and Avoca, PA have similarities: they are primarily small rural communities that have similar high rates of some of the same types of cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems, according to Gibbons Law Firm.

    Attorney Jim Gibbons alleges that the health problems are the direct result of operations at Kerr-McGee wood treatment facilities in all three communities.

    Kerr-McGee’s wood treatment plants operate in the company’s Forest Products Division, which provides treatment for about 40 percent of the railroad crossties in the United States. Up until the mid-1970s, pentachlorophenol (PCP) was used to treat the wood at the Columbus plant. The use of PCP has since been discontinued.

    PCPs contain substances that are toxic to humans, and additional toxic substances are produced throughout the treatment process. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, dioxin, lead, chromium, and benzene.

    According to the lawyers representing the residents, these substances have been improperly handled and disposed of for years, contaminating the surface water and groundwater in the surrounding communities."


    Lead levels prompt alert

    Richmond, ME, January 15, 2003, (Times Record)
    The Richmond Utilities District has told customers about the presence of elevated lead levels in town drinking water.

    Bruce Gardner, Richmond Utilities District superintendent, said information about lead levels was distributed with customer bills earlier this month. In two different sets of water quality testing last fall, two out of 10 local homes were found to have elevated lead levels in their water.

    Lead amounts over the primary drinking water standard of 0.015 milligrams per liter may cause nervous system disorders and brain and kidney damage. It is very harmful to unborn children and children under 3 years old, according to a Maine Department of Human Services Web site.

    The town had not failed a lead test until last fall, said Dana Ivers, lead and copper rule coordinator for DHS’ drinking water program.

    Since the testing showed two out of ten homes with lead, the district informed residents about the problem.


    Westminster, Maryland - February 19, 2002 (Carroll County Times)

    "Maryland's tap water may be putting women at risk of having pregnancies end in miscarriage or having children with birth defects, according to a report by two environmental groups (Public Interest Research Groups and Environmental Working Group).

    14 communities in Maryland had a relatively high proportion of people projected to be at risk from using their local drinking water. The group arrived at its findings after reviewing data on tap water contaminated by trihalomethanes, one of the principal byproducts of chlorination. The Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration, provided these results."

    The full report is available at: http://www.marypirg.org

    Baltimore, MD - March 4, 2002 (AP)

    Drought has engulfed nearly a third of the United States, threatening to confront some places this summer with what experts say could be their worst water shortage in years.

    Already, New York and Baltimore are pumping water from temporary supplies normally avoided for their potentially less desirable color or taste.


    High Lead Found in Boston Area Water

    Washington, April 28, 2004 (Washington Post)

    Federal and state regulators ruled yesterday that the drinking water delivered to 2.5 million customers in the Boston region has lead levels above the acceptable national standard, a decision prompted in part by lead problems in the District's water supply.

    By law, customers in Boston and its suburbs must be notified that the water could pose health risks to vulnerable populations, such as young children and pregnant women.

    Experts tell Mendon residents about dangers of lead poisoning

    Mendon, MA, May 3, 2002 (Milford Daily News)

    The levels of toxic lead found in private drinking water wells in the Blackstone Street area are so high that residents should avoid brushing their teeth with it, according to experts.

    Dangerous lead particles can also become airborne through hot showers or baths and then be ingested or breathed, according to Paul Riendeau, educational coordinator at New England Water Works in Holliston, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about drinking water.

    As for bathing and washing, that is something that should be looked at very carefully. When it comes to your health, you don t want to take a chance, especially with children, said Riendeau.

    Breathing or ingesting lead-laced water is far worse than absorption through skin. If children are exposed to excessive levels of lead, it can cause brain damage, affect growth, damage kidneys, impair hearing, cause vomiting, headaches and appetite loss, and learning and behavioral problems, according to the National Safety Council. In adults, lead can increase blood pressure and cause digestive problems, kidney damage, nerve disorders, sleep problems, muscle and joint pain, and mood changes.

    Drinking the water puts lead directly in the digestive system, potentially causing such health problems within weeks. Absorption through the skin could take months or years before a problem is noted, Riendeau said.

    Riendeau couldn t give the exact concentration when lead can become airborne through steamy water. That is something that needs to be researched by working with the state Department of Environmental Protection, he said.

    The legal limit for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. Several Mendon residents have tested their wells and found levels of 15 ppb to 400 ppb.

    Mendon, MA, March 31, 2002 (Metrowest Daily News)

    The digging is finished, but police and neighbors are still waiting for test results from their investigation of illegal dumping on four lots owned by LRC Building Corp of Milford.

    Brad Elliot is appalled at the scene unfolding across the street from his home. He will be joining other neighbors next Saturday in having his well water tested, at his own expense.

    Mendon police, members of the DEP, Tighe and Bond Engineering Firm representatives and the Conservation Commission have been digging through man-made hills, loam piles and wetlands for the past few days.

    So far, they have found plastic, glass, metal, car parts, concrete, bricks, construction debris, asbestos and other hazardous waste buried on the lot.

    Neighbors are doing their part by coming together, comparing water tastes, smells and colors and will be getting their water tested.

    The neighbors are all worried that they will have to continually test the water for years, because they don t know how deep the chemicals go or how long it takes for them to seep into the groundwater. Or even if they may have already ingested some contaminated water.

    I never knew how much water is important to us. Now I really know, said Brandon Elliot.

    April, 2002, MA (Water Technology)

    In late January, the Harvard University School of Public Health released a study that found alarmingly high concentrations of a little-known DBP, Mutagen X (MX), in Massachusetts drinking water.

    The study, which evaluated the effects of different types of water treatment on mutagenic activity and DBP formation, analyzed water samples from 36 surface-water systems throughout Massachusetts. Researchers found that levels of MX, which studies on laboratory rats indicate may have an estimated cancer potency of 170 times greater than chloroform, were considerably higher than anticipated, especially when water was chlorinated.

    However, the information likely never reached many Massachusetts residents and potential POU customers because Harvard would not disclose DBP and MX levels on a community-by-community basis.

    It was surprisingly quiet and we did not get a lot of pick-up at all, said Kevin Myron, spokesman for the School of Public Health. Associated Press was going to do a story on it, but dropped it when we didn t release the community data.

    Myron defends Harvard s choice not to release the data, which would have helped POU dealers provide targeted solutions to communities concerned about MX levels, saying the goal of the study was simply to identify various factors.

    We understand we have to disinfect water or things get worse, but this study accepts that DBPs are dangerous, he said. Basically, we are encouraging water officials to look at treatment alternatives that can produce lower levels of DBPs.

    Boston, Massachusetts - January 22, 2002 (Ascribe News)

    "Environmental epidemiologists from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzing tap water samples from 36 surface water systems throughout Massachusetts have found high levels of disinfection by-products (DBPs), which form during water treatment and transport, and a wide range of by-product activity in the water supplies they tested.

    Using 88 tap water samples form 36 Massachusetts communities taken between spring 1997 and fall 1998, the researchers studied how the formation of DBPs is influenced by water treatment. Within the communities in the study, 24 used chlorine to disinfect the water supply with 10 of those towns chlorinating their water twice prior to distribution. One town used ozone and another used chlorine dioxide for disinfection. The remaining 12 used chloramine to disinfect their water supply. The researchers found that water that had been chlorinated multiple times prior to distribution was associated with higher THM levels and that THM levels are generally higher in the spring. "


    City water may have contaminants from Dow Chemical

    Detroit, MI, June 5, 2002 (Water Tech Online)

    State officials planned to test drinking water at 12 municipal water plants over concerns that contaminants up to 40 years old from a dredging site in the St. Clair River might have spread downstream.

