Most U.S. Rivers Are Polluted, and Getting Worse

A new study conducted by the EPA shows that 55 percent of the nation's rivers are in "poor" condition, and only 21 percent are rated as "good" and "healthy biological communities." Farm and industrial pollution are to blame.
March 28, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"A new report by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the majority of rivers and streams in this country can't support healthy aquatic life and the trend is going in the wrong direction," writes Dashiell Bennett. "Even worse, the number of rivers and streams that qualify as 'good' went down seven precent between 2004 and 2009."

"The reason for these failing grades is, of course, pollution; specifically, phosphorus and nitrogen pollution that comes from fertilizer and wastewater run-off. Those chemicals, which come from farms and industrial sites, choke off healthy plant growth, which turn leads to more soil erosion, more flooding, and unhealthy fish and wildlife," explains Bennett.

"The worst areas for river pollution are the Northeast and deep South, where a shocking 71 percent of rivers rated 'poor.'"

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Published on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in The Atlantic Wire
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