Posted on October 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Fish-eating ospreys not showing signs of contamination
Ospreys so far are not picking up significant amounts of pharmaceutical pollution found in many streams and rivers around the world. bberwyn photo
FRISCO — Pharmaceutical compounds from makeup and drugs are turning up in streams and rivers all over the world, even in remote Yucatan cenotes, but for now, they don’t seem to be working their way up the food chain.
The chemicals have been finding their way into the environment, primarily through wastewater, urban runoff and even biosolids applied to agricultural lands, but he impact on wildlife is unknown, so researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and Baylor University teamed up to try and track the pollutants through the food chain by testing ospreys. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: bioaccumulation, Environment, ospreys, pharmaceutical pollutants, water quality, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
All-out remediation effort targets acid mine drainage near Keystone Ski Area
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — For decades, the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine has been oozing heavy metals — zinc, manganese, cadmium, lead and and arsenic — into the waters of Peru Creek, a small tributary of the Snake River near Keystone, Colorado. The site has been the focus of intensive study during the past 15 years with the goal of improving water quality downstream.
Last week, engineers and environmental experts took a big step toward trying to staunch that flow by blocking one of the mine tunnels. If all goes well, the new bulkhead could reduce the direct discharge from the mine by about two-thirds, said Jeff Graves, a remediation expert with the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety.
Graves explained that the new plug should force the water back into its natural underground pathways, trickling and percolating down through layers of rock and earth, and not as prone to the oxidation that’s key in the formation of acid mine drainage. Essentially, the work will restore the groundwater flow to more natural, pre-mining conditions, he said. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: abandoned mine pollution, acid mine drainage, EPA, Pennsylvania Mine, Peru Creek, Snake River Colorado, Snake River watershed task force | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Is there mercury in your trout?
National assessment by USGS pinpoints regional mercury hotspots
FRISCO — Widespread mercury contamination is one of the many signs of continued global environmental degradation. Currently, there are fish consumption advisories for mercury in all 50 states in the U.S. Methylmercury concentrations in fish exceed the human health criterion in about one in four U.S. streams.
A new USGS report takes a comprehensive look at mercury contamination in streams across the United States, finding the highest concentrations in the Southeast and in the West, where some streams were degraded by historic mining activities.
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in fish to levels of concern for human health and the health of fish-eating wildlife. Much of the mercury originates from combustion of coal and can travel long distances in the atmosphere before being deposited. This can result in mercury-contaminated fish in areas with no obvious source of mercury pollution. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, mercury pollution, mercury stream assessment, USGS, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Central Valley groundwater tainted by illegal injections of oil and gas industry wastewater
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — All those warm-n-fuzzy fossil fuel industry ads showing clean-cut techs in lab coats with clipboards may play well on your plasma screen, but reality is a little different.
Rather than being upstanding corporate citizens looking out for the country’s best interests, some energy companies operating in California have been illegally injecting huge quantities of oil and gas wastewater into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, water, water quality | Tagged: California, Central Valley, Environment, fracking, wastewater injection, water pollution | 3 Comments »
Posted on October 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
How pure is your groundwater?
Iowa stream sampling shows common drugs turning up in well water
FRISCO — Research in a small stream near Des Moines, Iowa shows how pharmaceuticals and other hard-to-remove pollutants from treated municipal wastewater can travel into shallow groundwater following their release to streams.
“Water level measurements obtained during this study clearly show that stream levels drive daily trends in groundwater levels,” said Paul Bradley, lead author of the new U.S. Geological Survey study. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, groundwater, Persistent organic pollutants, pharmaceuticals, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Salmon fisheries at risk with open-pit mine proposal
The EPA will be allowed to do a thorough evaluation of the impacts of a proposed copper mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, a federal judge has ruled.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A federal judge Friday ruled that the EPA can proceed with an environmental review of a proposed copper mine in Alaska’ pristine Bristol Bay.
U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland rejected arguments that the EPA exceeded its authority by starting the review process in the absence of a specific permit application, and that the review violates the Alaska Statehood Act.
At issue is the proposed Pebble Mine, which would, according to environmental groups, become the largest copper mine in the world, potentially tainting huge areas of productive salmon habitat with dredged material and other pollutants. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality, wetlands | Tagged: 404 permit, Bristol Bay Alaska, Environment, EPA, mining, Pebble Mine, salmon | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Shrimp boats moored along Apalachicola Bay, Florida.
Daily low-level leaks add up
FRISCO —Recreational boating has become a major source of oil pollution along Canada’s coast. The spills and leaks are posing a major threat to marine ecosystems in the Pacific according to University of Calgary researchers who analyzed patterns of oil pollution off the coast.
The findings were compiled from data gathered by a National Aerial Surveillance Program with the use of remote sensing devices. The scientists concluded that oil from recreational boats polluting the ocean along the British Columbia coast more than oil tankers and commercial cargo ships. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, Ocean, oil spills, water pollution | 1 Comment »