    Sediments in the river contain a range of chemicals dumped there over the years by a Dow Chemical Co. plant in Sarnia, Ontario, the Detroit News reported.

    The state Department of Environmental Quality planned tests at intake pipes along three rivers to see if high levels of mercury and other heavy metals, as well as oils, gases and organic compounds, were stirred up during dredging.

    About 6 million people in southeast Michigan get their drinking water from water treatment plants along the river and lake, said Doug Martz, chair of the Macomb Water Quality Board, which prompted the state to conduct the tests.

    Columbus, MI - October 25, 2001 (Water Tech Online)

    "While miles apart geographically, the communities of Columbus, MI; Bossier City, LA; and Avoca, PA have similarities: they are primarily small rural communities that have similar high rates of some of the same types of cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems, according to Gibbons Law Firm.

    Attorney Jim Gibbons alleges that the health problems are the direct result of operations at Kerr-McGee wood treatment facilities in all three communities.

    Kerr-McGee’s wood treatment plants operate in the company’s Forest Products Division, which provides treatment for about 40 percent of the railroad crossties in the United States. Up until the mid-1970s, pentachlorophenol (PCP) was used to treat the wood at the Columbus plant. The use of PCP has since been discontinued.

    PCPs contain substances that are toxic to humans, and additional toxic substances are produced throughout the treatment process. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, dioxin, lead, chromium, and benzene.

    According to the lawyers representing the residents, these substances have been improperly handled and disposed of for years, contaminating the surface water and groundwater in the surrounding communities."

    Company recalls bottled water

    Jackson, MI - July 24, 2002 (mlive)

    A west Michigan company has recalled about 3,600 gallons of distilled water from 200 stores around the state, including about 15 in the Jackson area, at the request of the Michigan Department of Agriculture Foods Division and the FDA.

    Bareman Dairy Inc. of Holland, Michigan recalled the water jugs after state inspectors determined it was not meeting quality standards for distilled water, said Sara Linsmeier-Wurfel, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

    Janet Hamilton purchased water on July 14th and called Bareman within the week with complaints of stomachache and diarrhea. Also, her mouth felt hot and dry after drinking the water, which was kept in the refrigerator. Her symptoms lasted three days.

    One of two company stills had an internal gasket failure that allowed some of the solids filtered from the water to re-enter the finished water stream causing a problem with odor and appearance, said Bob McDowell, a Bareman spokesperson.

    City water may have contaminants from Dow Chemical

    Detroit, MI - June 5, 2002 (Water Tech Online)

    State officials planned to test drinking water at 12 municipal water plants over concerns that contaminants up to 40 years old from a dredging site in the St. Clair River might have spread downstream.

    Sediments in the river contain a range of chemicals dumped there over the years by a Dow Chemical Co. plant in Sarnia, Ontario, the Detroit News reported.

    The state Department of Environmental Quality planned tests at intake pipes along three rivers to see if high levels of mercury and other heavy metals, as well as oils, gases and organic compounds, were stirred up during dredging.

    About 6 million people in southeast Michigan get their drinking water from water treatment plants along the river and lake, said Doug Martz, chair of the Macomb Water Quality Board, which prompted the state to conduct the tests.

    Dioxin found downstream from the Dow Chemical Company

    Saginaw, MI - March 15, 2002(Living on Earth)

    Back in 1995, the state of Michigan began testing for dioxin in the area around Dow Chemical's headquarters in Midland. Dioxins make up a group of more than 200 chemicals that have been linked to such health problems as cancer, birth defects, and disruption of hormone and immune systems. The state did find elevated levels of dioxin on company grounds, as well as in nearby playgrounds and parks and a federal study was made of possible health effects, but little has been done to clean up the contamination. A few months ago, advocates led by the Michigan Environmental Council used the Freedom of Information Act to try to get some data. And so far, what they've found is sparking a lot of controversy.

    Groups were looking for information on the city of Midland's contamination. But in the pile of papers they received back, there were references to extremely high dioxin levels in the Saginaw area 20 miles downstream from Dow headquarters. The problem was most of the information had been blacked out by the state, so they didn't really know what they were dealing with at that point.

    Tracy Easthope from the Ecology Center said, A whistle blower faxed us anonymously a note and it gave us the map with the sites indicated, and next to that, the levels. Levels were as high as 7,200 parts per trillion. Just to give you an idea of that, the residential clean-up standard in Michigan is 90 (parts per trillion). So this was 80 times above what is considered safe, or an action level, in residences in Michigan.

    In 1986, it rained for more than three weeks, and as a result, the Dow plant lost containment of its wastewater facility. Then the Tittabawassee River overflowed and carried this material downstream into the Saginaw flood plain. This is a plant that has made everything from mustard gas to saran wrap to Agent Orange, napalm and pesticides over the past hundred years.


    Contaminants found in Shagawa Road wells

    Minnesota (zwire) September 29, 2002
    What started out as a method to ensure that the removal of an underground petroleum storage tank would not contaminate nearby water, has become a larger mystery of well contamination.

    A private firm was hired to replace a storage tank and test two nearby wells. What was found was not water contamination by oil or gas, but solvent contamination typically used in dry cleaning facilities, according to investigating officer Dave Scheer of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

    Wells adjacent to Shagawa Lake have been found to contain Perchloroethylene or Tetrachloroethylene. “It was initially found in two wells at relatively high levels,” said Steve Leppala of the Emergency Response team of the MPCA, Duluth office. “We resampled and got similar results.”

    According to the EPA guidelines, the maximum contaminant level, or MCL, of 5 micrograms per liter for perchloroethylene (equal to 5 parts per billion). One well tested at 17micrograms and the other tested at 4242 micrograms.

    “All the wells are encased in bedrock so we don’t know where the contamination is coming from,” Leppala said.

    The chemical is listed as a known carcinogen in the list of Volatile Organic Compounds. It can affect the eyes, skin, central nervous system and liver, according to Leppala.

    “It’s just lucky” the testing was being done on the tank removal, Leppala said, “because I don’t know if you would have smelled or tasted it in the water.” It is unknown at this time how long the water contamination has existed.


    Another toxic liquid turns up

    St. Louis, MI - October 22, 2002 (Saginaw News)
    A dark, smelly, toxic substance found in an excavated portion of the Pine River and at a former chemical plant site in St. Louis has environmental officials concerned.

    The liquid is oozing out of the soil in several spots along the riverbank and a drained portion of the waterway where the EPA is conducting a $60 million superfund cleanup project.

    Since then, however, it has moved to a number of other locations. Because the toxic goo is heavier than water, it migrates downward and travels through sand and gravel layers. Groundwater becomes contaminated by traveling over the substance. The EPA is working to contain the problem.


    Las Vegas, NV - April 4, 2001 (Las Vegas Review Journal)

    "A Federal Study shows that Birth control pills, shampoos and other household items have chemicals that could be the reason for the problem in the Colorado River, endangering the razorback sucker. Scientists are continuing to study the problem since previous findings indicate the fish have natural estrogen and ethinyl estradiol, a synthetic hormone found in birth control pills. It appears that Lake Mead has a significant amount of these chemicals from human waste. "

    Henderson, Nevada - March 8, 2001 (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    Hair sample tests from some Henderson residents indicate exposure to abnormally high levels of heavy metals. Lead, mercury and benzene were off the charts according to one report. The Henderson toxic testing drive was started after a local man suffering from multiple sclerosis turned in a hair sample that showed he had mercury and uranium in his system. It is speculated that the source may be from soil and groundwater. Somewhere between 1996 and 1998 testing of soil and ground water showed high levels of toxicity. Tom Roe (whose son died of leukemia two years ago at age 16) said he’s aware of seven cancer cases in his neighborhood and is curious to know whether they’re linked to contaminants in soil. Reports also show that Tap water samples taken last year contained carbon tetrachloride, a suspected cancer-causing agent that can damage the liver, kidney and nervous system.


    Webster, NH - February 17, 2002 (Concord Monitor)

    By every scientific measure and law on the books, the water at John and Nancy Ceriello s home is safe to drink, even if it does contain traces of the harmful gasoline additive MTBE. Although it failed to meet state standards for the contaminant last summer, their well water has been improving since, and recent tests show it is just inside the safe zone now.

    Still the Ceriellos challenge anyone who suggests the problem is resolved. Would you let your kids drink the water? asks John Ceriello, who has two teenage children at home. When I say that, they just kind of go quiet.

    Like hundreds of families across New Hampshire, the Ceriellos find themselves at the heart of a raging debate over MTBE. The additive helps improve air quality and is required throughout the Northeast to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. Yet, increasingly, it is also turning up in public and private water supplies due to leaking underground gas tanks and accidental spills.

    About 14% of New Hampshire s public drinking water supplies show signs of MTBE, and state officials say the percentage of private wells is probably higher. So far, the state has paid for water filtration systems at 80 homes where the sources of MTBE contamination cannot be traced. More than 100 other private wells are being monitored.

    For the complete story, - http://www.concordmonitor.com/stories/front2002/mtbe_mon8417_2002.shtml

    State of NH - March 4, 2002 (AP)

    Drought has engulfed nearly a third of the United States, threatening to confront some places this summer with what experts say could be their worst water shortage in years.

    Thousands of shallow wells in New Hampshire and Georgia have run dry.

    Overall, drought has spread to about 30 percent of the country, according to forecaster Richard Tinker at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.

    Companies Will Pay for Polluting New Jersey Water

    TRENTON, New Jersey - November 25, 2002,(ENS)
    Nineteen polluters will together pay a total of $3 million to compensate the state of New Jersey and East Hanover Township for contamination of the local drinking water supply.

    The ground water contamination was first discovered in East Hanover Township in the early 1980s, when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in a water sample collected from a municipal supply well. Further testing showed that the contamination had spread to cover a 10 square mile area of the Morris County community.

    "This year's drought emergency highlights the urgency of protecting the public interest in clean water. As trustee of water resources, we are aggressively stepping up efforts, which are long overdue, to follow through with that important mandate," said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner Bradley Campbell.

    After the contamination was discovered, a treatment system was installed on the supply well. The DEP sampled 127 private drinking water wells in the township to evaluate the extent of the ground water contamination, finding that several of the potable wells were contaminated with VOCs at levels exceeding New Jersey Drinking Water Standards, and many others had lower levels of contamination.

    Between 1998 and 1999, the DEP and the township connected about 240 properties with private wells to the existing water supply system and extended water lines to one area.

    The DEP identified several industrial sites as possible sources of the contamination, and pursued a variety of companies for compensation. "We intend to pursue vigorously those who pollute our air and water and do harm to our state's valuable natural resources," said New Jersey acting attorney general Peter Harvey.

    The DEP is now expanding its natural resource damage program to include more contaminated sites. In the last nine months alone, DEP has reached more than $8.1 million in natural resource damage settlements, an amount greater than reached in the previous six years.

    "I was astounded to find on taking office in January that the Department had not pursued, or left unsettled, thousands of cases against polluters responsible for a wide range of damages to New Jersey's natural resources," said Campbell. "We are putting this program back on track and are committed to aggressively pursuing damage settlements for the residents of this state who have lost the ability to use and enjoy some of our most precious natural resources, including drinking water sources and wetlands."

    The danger beneath Buried tanks leak chemicals

    New Jersey - September 22, 2002, (North Jersey News)
    In North Haledon, residents of five homes around a contaminated gas station site have individual water filters due to gasoline contamination.

    And in Vernon, it’s the same contamination story for more than a dozen properties near a gasoline station.

    These and thousands of other cases statewide have underground water supplies progressively poisoned over many years as the state’s environmental agency and polluters traded paperwork and argued over who should do something about the growing problems.

    The state’s own files make clear that no one knows the true extent of underground pollution anywhere until it shows up in somebody’s water supply.

    So many leaks and spills have tainted groundwater in North Jersey that drilling new wells is no longer an option in many communities, said David Terry, a hydrology consultant for many New Jersey municipalities. At the moment, a list of known contaminated sites, one site per line, fills an 871 page document published by the state.

    The state has 12,648 documented sites contaminated by gasoline additives, industrial chemicals, and other cancer-causing substances. Of those, at least 9,000 are still polluting groundwater.

    Landfill not to blame for polluted wells

    Franklin Township - September 10, 2002 (New Jersey Online)

    Recent tests of drinking water indicate a closed landfill is not the source of chemicals that have polluted wells in the Franklin Township s New Village section.

    A combination of an industrial solvent and chemicals found in gasoline point toward a service station as the source of the pollution, township environmental consultant Frank Leary said.

    According to the Warren County Health Department, 13 wells in the New Village section have tested positive for trichloroethylene since February.

    Of those, nine show levels above the state limit of one part per billion of the solvent once used for dry cleaning and still used to degrease metal machine parts.

    Leary said the combination of TCE and MTBE and tertiary butyl alcohol found in the polluted wells may indicate the contamination comes from a site where vehicles or machines are repaired.

    Pompton Lakes, N.J. - September 26, 2001 (The Record)

    "Scientists working for lawyers suing Du Pont Chemicals told more than 300 Pompton Lakes residents that contamination in their town was the same as, if not worse than, that depicted in the movie “Erin Brockovich.”

    The four scientists, said the cancer rate was 16 times more than the national average among borough residents ages 18 to 65.

    State Department of Environmental Protection officials have said the chemicals found in a municipal well – lead, mercury, and members of the chloroethylene and chloroethane families – all meet drinking water safety standards set by the government.

    David Woodhouse, a hydrogeologist, said that chemicals from Du Pont seeped throughout the township over decades. “I think the whole town is contaminated. I think if you drill anywhere in town, you’ll find contamination.”


    Oil firm, town at odds over MTBE leak

    Fort Montgomery, NY - November 7, 2002 (Times Herald-Record)

    Sunoco has shut down its Fort Montgomery station with plans to yank the gas tanks out of the ground due to a large MTBE spill that has affected local wells.

    The leak was first discovered in 2000, and then reappeared in early 2002. Sunoco knew about the second leak a month before the Orange County Health Department revealed it to the public.

    Construction turns tap water brown on Staten Island

    Staten Island, NY - October 26, 2002 (ny1.com)
    Many residents on Staten Island are not convinced that discolored tap water the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) says is safe is safe to drink.

    The water turned brown from silt that seeped in during construction on one of the borough’s water mains, according to the DEP.

    Although the problem was fixed, many residents were stocking up on bottled water.

    City tap water looks positively H2O-dious

    New York, NY, October 13, 2002 (NY Post)
    The troubled New Croton reservoir system has been blamed for recent reports of discolored tap water in the city.

    More than 400 city residents flooded the Department of Environmental Protection with complaints in a 24-hour period last month after brownish water flowed from their taps.

    The calls came from homes in the South Bronx, Harlem and the lower East and West Sides of Manhattan, DEP officials confirmed.

    DEP says the problem arose because low reservoir levels, caused by this year’s drought, forced the DEP to draw more water than usual from New Croton dams.

    The New Croton system, which gets about 1.6 million gallons of treated waste water per day from the Yorktown sewage treatment plant, was not used from 1999-2001 because rains associated with Hurricane Floyd caused raw sewage and other pollutants to spill into the system.

