Report: 100s of Millions of Pounds of Toxics Dumped into US Waters

November 11, 2009


Ongoing, largely legal discharges add more than 230 million pounds of toxic waste each year to about 1,900 waterways in all 50 states, according to a report released Oct. 21, 2009, by the advocacy group Environment America.


The group based its conclusions on 2007 data acquired from EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The group's summary report highlights findings in various ways, such as by geography, source, and chemical.

You can target your reporting more specifically by taking advantage of the data collection done by the group that revealed and overcame some of the errors and limitations embedded in TRI. Contact Piper Crowell, 202-461-2442,  and ask her to send you raw data spreadsheets of interest to you and your audience, providing data by categories such as quantity, waterway, industry, pollutant, or potential health effect.

One conclusion of the group is that, although many of the sources who dumped their pollutants into waterways didn't violate their discharge permit, a system that allows such massive pollution is poorly designed and enforced, and doesn't meet the Clean Water Act objective of establishing safe, clean waterways.

The advocacy group OMB Watch provided commentary on the report that may suggest additional directions your reporting can take: