Likely Carcinogen Contaminates Drinking Water Of 90 Million Americans

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By Zoe Loftus-Farren for Earth Island Journal – According to a new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the drinking water of more than a quarter of Americans — some 90 million people — tested positive for a likely carcinogen known as 1,4-dioxane between 2010 and 2015. And public water systems serving more than 7 million people in 27 states have average 1,4-dioxane concentrations that exceed the level US Environmental Protection Agency has said can increase the risk of cancer. According to a new report, a likely carcinogen was detected in the public water systems serving nearly 90 million Americans. 1,4-dioxane water contamination is linked to several sources, not least of which is the use of the chemical as an industrial solvents to dissolve oily substances. It is also a byproduct of plastic production and manufacturing of other chemicals, and can contaminate drinking water through wastewater discharge from industrial facilities, as well as due to leaching from Superfund and hazardous waste sites. In addition to being a likely carcinogen (in California, the chemical is listed as a known carcinogen), 1,4-dioxane exposure has also been linked to liver and kidney damage, lung problems, and eye and skin irritation.

Court Of Appeals Upholds NY’s Denial Of Water Quality Certification For Constitution Pipeline

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By Eric Schneiderman for EcoWatch – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld New York State’s denial of a water quality certification for the Constitution Pipeline Friday, a critical win for the Attorney General’s office and the state’s authority to take necessary action to protect its waters and natural resources. The appeals court noted that the state is entitled to “conduct its own review of the Constitution Project’s likely effects on New York waterbodies and whether those effects would comply with the state’s water quality standards.” New York must be able to do what’s necessary to protect our environment—and we’re glad that the court agreed. It would be unacceptable for a pipeline—or any project—to pollute our waters and undermine New Yorkers’ health and water resources. Today’s decision marks a major win for New Yorkers, and for the state’s right to take the actions necessary to protect the public and our environment. My office stands ready to continue to vigorously defend New Yorkers’ right to a safe and healthy environment from all who may harm it.

Crumbling Pipes, Tainted Water Plague Black Communities

Troy Lowe, 4, sleeps under the arm of his father, Tory Lowe, in Milwaukee. Troy tested positive for lead poisoning after ingesting the tap water in their home. (Michael M. Santiago/News21)

By William Taylor Potter, Brandon Kitchin and Alexis Reese for Troubled Water – CAMPTI, La. – Deep in the winding mass of crumbling back streets in Campti, Leroy Hayes sets a glass of water from his faucet in a patch of sunlight on the railing of his porch and watches specks of sediment float to the top. Hayes said the town’s water system has been bad for years, with water often coming out brown and smelling like bleach. The family uses bottled water for drinking and cooking and often has to drive to the city of Natchitoches, 11 miles away, to wash their clothes. The Campti water leaves their clothes with a yellowish tint. “Don’t nobody drink that mess,” Hayes said. Like many poor African-American communities, Campti’s poverty is a significant impediment to making crucial improvements to the town’s infrastructure – including its old water system. Hayes is a lifelong resident of the town, where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the predominantly African-American population lives in poverty. Campti’s median household income is only $15,428.

Standing Rock Spawned A Generation Of Water Protectors. Now They’re On The Move.

Water protectors holding a ceremony on the banks of the Cannon Ball River were met by riot police who shot rubber bullets at point-blank range on Nov. 2, 2016. Photo by Robert Wilson

By Joseph Bullington for In These Times – BISMARCK, N.D.—Forty miles north of where the Standing Rock resistance camps once stood, Matt Lone Bear and Carter Gunderson crouch on the curb, changing the brakes on a Chevy Blazer. As they wrestle a worn rotor off the axle, they discuss their plans. They’ll stick around until their court dates later in June, then hit the road for a tour of the Standing Rock diaspora—camps that have sprung up across the country to oppose fossil fuel projects, living on after the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). To the east, in Huntingdon County, Penn., the Gerhart family and their supporters have formed Camp White Pine on family property, which lies in the path of the Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline. The pipeline’s owner, Energy Transfer Partners—the same company behind DAPL—hasinvoked eminent domain to cross the property, but construction faces resistance in the form of tree sits and other direct actions. Farther east, in Mahwah, N.J., the Native-led Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp stands in the way of the Pilgrim pipeline. The camp’s Facebook page declares “solidarity with Standing Rock & all who resist the black snake worldwide.”

Lawsuits Against DuPont And Chemours For Contaminating Drinking Water In North Carolina

Illustration: The Intercept

By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept – AFTER YEARS of litigation over PFOA, an industrial toxin used to make Teflon and other non-stick and stain-resistant products, in 2009 DuPont introduced GenX. Now the slippery substitute has followed the path of the molecule it replaced, contaminating water near plants in West Virginia and North Carolina, and attracting its own intense legal interest. The lawsuits over PFOA exposed the chemical’s links to several diseases, including kidney and testicular cancer. Like PFOA, also known as C8, GenX is a perfluorinated compound and similarly, was the subject of internal DuPont research showing it poses many of the same health concerns as the original chemical. Also like PFOA, GenX persists indefinitely in the environment. In the past two weeks, two citizens groups in North Carolina announced plans to sue Chemours, the DuPont spinoff company that now makes GenX, over its release of the chemical from its plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority issued a letter of intent to sue both Chemours and DuPont last week over violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act over release of GenX into the Cape Fear River, which is a source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people in the Wilmington area.

Feds Back In Pa. ‘Gasland’ Town To Test Water, Air

This Feb. 13, 2012, file photo shows a Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. wellhead in Dimock, Pa. Federal government scientists are collecting water and air samples in the first week of August 2017 from about 25 homes in Dimock, Pa., a tiny, rural crossroads about 150 miles north of Philadelphia that became a flashpoint in the national debate over fracking, to investigate ongoing complaints about the quality of the drinking water. Associated Press

By Michael Rubinkam for The Sentinel – The federal government has returned to a Pennsylvania village that became a flashpoint in the national debate over fracking to investigate ongoing complaints about the quality of the drinking water. Government scientists are collecting water and air samples this week from about 25 homes in Dimock, a tiny crossroads about 150 miles north of Philadelphia. “Residents have continued to raise concerns about natural gas activities impacting their private water well quality,” the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said Thursday in a statement to The Associated Press. Dimock was the scene of the most highly publicized case of methane contamination to emerge from the early days of Pennsylvania’s natural-gas drilling boom. State regulators blamed faulty gas wells drilled by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. for leaking combustible methane into Dimock’s groundwater. Cabot, one of the largest natural gas producers in the state, has consistently denied responsibility, saying methane was an issue in the groundwater long before it began drilling. The ATSDR, a federal public health agency, said Thursday that it is “conducting an exposure investigation to determine if there are drinking water quality issues that may continue to pose a health threat.”

Pollutants in Virtually All U.S. Public Water Systems

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By Staff for Environmental Working Group. The disturbing truth is that, all too often, a glass of tap water also comes with a dose of industrial and agricultural contaminants that have been linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, or developmental defects. “Just because your tap water gets a passing grade from the government doesn’t always mean it’s safe,” Cook said. “It’s time to stop basing environmental regulations on political or economic compromises, and instead listen to what scientists say about the long-term effects of toxic chemicals and empower Americans to protect themselves from pollutants even as they demand the protective action they deserve from government.” The vast majority of utilities are in compliance with federal regulations, but their water still often contains contaminants in concentrations exceeding the levels that scientists say pose health risks. Many of the existing legal limits are set far above levels that are truly health protective.

Trump Administration Makes Key Decision That Threatens Water Supply Of Millions

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By Reynard Loki for AlterNet – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly issuing a proposed rule to undo the Clean Water Rule that was enacted in May 2015, under President Obama’s last term. The rule protects the water supply for more than 117 million Americans. Also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), the Clean Water Rule puts limits on pollution in the wetlands, rivers and streams that feed the nation’s larger waterways. Those limits are essential for protecting the safety of the drinking water on which millions of American rely. The rule also safeguards those waters for swimming, fishing and other activities. In addition, the rule helps to maintain the biological integrity of those smaller waterways, in turn protecting wildlife by keeping aquatic ecosystems healthy. When the rule was issued, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers resolved decades of legal debate among politicians, environmentalists and public health advocates, saying that smaller waterways across the nations—tens of millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of streams—actually qualify for legal protection under the Clean Water Act, the primary federal law that protects communities and ecosystems from water pollution.

2 Billion People Don’t Have Access To Clean Water, Opens Up Fissures Of Inequality

On 9 February 2016 in central Ethiopia, children and women from a semi-pastoralist community wait their turn to fill jerrycans with clean water at a water point in Haro Huba Kebele in Fantale Woreda, in East Shoa Zone, Oromia Region. Credit: © UNICEF/UN011590/Ayene

By Roshni Majumdar for IPS – UNITED NATIONS, Jul 13 2017 (IPS) – More than two billion people lack access to clean and safe drinking water, according to a new report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Although significant progress to ensure access to drinking water has been achieved, there is still a long way to go to ensure its quality—deemed free from pollutants and safe for drinking. “Clean water and sanitation is central to other outcomes, for example, nutrition among children. While many countries like India have made it a top priority, many others haven’t been able to emphasise the issue yet,” Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at UNICEF, told IPS. As many as 400 million people still rely on distant water sources—travelling to and fro from their homes to pick it up. Some 159 million people, according to the report, rely on untreated water from lakes and streams. This puts lives, especially of young children, at great risk. “Every day, 800 children under the age of five die from waterborne diseases like diarrhoea. In fact, diarrhoea is the second biggest cause of death in the world.” Wijesekera added. A lack of access to clean drinking water is also bad news for hygiene and sanitary levels. In many countries, open defecation due to the lack of in-house toilets poses a significant challenge. “The sheer indignity of openly defecating, especially among young girls, takes a toll on other aspects of their lives—such as their poor attendance in school where there aren’t toilets,” Wijesekera explained.

Nine Activists Put Their Bodies On The Line For Water In Detroit

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By Drew Philp for The Guardian – In 1964, while still in her early twenties, Marian Kramer sat at a lunch counter in Monroe, Louisiana, and was served a tuna fish sandwich and a glass of dishwater. A committed civil rights activist, Kramer would regularly participate in integrated lunch counter sit-ins, organize picket lines and register black people to vote. For this, both the Ku Klux Klan and the police were after her. The first time Kramer drove an automobile was because of the KKK, in fact. While being chased by the hate group, the original driver of the vehicle had lost her nerve and Kramer, never one to give up, took the wheel and drove to the house of a black farmer, where they were hidden. When the owner of a local store shot at a young black man, Kramer helped organize a picket line, a full-on boycott. For her trouble in facilitating the sea change of human rights for African Americans in the 20th century, the policethrew her into a recently emptied garbage truck, the walls dripping with the sludge from the trash of a nation. She was placed in jail and, alongside other leaders, spent eight days and nights in solitary confinement. She was charged with disorderly conduct. But that’s ancient history. Isn’t it? More than 50 years and the turn of a century later, Kramer, now 73, sat in a chintzy Detroit courtroom charged with the exact same offense. Her co-defendant, an ordained Methodist minister named Bill Wylie-Kellermann, sat next to her.

Our Nation’s Growing Water Crisis: What You Need To Know

Detroit Water shut-off protest sign. Photograph by James Fassinger

By Staff of EKU Online – The existing water pipes used to supply water to homes, businesses, schools and commercial buildings were installed at different times and were made from different materials and manufacturing techniques. Therefore, they have different life expectancies. Cast iron pipes have a lifespan of around 120 years and were introduced in the late 19th century. On the other hand, ductile iron pipes have an average life expectancy of 50 to 70 years and were introduced in the 1950′s. The water pipes used in many cities across the United States were installed between 70 to 90 years ago. In Washington DC, the average age of existing water pipes is 77 years. This is a real shame considering that the United States is the most developed country in the world as well as the richest nation on the planet, but it’s not able to deliver clean drinking water to it’s citizens safely and efficiently. Take the case of Flint, MI, where the city supplied dirty water contaminated with unbelievable quantities of lead. This was a classic example of areas in which the country is lagging behind. Every single year, an average of 240,000 water breaks are reported. The cost of repairing these broken pipes is incredibly high. In fact, 75% of the cost of drinking water can be attributed to pipe repair costs. On average, 1.7 trillion gallons of water is wasted every year due to broken pipes and lack of pipe replacement.

Battle To Oppose Water Privatization Returns Greece To Frontlines Of E.U. Crisis

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By Maria Paradia for Occupy – In late September 2016, the Syriza administration laid the groundwork to begin Greece’s water privatization, achieving a majority of 152 parliamentary votes and enacting series of new measures to transfer the state-run water companies of Athens (EYDAP) and Thessaloniki (EYATH) into a privatization superfund. The duration of the government’s participation in the superfund was set at 99 years, with lenders promising the Greek government a bailout of barely 2.8 billion euros – far lower than the projected 50 billion euros estimated earlier in the year. While Greece was forced to privatize its water sources, however, other countries like Germany were undergoing the opposite: a phase of de-privatization. In Berlin, after 12 years of poor management and exorbitant price hikes, the local government several years ago reclaimed its water resources. This turn of events caused a series of similar de-privatization initiatives across the country, revealing that the projected economic outcomes via privatization weren’t viable in the long term. In fact, the re-established state-run services were proven to be far more efficient, better organized and capable of providing higher-quality services than their privatized counterparts.

Water And Oil, Death And Life In Louisiana

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By Nora Belblidia for Uneven Earth – Six months ago, a routine public hearing was scheduled in a nondescript gray government building in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Normally these hearings go over really quietly,” said Scott Eustis, the Wetlands Specialist for Gulf Restoration Network (GRN). “Usually it’s me, my associates, and like ten people.” Instead, over 400 people showed up to the Baton Rouge hearing, and stayed for nearly six hours. The debate centered on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a proposed route that would run 163 miles from Lake Charles to St. James, forming the “tail” of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and effectively connecting oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana refineries. If built, Bayou Bridge would cross 11 parishes, 600 acres of wetlands, 700 bodies of water, and the state-designated Coastal Zone Boundary. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) is behind both the Bayou Bridge project and the more infamous DAPL, but the parallels run deeper than a mutual stakeholder. Just like in DAPL, those who resist the project are drawing connections between past wrongdoings, conditions today, and a future climate. Residents cite safety concerns, environmental racism, pollution, and threats to the region’s wetlands and seafood industries as reasons to oppose its construction.

No Pipelines Under The Potomac Camp To Launch

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By No Potomac Pipeline. From Standing Rock to Hancock people are rising up to resist fracked gas pipelines in their community. Following a historic fight in Maryland, where we became the first state with gas reserves to legislatively ban fracking, we still find our communities our under attack by Big Oil and Gas. TransCanada the same company behind the Keystone Pipeline that spilled over 16000 gallons of crude oil on South Dakota land now wants to build a pipeline that would transport fracked gas between Pennsylvania and West Virginia. How are they going to do this? They are going to do it through the shortest and cheapest route by cutting through Maryland and underneath the Potomac River that serves as the source of drinking water for millions of residents in our state and the DC suburbs.

Greece Forced To Sell Public Water Utilities Under EU-Imposed Privatization Plan

A protester takes part in a rally against the privatization of the state-run water utility, in Thessaloniki, Greece.(AP/Nikolas Giakoumidis)

By Michael Nevradakis for Mint Press News – GREECE — In May 2016, the SYRIZA-led Greek government passed a new comprehensive set of economic austerity policies in exchange for receiving new loans that are intended to keep the country’s fragile economy afloat. This represents the fourth such “memorandum” between Greece and its creditors since the onset of the country’s economic crisis in 2009. It follows the third memorandum agreement passed by the SYRIZA-led government in the summer of 2015, just weeks after 62 percent of Greek voters rejected more EU-demanded austerity measures in the historic Greek referendum of July 5. What both of these memorandum agreements have in common, along with the first two agreements voted upon by previous Greek governments, is the wholesale imposition of economic austerity measures, including pension and wage cuts, in addition to a wide-ranging program of privatizations of key public assets. Just in the past year, 14 major regional Greek airports were privatized, as was the port of Piraeus, Greece’s largest port and one of the largest in Europe. More recently, the port of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, was also privatized to a consortium of investors.