    Under an agreement with the feds, the city must choose a site to build a filtration plant for New Croton water by next April and begin filtering by 2010.

    Suffolk, NY - April 1, 2002 (newsday.com)

    Tests of wells near areas where there has been high pesticide use continue to show contamination in the groundwater, according to a draft report.

    From April 2000 through March 2001, pesticides were found in about half the 834 private wells tested, said Martin Trent, chief of the Suffolk bureau of groundwater resources. There were 323 wells that had more than one pesticide compound; 131 contained five or more.

    Many of the contaminants discovered were new compounds created by the breakdown of pesticides. It is unclear what cumulative effect, if any, combinations of the different compounds have.

    The tests detected 52 pesticides and compounds created by the breakdown of pesticides. For 37 of the new compounds there is no specific drinking water standard.

    Debra O Kane, executive director of the North Fork Environmental Council, said there should be more public education to let residents who rely on private well water know the risks.

    Troy, NY - April 6, 2001 (Water Tech Online)

    "The Hudson River has polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a suspected carcinogen, and the EPA will decide if they should dredge as much as 77 tons of the PCBs from 40-miles of the upper Hudson River.

    GE opposes the EPA dredging plan and is spending millions in a media campaign to persuade against it. A decision will probably not be made until August. "

    Albany, NY, April 6, 2001 (ENS)

    "Mammals such as mink and river otters that live near the Upper Hudson River Valley have been exposed to PCBs. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in association with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service is involved in a study on this issue. General Electric has facilities along the upper Hudson River and has been blamed for much of the PCB contamination They continue to challenge an EPA order to begin a $500 million cleanup. "

    New York State - March 4, 2002 (AP)

    Drought has engulfed nearly a third of the United States, threatening to confront some places this summer with what experts say could be their worst water shortage in years.

    Already, New York and Baltimore are pumping water from temporary supplies normally avoided for their potentially less desirable color or taste.

    Overall, drought has spread to about 30 percent of the country, according to forecaster Richard Tinker at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.

    With about half of the normal 23 inches of precipitation over the past six months, New York City's reservoirs have sunk to 48 percent of capacity. Water managers have doubled the share used from the New Croton Reservoir actually an older system to 20 percent, though people sometimes complain of its darker color and unpleasant smell.

    Complicating water management, a slight increase in two common diarrhea causing microorganisms, giardia and cryptosporidium, has been detected in the untreated water from the New Croton and Kensico reservoirs, environmental officials say. Chlorinated water is deemed safe for the general population, but doctors were warned to advise New York City area residents with weak immune systems to boil water.


    Sisters want civilians informed of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune

    Wilmington, NC - September 30, 2002, (The Charlotte Observer)
    Two Wilmington sisters who grew up at Camp Lejeune want to make sure that civilians, as well as members of the military, are informed that water at the base was contaminated for decades.

    Terry Dyer and Karen Strand lived on the base for 15 years while their father was a principal at a base elementary school. Their father suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 45, three months after they moved off base, the sisters said.

    The women have suffered myriad medical conditions they believe may be related to the water on the base. They want other civilians who lived on the base or used its water to register on their web site.

    The first letter of commiseration they received was from a 29-year-old with inoperable cancer. One such case may not sound odd, Dyer said, “but when you hear it over and over and over again, you stand up and take notice.

    The water at Camp Lejeune was inadvertently spiked with tetrachloroethylene, also called perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene.

    The contamination was discovered in 1980 when an Army environmental team sampled the water and found unidentified chlorinated hydrocarbons. The chemicals were identified as commercial solvents in 1982, but the wells weren’t capped until 1985.

    Three years ago, the Marine Corps started surveying the parents of the estimated 10,000 children born at Camp Lejeune between 1968 and 1985, because the compounds had been linked to birth defects and childhood cancers such as leukemia.

    Dyer and Strand think the study should include non-military babies and should go back as far as 1953 or 1954 when a dry cleaner set up shop, dumping chemicals 500-900 feet from a base well. Dyer and Strand are using their own web site to register all civilian’s babies, children and adults who were on the base between 1953 and 1985.

    State accused of being lax on water protection

    July 24, 2002, Charlotte, NC (Water Tech Online)

    This state's enforcement of water-protection law suffers from staff shortages, lack of legislative support and too-friendly relationships with violators, an environmental group said.

    Hundreds of water quality violations by facilities with permits to discharge wastewater are never pursued, according to Clean Water for North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer reported.

    Enforcement lapses don't protect the public, and set a standard of low expectations for violators, the group said.


    Beavercreek, OH - April 6, 2001 (Water Tech Online)

    "The EPA is seeking more information about the extent of contamination in Beavercreek subdivision near the former site of a factory. Another investigation will be done on that site. Apparently, the soil below the site is worse than thought."

    Cincinnati, OH - March 1, 2002 (ENS)

    Exposure to lead in childhood could lead to antisocial or even criminal behavior in adults, a new study suggests. The first comprehensive lead study to track children over a period of time found that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to lead were associated with antisocial behavior in children and adolescents.

    It appears that the neurodevelopmental effects of this avoidable environmental disease of childhood may not be limited to declines in IQ or academic abilities, said Dr. Kim Dietrich, associate director of Cincinnati Children s Environmental Health Center and lead author of the study.

    Adolescents with the highest blood lead concentrations when they were first graders reported, on average, 4.5 more delinquent acts (than) children with the lowest blood lead concentrations as first graders, said Dietrich.

    The researchers found that exposure to lead was associated with antisocial behavior, even after adjusting for other factors that could lead to similar behavior. These included quality of home environment, low birth weight, parental intelligence and social class.

    These reports join a growing body of evidence linking lead to health, cognitive, and behavioral problems in children. In the U.S., almost a million children under the age of six suffer from lead poisoning.

    Lead exposure can cause permanent damage to the brain and other organs. Research shows that children with elevated blood lead levels are seven times more likely to drop out of school and twice as likely to lose a few years in language acquisition.

    Drinking water that comes from lead pipes or lead soldered fittings is among the number of ways in which children and adults may be exposed to lead.

    For this story: - http://ens.lycos.com/ens/mar2002/2002L-03-01-06.html


    Business Oppose Expensive Filtration

    Portland, OR - December 6, 2002, (Oregonian) ­
    The Portland Water Users Coalition says the $202 million proposal to filter Bull Run Reservoir water is too expensive and too risky. The coalition wants the city to pursue a cheaper alternative given the tough economic times.

    The Portland Water Bureau is planning for expected mandates on controlling cryptosporidium, a potentially lethal parasite. One recommendation was a $202 million membrane filter plant.

    The city panel rejected ultraviolet light treatment, projected to cost $55 million, saying it would kill microbes but accomplish little else. Portland also has a mud runoff problem that needs solutions.

    Membrane filtration, which runs water through plastic membranes to capture contaminants, has not been tried on so large a scale before. Other cities with unfiltered water, including New York and San Francisco, are using ultraviolet light to deal with cryptosporidium.

    The ability of ultraviolet light to permanently disable microbes has not been proven, leaving uncertainty with that approach as well.

    Report confirms electrical debris caused PCB contamination of Columbia River

    Portland, OR - March 22, 2002, (Associated Press)

    Unsafe levels of the toxin PCB recently discovered in freshwater clams and crawfish were caused by electrical debris dumped in the Columbia River, a new report confirmed. The report was released this week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    The debris was discovered in 2000 at a site near the former Bradford Island landfill, where the corps dumped household waste and project debris until 1982.

