The United States Geological Survey recently studied nitrate levels in streams around the country. The study found that nitrate – which can be dangerous in drinking water – can affect water systems for decades.
Although none of these study areas were in Idaho, Michael Lewis says the study is worth a closer look.
Across the Northwest, home brewers and microbreweries enjoy the best local ingredients. Hops from the Willamette Valley. Barley from Washington. But there’s one ingredient that is often overlooked: the water.
Paul Gilliland is the mayor of an Eastern Washington town of Harrington. He's pictured collecting a sample of water that will flow into a lagoon. The mayor is getting certified to be one of its operators.
A major goal of the 1972 Clean Water Act was to stop cities and towns from discharging raw sewage. The federal government gave communities billion of dollars to build wastewater treatment plants. But those early grants are gone and those plants have aged.
When he was a kid, Mark Schmidt would fish for steelhead and salmon on the Molalla river. He’s stay with a friend in a little cabin on the banks.
“If we could so much as hear the raindrops on the shingles in the night, we were aware that we would not be fishing in the morning.”
The Molalla flows from the west slope of the Oregon Cascades. About half watershed is private forest land. Schmidt says in the 60s, the area was being heavily logged. When it rained the logging operations sent sediment pouring down the river.
This fall marks the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act – a piece of legislation that changed the way water in this country is regulated and protected.
Pollution was supposed to be curtailed so that fish from all the waters in America would be safe for people to eat. 40 years later, though, many waterways still bear fish too tainted to consume safely.
The Spokane Street and West Seattle bridges pass over the Duwamish River. "Most of the people traveling to West Seattle don't know that this is the Duwamish," said James Rasmussen of the Duwamish tribe.
A new public opinion poll finds that water quality ranks as Northwesterners’ top environmental concern.
DHM Research asked 1,200 residents in Washington, Idaho and Oregon about their environmental concerns. Sixty percent said they worried about drinking water, and 54 percent said they were concerned about local lakes, rivers and streams. That result tracks with previous polls.
People said they were happy, overall, with the water that comes out of their tap.
This fall marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and over the next few month's EarthFix and Investigate West will be reporting on the Northwest's water. This ongoing special report begins with Seattle’s Duwamish River.
It's been the industrial heart of the city for a century. It’s been straightened, filled and diked. During World War II thousands of airplanes were built there. Today cargo from around the world arrives in massive container ships, lining the mouth of the river. Industrial facilities dot its banks.
Warning signs line the beach of Robie Creek off Lucky Peak Reservoir after recent testing showed E. Coli in the water earlier this month. Lauri Monnot, Watershed Coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, says no one has a confirmed case of the illness.
Robie Creek has a history of E. Coli. Monnot says the water was contaminated in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and now 2012. The DEQ performed a source assessment last year, but all leads dead-ended.
Monday night’s storm blew down trees and power lines, knocking out electricity around southern Idaho. What was inconvenient for some, turned critical for Twin Falls. The city lost power to the four pumps that supply most of the area’s water and overnight, Twin Falls declared a state of emergency.
Monday afternoon, the power came back on, and the pumps are now working. Josh Palmer is a public information officer for Twin Falls. He says those pumps pull water from the Blue Lakes Reservoir and that water is low.