Industrial facilities across the U.S. dumped more than 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in 2012, according to the “Wasting Our Waterways” report. The figures about the nation, as a whole, are stark, as are figures about individual regions and companies. For instance, Tyson Foods Inc. alone dumped more than 18.5 million pounds–about 9 percent of the nationwide total.
“America’s waterways should be clean–for swimming, drinking and supporting wildlife,” said Ally Fields, clean water advocate for Environment America’s Research and Policy Center. “But too often, our waters have become a dumping ground for polluters. The first step to curb this tide of toxic pollution is to restore Clean Water Act protections to all our waterways.”
Hope for such a legislative restoration explains the report’s timing. It arrives as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers restoring protections to about 2 million miles of waterways. The public comment period for the proposal ends in October.