    To measure PCB contamination, scientists looked at animal tissue and sediment samples taken last year from the Columbia River. In some cases, PCB-laden oil was found on the crawfish exoskeletons as well as in their tissue, said Matt McClincy, a project cleanup manager with the state Department of Environmental Quality. McClincy said the crawfish came from an area where electrical debris holding PCB oil was dumped.

    A team of divers spent 13 days removing the PCB-laden electrical debris including light bulbs, stoves, electric paneling, and telephone equipment before young salmon began their spring migration.
    State of Oregon, March 16, 2001 (the Oregonian)

    "Boeing and Cascade companies are liable for industrial solvent pollution close to Portland’s drinking water wells. Threat of well field contamination prevented pumping during a 1992 drought, resulting in water shortages. Boeing and Cascade are suppose to be cleaning up the solvent, a potential human carcinogen."

    Springfield, Oregon, March 2, 2001 (The Oregonian)

    "The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has selected a cleanup plan for contamination at the Weyerhaeuser mill complex in Springfield. PCP, which was used at the site, is considered carcinogenic to humans. In the early part of the 1990s, soil and groundwater contamination was detected and Weyerhaeuser removed and disposed of PCP-contaminated soils and covered areas where the chemical was used with gravel and asphalt. Since then, the deparment says contaminated groundwater has migrated northwest toward the company’s property boundary and now represents a potential threat to a nearby drinking water well field Weyerhaeuser has ok'd funding of a treatment system at the well field to take care of the threat."


    Water wells in PA muddied by Alaskan earthquake

    Philadelphia, PA - November 14, 2002 (AP)

    An earthquake in Alaska in early November affected tap water over 3,000 miles away in Pennsylvania.

    Well-drilling companies got several calls from customers complaining about cloudy or muddy water following the earthquake.

    Some wells used by USGS to monitor Pennsylvania groundwater dropped as much as six inches, following the quake in a remote region near Alaska’s Denali National Park.

    Stirred up, muddy wells were widespread, including areas such as Washington, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Idaho, and Wisconsin.

    Water levels fluctuated in several USGS drought-monitoring wells in central Pennsylvania, and some haven’t returned to their previous levels, said Tim Risser of the USGS office in Harrisburg.

    "The ones that haven’t, we’re curious long-term whether the earthquake has somehow subtly changed the connection between the well and the aquifer,” Risser said.
    -------------------------- Contaminated water in Wayne County

    Hamlin, PA - November 15, 2002(WNEP)

    A notice was sent to parents of kids who attend Hamlin Elementary School about MTBE that has been found in the school’s water supply and elsewhere. The DEP has detected levels of the chemical in the village of Hamlin.

    Scranton, PA - October 25, 2001 (Water Tech Online)

    "While miles apart geographically, the communities of Columbus, MI; Bossier City, LA; and Avoca, PA have similarities: they are primarily small rural communities that have similar high rates of some of the same types of cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems, according to Gibbons Law Firm.

    Attorney Jim Gibbons alleges that the health problems are the direct result of operations at Kerr-McGee wood treatment facilities in all three communities.

    Kerr-McGee’s wood treatment plants operate in the company’s Forest Products Division, which provides treatment for about 40 percent of the railroad crossties in the United States. Up until the mid-1970s, pentachlorophenol (PCP) was used to treat the wood at the Columbus plant. The use of PCP has since been discontinued.

    PCPs contain substances that are toxic to humans, and additional toxic substances are produced throughout the treatment process. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, dioxin, lead, chromium, and benzene.

    According to the lawyers representing the residents, these substances have been improperly handled and disposed of for years, contaminating the surface water and groundwater in the surrounding communities."


    Burrillville and Pascoag, RI, November 13, 2001 (ENN)

    "Restaurants have posted signs promising customers they don’t use the town water. Pascoag residents complain of rashes and nausea, and some have even temporarily left town.

    Since Labor Day weekend, some 4,000 residents of the rural Pascoag section have been warned not to drink or cook with the water that comes out of their faucets because of pollution by a gasoline additive – intended to fight air pollution – that also has tainted water elsewhere around the nation.

    Most MTBE spills or leaks are small and isolated, said environmental lawyer Marc Bern of New York. “In New York there are 4,000 new toxic spills every three months; at least 40 percent include MTBE,” said Bern, whose firm has three state MTBE lawsuits pending.

    A mere gallon of gasoline containing MTBE can foul an entire community’s water supply.

    Pascoag residents noticed for weeks that their water had a foul smell and taste. The smell was like “the odor you’d get from the back of a pickup truck,” said George Reilly, a retired state auditor who took his complaints all the way to the state health department.

    Nationally, at least 45,000 private wells and 500 public wells are polluted by the chemical, estimates a California environmental consulting firm that performed a study for the federal EPA.


    "Utility fined for allegedly failing to test for contaminants"

    Columbia, SC - August 5, 2002 (Water Tech Online)

    The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) fined US Utilities $305,000 for failure to test for benzene and 24 other dangerous chemicals in its 83 statewide drinking water systems.

    Virtually all of the systems in question rely on wells fed by groundwater that can be polluted by widely used industrial chemicals, officials also said in the story.

    Lack of samples meant the utility s customers were not told about the ingredients in their water; utilities must report annually on what the tests discover, the article said.


    Bonham water contaminated

    Bonham, TX, January 22, 2003, (Herald Democrat)
    Residents and businesses have received written notice that their drinking water is contaminated. However, public works officials and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality experts say the water is safe.

    People began receiving letters advising of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids violations in the water. Both substances are byproducts from chlorine used in disinfection.

    The city of Bonham has been instructed to make adjustments to the disinfecting process to reduce the level of trihalomethanes.

    This problem with the drinking water has nothing to do with septic systems around Lake Bonham, but involves the city’s chlorine disinfectant, Pubic Works Director Ronny Ford said.

    "Tainted water sent to homes"

    San Antonio, TX, April 17, 2002 (San Antonio Express-News)

    Residents near Brackenridge Park may have been drinking and using water contaminated with treated sewage for more than two weeks, a San Antonio Water System official said Tuesday.

    The contamination was caused by an accidental cross-connection of the drinking water line with a recycled water line on the Brackenridge Golf Course.

    Some residents complained that most people in the 175 homes in the affected area weren't notified of the problem until it had been solved.

    Alamo, TX - February 8, 2002, (The Monitor)

    "A woman has filed a lawsuit against the city of Alamo, claiming that trihalomethanes (THMs) caused her to miscarry three times.

    In the suit, Judith Expericueta says she drank Alamo's tap water during her pregnancies and the chemicals in it caused her to have three spontaneous miscarriages.

    The EPA says that concentrated exposure to THMs may elevate the risk of spontaneous miscarriages during the first trimester. The TNRCC said the city of Alamo has the highest levels of THMs in Texas, but stressed that there is no immediate cause for alarm. The agency has cited the city several times in the past two years for exceeding the acceptable limit.

    Alamo's THM levels for two years has been between 88.83 and 141.03 parts per billion. The state on January 1st set the maximum acceptable limit at 80 parts per billion."


    April 2002 (Water Technology Magazine)

    The city of Chesapeake, VA is being sued for $1 billion over alleged links between high levels of disinfection byproducts (DPBs) in its water and hundreds of miscarried pregnancies. Experts say the city may even be an underdog in the much-publicized suit that could spawn additional, high profile lawsuits in other communities. The end result could be a sales boon for POU dealers, if they can gain early trust with their market and keep less reputable dealers from taking advantage of a nervous public.

    For more information on this subject go to:
    - http://www.watertechonline.com/article.asp?IndexID=6632586

    Chesapeake, VA, March 21, 2001 (Water Tech Online)

    "Trihalomethane (THM) contamination was found in the municipal water supply during the 1990s. City officials have been accused of not telling the truth about the levels of THM in the Chesapeake area. Hiding test information on THM levels, failure to provide adequate warning of the high levels of THM in the water, and failure to let the public know about the THM and possible miscarriages, still births and birth defects.

    Some studies link THMs (Bromodichloromethane [BDCM]), to possible stillbirths, miscarriages and birth defects, and bladder and rectal cancers. The Virginian Pilot reported that Chlorine mixes with organic materials, like algae and leaf particles, which includes chloroform and BDCM. In 1998, THM was suspected as a carcinogen and possible cause of miscarriages. Around that time, a new water treatment plant was being upgraded and reports say the levels of THM were higher than normal for about nine months. "

    Chesapeake, VA - February 10, 2002 (Washington Post)

    "Annette Spaven already had three children when she found out she was pregnant again four years ago. She and her husband were surprised but pleased by the prospect of welcoming another child into their Chesapeake, VA home. So when she suffered a miscarriage in the first trimester, they tried again. Six months later, she lost another baby.

    About the same time, two women on her block had miscarriages. Across town, a woman gave birth to a boy who died shortly after birth. For more than a decade, they and others wondered why they'd suddenly lost their pregnancies.

    Today, many are wondering if they might have lost their babies simply because they drank tap water while they were pregnant. It's a question that has roiled this booming port community ever since residents became aware of controversy surrounding chemicals in the public drinking supply. Now, 25 women are suing the city, and nearly 170 more have filed their intentions to do so.

    In a statement last month, the EPA called the issue of chlorination byproducts in drinking water an important health concern.

    Meanwhile, however, millions of Americans are unaware of what their water utilities know: The levels of chlorination byproducts in their drinking water often spike higher than the EPA's allowable annual average.

    The EPA does not require this information to be included in regular water quality reports from utilities. "

    For the complete article, go to: - http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A51936-2002Feb9?language=printer


    Water too acidic, plant upgrade needed

    Bennington, VT, June 2, 2004 (reported in Water Tech)

    A town report shows Bennington's drinking water has unacceptable levels of a harmful acid.

    Apparently, the haloacetic acid exceeds the maximum contamination level of 60 parts per billion. The finding is not supose to pose an immediate risk, but if high amounts are consumed over many years it does pose a cancer risk, according to the report.

    Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)

    Within the past ten years, State tests found that 10% of sampled wells in agricultural areas were contaminated with pesticides. Unfortunately, very little testing is done of private drinking water supplies in agricultural areas, so the true extent of contamination is unknown.

    A small percentage of Vermont s private wells, serving 120,000 Vermonters, are tested yearly for bacteria and less than one percent are tested for pesticides and other volatile chemicals.

    Public water supplies, although frequently tested, are prone to contamination and human error. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources found that in 1999 of 1,337 public drinking water systems surveyed:

    For information on public water supply testing and water quality violations, see the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Water Supply Division at - http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/watersup/wsd.htm

    Our Commentary:

    The US PIRG web site contains links to several State PIRG web sites. Each state site provides specific information, such as the information on Vermont listed above, about the environmental concerns for that state. Each State PIRG provides a section on drinking water, which identifies the unique problems associated with that state's drinking water. The Public Interest Research Group was involved in another report on miscarriages and trihalomethanes. Be sure to visit your state s PIRG site for more information on your state's water quality.
    Go down to State PIRGs and choose your state from the drop down list. Not all states are listed.
    - http://www.uspirg.org


    Track, DEP settle pollution record

    Jefferson County - August 8, 2002 (Charleston Gazette)

    State environmental regulators announced a deal that requires the Charles Town racetrack to end years of water pollution violations.

    Under the agreement, the Jefferson County track's operators will pay $300,000 in fines. More importantly, state officials said, the track will connect to the town of Ranson s sewage treatment plant.

    Previously, the track operated its own treatment plant.

    In addition, the track has been ordered to construct a manure storage facility within 30 days and horse-washing stalls within 90 days. The track must also acquire a sweeping machine to clean the horse barn area, and connect drainage from the horse-washing stalls to the city sewage plant, DEP officials said in a prepared statement.

    Miscellaneous News

    Feds Some labs fake environmental tests

    January 22, 2003, Washington, DC (AP)
    Federal investigators say there’s a disturbing trend of fake tests of water supplies, part of a wider problem of false environmental tests by private companies on petroleum products, underground storage tanks and soil.

    Environmental and law enforcement officials said the manipulated tests are interfering with the government’s ability to enforce environmental laws defrauding companies that pay for honest testing.

    In some cases, however, officials said companies and laboratories have conspired to falsify test results so the companies can certify that their products meet environmental standards.

    “Several current lab fraud investigations involve severe manipulation of data used to evaluate the compliance of public water supplies with federal drinking water standards,” the EPA’s inspector general, Nikki Tinsley, reported last fall.

    In a recent interview, Tinsley declined to identify locations under investigation, but added, “If it was my drinking water, I’d consider it very serious.”

    Lab fraud hampers an environmental protection system that frequently relies on voluntary compliance by companies backed by test results, officials said. Faked results can mislead regulators and the public into thinking they are being protected by laws when, in fact, companies are not abiding by the safeguards.

    “If we can’t rely upon science with supporting lab results, then we don’t know what’s out there for the public to eat or drink or use,” said J.P. Suarez, the EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance.

    U.S. backs out of pollution register treaty group

    Geneva, Switzerland - November 25, 2002, (ENS)
    The United States today pulled out of a United Nations conference to finalize an international agreement that will provide the public with greater access to information about sources of pollution. The treaty will require participating countries to collect and publish information on the quantities of pollutants released from certain industrial sources.

    The U.S. delegation announced at the session that it would not formally join the negotiations of a working group to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, also known as the Aarhus Convention.

    The Aarhus Convention’s working group on pollution release and transfer registers is meeting this week in Geneva to hammer out the final details of the public information protocol.

    It will cover information on the disposal, storage, recycling and treatment of industrial pollutants. The information will be compiled into publicly available pollutant release and transfer registers.

    New effort to track environmental links to disease
    Berkeley, CA, October 10, 2002 (Sac Bee)

    Federal health officials enlisted the help of California and other states in a landmark effort to track chronic diseases.

    The federal government has long tracked infectious diseases such as smallpox, and AIDS, but chronic diseases and disorders such as asthma and autism and their potential environmental causes, have never been similarly monitored.

    “Seventy percent of death and disability is due to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s. These are today’s new health threats,” said Shelley Hearne, whose efforts as director of the Pew Environmental Health Commission pushed Congress to address environmental health threats.

    Hearne, now executive director of Trust for America’s Health, hopes that the tracking programs will allow states to zero in on disease clusters in individual communities – such as the spate of lymphoma and leukemia cases among Auberry Drive residents in Sacramento County – and act to quickly resolve them.

    PCB Exposure in Womb May Affect Behavior
    Research Triangle Park, NC, October 7, 2002 (ENS)

    Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins can influence play behaviors that reflect gender differences, a new study suggests.

    The Dutch study has been tracking various impacts of exposure to these toxicants on a group of children since 1990. It appears in “Environmental Health Perspectives,” the Journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Higher prenatal exposure to PCBs was associated with less masculinized play behavior in boys and more masculinized play behavior in girls. In boys as well as girls, higher prenatal dioxin levels were associated with more feminized play behavior,” the study’s authors wrote. “We therefore suggest that these results may indicate behavioral effects of steroid hormone imbalances early in development related to prenatal exposure to PCBs and dioxins, their metabolites, and/or related compounds.”

    The study team was headed by Hestien J. I. Vreugdenhil of Erasmus University and Sophia Children’s Hospital of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
    More information is available at http://www.ehponline.org

    Whitman says water treatment needs outstrip funding
    Chicago, IL -(Washington Post)

    EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman warned yesterday that demands for improved wastewater and drinking water treatment systems could outstrip current spending by $535 billion over the next two decades. Whitman said that while the country has made huge strides in cleaning up rivers, streams and other waterways since the passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act, state and local governments face enormous challenges in maintaining and replacing deteriorating water systems.

    “Much of America’s drinking and wastewater infrastructure is aging,” Whitman said to the Water Environment Federation in Chicago. “There are cities in America still using pipes that were laid when Lincoln was President.”

    According to Whitman, capital spending and maintenance needs for improved drinking water treatment facilities will exceed current spending by more than $265 billion through 2019.

    Over the past two decades, communities have spent $1 trillion on drinking water treatment and supply, and wastewater treatment and disposal. This spending may not be sufficient to keep pace with an expanding and geographically shifting population, according to experts.

    Treatment plants typically have an expected useful life of 20 to 50 years before they must be expanded or rehabilitated, while pipes have life spans ranging from 15 years to well over 100 years. Some East Coast cities have pipes in use that are almost 200 years old.

    Terrorism assessments required by Bush Administration
    June 7, 2002 (Associated Press) Washington

    The Bush administration plans to require the nation's 15,000 chemical, water and waste-treatment plants to assess how vulnerable they are to terrorists and then fix any problems.

    The terrorism assessments would be similar to risk management plans the EPA already requires from the same facilities for accidental releases of toxins, a senior EPA official said Friday.

    The envisioned EPA orders for chemical, water and waste-treatment plants will cover site and computer security; access; background checks for employees, vendors and customers; inventory controls, storage practices and the availability of safer manufacturing and treatment technologies.

    The administration is taking a good first step by addressing this problem, but they ll need to do more than just what the chemical industry says they re willing to do, Jeremiah Baumann, an environmental health specialist for U.S. PIRG, said.

    30 Percent in violation of Clean Water Act
    August 8, 2002 (PennWell)

    Nearly 30 percent of the nation's largest industrial, municipal, and federal facilities were in violation of the Clean Water Act at least once during a recent 15-month period, according to a report released by U.S. PIRG.

    Permit to Pollute How the Government's Lax Enforcement of the Clean Water Act is Poisoning our Waters claims that there are shortcomings in the monitoring of water pollution and efforts to deter polluters, at a time when the EPA's budget for enforcement faces slashing.

    Using the Freedom of Information Act, U.S. PIRG obtained and analyzed the behavior of major facilities nationwide by reviewing violations of the Clean Water Act as recorded in EPA s Permit Compliance System database.

    One finding was that 134 major facilities were in Significant Non-Compliance during the entire 15-month period.

    Find this report at http://www.uspirg.org

    EPA gives states more flexibility with Clean Water Act
    August 8, 2002 (Washington Post)

    The EPA will seek changes in a key Clean Water

    Act anti-pollution program to give states more flexibility in planning and executing the cleanup of more than 20,000 dirty rivers, lakes and estuaries.

    The plan is to reduce federal oversight of the program and instead trust states to clean up their dirty waterways.

    This is tantamount to abandoning the Clean Water Act program to clean up polluted waters, said Joan Mulhern of Earthjustice, an environmental legal defense group. It is essentially telling American people to get used to the dirty waters they live near, because this means we will delay, if not derail completely, efforts to clean up.

    The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 after the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire. Today, 44 percent of the nation s water bodies are still impaired by sediments, nutrients and microorganisms. Go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A57191-2002Aug7

    Thousands of underground fuel tanks leak unseen
    May 9, 2002 (ENS)Washington, DC

    More than 76,000 leaking underground storage tanks across the country are polluting the nation's groundwater, while the U.S. EPA can do little to solve the problem.

    The leaks could be eliminated if Congress and the EPA would improve inspections and provide the necessary authority to bring tank owners into compliance with existing regulations, according to a top Congressional watchdog.

    Recent studies have shown that underground tanks across the country are leaking hazardous substances, Stephenson told the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, Risk and Waste Management.

    In fiscal year 2000, more than 14,500 leaks or releases from regulated tanks were reported.

    As an example, Stephenson told the lawmakers about a school in Roselawn, Indiana that discovered the children had been using and drinking water with 10 times the EPA's recommended safe limit of the gasoline additive MTBE.

    This is a detailed report on leaking tanks - http://ens-news.com/ens/may2002/2002L-05-09-05.html

    Children bear the Heaviest Burden of Environmental Disease
    March 5, 2002 (ENS)

    Three million children under the age of five die each year due to environmental hazards and accidents, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week at the first major event held to address this issue the International Conference on Environmental Threats to the Health of Children.

    New research results are being presented to increase the awareness of different sectors about children's environmental health.

    Children are not little adults, conference delegates were reminded. Since they are still growing and their immune systems and detoxification mechanisms are not fully developed, they are especially vulnerable to chemical, physical and biological hazards in air, water and soil.

    Research suggests that over 40 percent of the global burden of disease due to environmental risk factors may fall on children under five, even though they constitute about 10 percent of the world's population.

    Water Report Card
    March 9, 2001(Waternet)

    "The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s report card on infrastructure in the United States grades many of the nations environmental issues. Drinking water shortfalls could reach as high as $300 billion, according to ASCE officials."

    For more information, for local and state statistics for many of the infrastructure areas cited in the 2001 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, go to:
    - http://www.asce.org/reportcard.

    March 5, 2001 (ENS) Washington, DC

    One in 10 women of childbearing age in the United States is at risk of having newborns with neurological problems due to in utero mercury exposure, according to a government study released last week.

    Children who are exposed to mercury in utero may suffer damage to their brains and nervous systems, affecting language, attention and memory.

    “These new findings amount to an estimated 375,000 babies being born each year at risk of neurological problems due to exposure to mercury in the womb,” said Michael Bender, executive director of the Mercury Policy Project. “Data in the Centers for Disease Control report indicate that at least 10 percent of women of childbearing age have levels of mercury in their bodies that exceed what the (EPA) considers acceptable and this translates to nearly six million women.”

    The study results were published in the March 2, 2001 “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

    Mercury, a heavy metal, is a potent toxin. When ingested in even tiny amounts, it can cause devastating effects on the human nervous system, especially for children and the unborn.

    “High mercury levels were previously thought to be largely confined to individuals who eat significantly more fish than the average person,” said Andy Buchsbaum, water quality project manager at the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Natural Resource Center. “These new results indicate that exposure to mercury may be more widespread and not limited to large consumers of fish.”

    The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) report is available at - http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5008a2.htm

    Mercury report targets dentists
    June 5, 2002, Boston, MA (Boston Globe)

    The common dentist office practice of flushing old mercury-containing fillings down the drain makes dentists the single largest discharger of the toxic metal into the nation's wastewater treatment plants, according to a national study by a Boston-based public health group. Most of the mercury is eventually discharged into bodies of water.

    In a time that everyone from hospitals to coal-burning power plants are taking steps to reduce emissions of mercury, dentists are being called on to follow suit. US dentists still use about 40 tons a year of mercury to make silver fillings.

    With mercury in many products outlawed, phased-out or reduced, dentists are the third-largest user of mercury.

    "Distilled Water is Inferior"
    May 8, 2002 (Dr. Joseph Mercola, Optimal Wellness Center)

    Although it is controversial, I am firmly convinced that distilled water is harmful to your health.

    One of the major foundational reasons is that distilled water is highly acidic.

    Distilled water is alleged to be beneficial due to its lack of contaminants. Well, many of the devices that distill water are made of metal and will actually add certain toxic metals like nickel back into the water, which actually worsens health.

    Since distilled water is like a vacuum without any minerals, it will actually leach beneficial minerals from your body to balance it out.

    Then there is the physics of water. Water is structured and when it is distilled, the structure becomes profoundly disturbed, as you can see by the pictures below. The pictures will help you appreciate the difference between natural spring water and distilled water.

    Distilled Water - - Natural Water

    Drinking water helps cut heart disease risk
    Water Tech Online, May 6, 2002 (Loma Linda, CA)

    Drinking large amounts of water can significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, say researchers at Loma Linda University.

    Officials at the college said the results of a study to be published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reveal that drinking high amounts of plain water is as important as exercise, diet, or not smoking in preventing coronary heart disease.

    Basically, not drinking enough water can be as harmful to your heart as smoking, said Jacqueline Chan, principle investigator and lead author of the article.

    The degree of benefit from drinking plain water reportedly surpasses drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, taking aspirin, and other preventative measures, with none of the adverse side effects.

    Bottled water sales surge past pop
    April 17, 2002 (WQA-Water Quality Association)

    Americans seldom imbibe the eight glasses of water a day urged by health professionals. However, a survey commissioned by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) indicates that water is clearly becoming part of people s lives.

    IBWA reported that even though 63 percent of those surveyed knew they should be drinking eight 8-ounce servings of water per day, they actually consumed only 5.3 cups per day.

    The survey also revealed that 46 percent of Americans drink bottled water everyday, and that bottled water ranked third, only being outranked by filtered/non-filtered water and coffee as the most consumed beverage on a daily basis.

    THMs (Trihalomethanes)in blood increase after shower
    Chapel Hill, NC, May 3, 2002 (Water Tech Online)

    THMs, by-products from chlorination, appear to increase significantly in the bloodstream after showering, says a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Public Health.

    Public health experts suspect the chemicals might boost the risk of cancer and contribute to reproductive problems such as miscarriages, a release by UNC said.

    Through blood sample analysis, researchers measured THMs in the blood of 25 women at each site before and soon after they showered, and compared those levels to concentrations found in tap water in their houses.

    THM concentrations were around 1,000 times lower in blood than in tap water, but after the showers, median levels in blood increased by a factor of four.

    Water (an excerpt from the book Staying Healthy with Nutrition)
    By Elson M. Haas M.D.

    Drinking water has become an issue of concern. In all too many cases it has been shown that tap water is not totally safe.

    The two main types of carbon filters are granulated carbon and solid carbon block filters. The granulated carbon filter has air spaces between the carbon particles to trap bacteria and remove it from the water; however, the bacteria can multiply within the air spaces. Though granulated carbon filters are economical, their use is short-lived, and their safety is definitely questionable; I do not recommend them.

    The solid carbon block with its surrounding filter alleviates the concern of microorganism contamination. Not only can the filtering surface area of this denser carbon bed clean much more water but, because there is very little oxygen or supply nutrients within the filter, the germs will not thrive; however, to be safe, if the filter is not used for a day or longer, let the water run through it for 10-20 seconds before drinking. Research has shown that these units also trap more chemicals, organic pollutants, and asbestos than the looser granulated carbon filters. Some companies that sell solid carbon block water filters are MultiPure and Amway.

    Activated carbon filters, though more expensive than tap water, are usually less expensive than distillers or units that use reverse osmosis.

    Solid carbon alone can help clear most of the chemical pollutants that infiltrate our water. I personally have a MultiPure stainless steel unit hooked up to our kitchen faucet so that my family can have purified water to use for drinking, cooking, and washing food. This type of system is the most economical for the quality of water it delivers. Of course, it is more expensive than drinking tap water, so we must decide that it is worth the five to ten dollars a month it costs over time to know that our water is free of chlorine, toxic chemicals and most heavy metals.

    Solid carbon may actually be the best system for removing chemicals, one of our biggest concerns in drinking water. An added advantage of solid carbon block filters over reverse osmosis and distillation is that they leave the natural trace minerals that our bodies can use.

    Water-linked health risks predicted
    July, 2001 (WaterTech Online)

    Researchers from the American Academy of Microbiology say water-associated health risks will increase unless capture-and-count microbial water test methods are replaced with new technologies.

    In a report on research sponsored by the EPA, the Food and Drug Administration and other entities, Joan B. Rose and D. Jay Grimes outline new tools and strategies: gene probes, genotyping, antibody and polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

    They point out that current "indicator" bacteria testing cannot detect viruses such as Hepatitis A or E, Coxsackie, Adenoviruses, Norwalk viruses, indigenous pathogenic bacteria like Helicobacter and parasites like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

    According to the authors, enteric waterborne diseases not identifiable by standard testing practices kill as many as 2 million children annually. "There are as-yet-unidentified microbes that have been suspected to cause human disease, but for which culturing methods have not yet been developed," researchers wrote.

    The report is available at - http://www.asmua.org/acasrc/aca1.htm

    "Parkinson's Disease - Pesticides and Herbicides"
    The same herbicides and pesticides many people trust enough to spray on their gardens and crops have been increasingly linked to the onset of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder that turns the simplest movement into a battle between the brain and the nerves.

    More than 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s, and every nine minutes another person is diagnosed with the disease. PD is second only to Alzheimer’s disease as the most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States.

    “So far, the results of the initial CDC National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals confirm what many people already suspected,” said Susan Kegley, staff scientist at Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). PANNA works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. She went on to say that, “The general population has contaminant levels exceeding those set by the EPA as safe.”

    Drinking Water - It's more necessary than you think in the summer heat
    Los Angeles, CA, June 2, 2002 (LA Times)

    With summer three weeks away, area experts emphasize the need to drink water 64 ounces a day especially during hot weather.

    The heat can be misleading, said John Blauer, lifeguard captain for the Newport Beach Fire and Marine Department. Sometimes it feels cool because of the wind, but as the wind blows across your skin, moisture evaporates quickly.

    The danger of losing water, especially after an afternoon of sunning and sweating and probably not eating, is extreme exhaustion.

    Being even somewhat dehydrated can slow down your metabolism by 3%, according to a University of Washington study. Dehydration is the leading cause of daytime tiredness. And 75% of Americans are dehydrated, according to the study.

    Widely accepted benefits of being generously hydrated include improved skin, improved kidney functions and decreased risks of colon cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer.

    EPA says toxic chemicals pose added cancer risk
    Washington, DC, June 1, 2002 (LA Times)

    The first nationwide study of 32 common toxic chemicals shows that for 20 million Americans, many of them living in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas, the pollutants pose a cancer risk 100 times greater than what the EPA usually considers acceptable.

    The data released suggest that 200 million Americans face a 1 in 100,000 lifetime risk of developing cancer from these pollutants, while the risk posed to residents of Los Angeles and the Bay Area was as high as 1 in 5,000.

    Cars, trucks, and other mobile sources of pollution emit about half of these toxic contaminants, the most dangerous of which include benzene. Most of the rest come from natural sources.

    Worried about water, Should you be concerned about what’s on tap?
    July 6, 2001 (NBC Today Show)

    CONCERNS about tap water safety has prompted millions of Americans to reject water coming straight from the tap, resulting in two new growth industries — bottled water and filtration systems.

    More information on Bottled and Tap Water: CLICK HERE - http://www.theolivebranch.com/water/bottled.htm

    Water Storage Tips - http://www.theolivebranch.com/water/survival.htm

    More on water safety - http://www.theolivebranch.com/water/safety.htm

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