Water Health

United States Earns a “D” on 2017 Drinking Water Infrastructure Report Card

United States civil infrastructure is deteriorating.

Aging and groaning under increasing strain year after year, massive investments are necessary in the near future to ensure that our nation's infrastructure can keep pace with a growing population and continue to operate in the way Americans have grown to expect: without much trouble.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the United States must invest approximately $3.6 trillion in infrastructure repairs and improvements by 2020. In 2013 it was estimated that our country is shy of this amount by $1.6 trillion. Particularly maligned sectors include energy, transit, aviation, levees, dams, roads, schools, waterways, hazardous waste, wastewater, and, yes, drinking water.

All of the above sectors received a D+ score—or worse— in the most recent ASCE Infrastructure Report Card in 2017. The overall U.S. infrastructure grade was set at a D+, which not so inspiringly manages to be an improvement over the D grade the civil engineering body awarded U.S. infrastructure in 2009.

The drinking water category specifically was awarded a meager “D” in the 2017 report.

It’s clear that many challenges are ahead, but because we’re a water-focused company, let’s take a brief look at the problem of U.S. drinking water infrastructure and what it means for your water quality and your wallet.

What is the U.S. Drinking Water Infrastructure Situation?

The country’s drinking water infrastructure is now approaching the end of its useful life.

After all, U.S. infrastructure was originally constructed approximately 75 to 100 years ago. It was never meant to hold up for much longer than it has. We've more than reached our “due date” for a required infrastructure overhaul on many pipes, mains, and channels. 

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) documents that there are approximately 240,000 water main breaks every year in the United States. If one were to assume that each pipe required replacement, the cost from this alone would likely reach $1 trillion (per AWWA).

Fortunately, drinking water quality overall remains “high,” particularly in relation to other parts of the world. Still, there’s no getting past the fact that many of the mains and pipes in the U.S. are now more than a century old, meaning they require large scale investments sooner rather than later.

And despite an overall high quality of drinking water, cities like Flint, Michigan demonstrate that aging pipes can lead to dangerous health problems when not managed properly. If drinking water infrastructure needs continue to be ignored, water quality in this country will eventually experience a sharp downturn.

What the Government Can Do About the Drinking Water Infrastructure Situation

"We must commit today to investing in modern, efficient infrastructure systems to position the U.S. for economic prosperity," said ASCE President Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E. to CBS News. "Infrastructure can either be the engine for long-term economic growth and employment, or, it can jeopardize our nation's standing if poor roads, deficient bridges, and failing waterways continue to hurt our economy."

Indeed, the best thing we can hope for on a macro level are government infrastructure investments. Elizabeth McNichol, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says:

There’s lots to be done. Investments in well-maintained roads, railroads, airports and ports, as well as well-functioning water and sewer systems, help businesses and communities thrive. State-of-the art schools free from crowding and safety hazards improve educational opportunities for future workers.

McNichol also suggests that states target investment in their low-income areas, as she notes that these localities are at greatest risk for problems such as aging lead pipes that are known to leach lead into drinking water—a well-established human health risk.

 The ASCE estimates there are approximately 240,000 water main breaks every year in the U.S. Put differently, our aging pipes are wasting 2.1 trillion gallons of water a year. Put another way, Chicago’s Center for Neighborhood Technology estimates approximately 6 billion gallons of water is lost each day. These staggering numbers demand immediate action, but there remains a looming question: who will pay?

01-rethink-what-you-drink-faucet.jpg

Who will pay: private, public, or private equity?

Public, private, or private equity. These are the three main modes of financing infrastructure development in the U.S, with the latter being relatively new and potentially controversial.

Public sector funding often comes from tax-dollars through propositions in states like California or federally-sponsored bonds. Essentially this type of infrastructure financing is through taxpayer dollars.

Private sector funding requires companies to invest and operate water infrastructure projects. Cost-recovery for projects is often passed on to consumers through their water bill.

A third financing option is the basis for the public infrastructure funding strategy of the current president: private equity. Private equity financing brings bankers and hedge funds together with municipalities to finance projects. Though initially appealing–cities can get large sums of capital up front at low interest rates–cities experimenting with private equity water infrastructure investment have frequently found themselves beholden to shareholder values rather than citizen values of safe, affordable drinking water. Cost recovery for projects is often attended with an agreed-upon fixed return on investment for the investors. Private equity funding is currently a minority of drinking water infrastructure investment, and several deals have made headlines for controversial price hikes and poor management oversight.

What You Can Do About Your Drinking Water

While major investments by federal and state governments are critical to the U.S. drinking water infrastructure’s health in the near future, there’s no distinct timetable for their implementation.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for authorities to take action or learn about how our D-grade water infrastructure impacts your water quality. Check out Tap Score to learn more.

 

SimpleWater: We Test, Therefore We Know.

A note from the caring folks at SimpleWater — We are a water testing, analysis and health data company intent on providing the best water testing, analysis and reporting service ever created. 

We serve homes, families and businesses asking: “what’s in my water, what does it mean, and how do I ensure the safety of what I’m drinking?”

SimpleWater’s national team of certified laboratory scientists, engineers, health experts and designers provide each customer with a personalized Tap Score Water Quality Report. SimpleWater’s Tap Score is the Nation’s First Smart Water Testing Service for affordable and informative contaminant screening and personalized treatment recommendations.

Call Anytime :: 888 34 MY WATER (+1-888-346-9928)

Find Out What’s In Your Water at MyTapScore.Com

Nitrates and Accountability in Des Moines

Des Moines Water Works loses contentious drinking water case to Iowan farmers

Image Rights: Culligan International

Image Rights: Culligan International

While there’s been much focus the past year on Flint, concern over clean drinking water isn’t limited to the confines of the Michigan town.

Des Moines, Iowa has its own problem with clean water due to nitrate runoff from farms, and the issue came to a head last month when an unprecedented litigation concluded that drainage basin districts, and indirectly farmers, were not responsible for drinking water costs associated with cleaning up nitrate runoff. 

It all revolves around nitrate contamination in Iowa’s Raccoon River, but the details of the lawsuit demonstrate the delicate interplay between water utilities, citizens, and politics when it comes to safeguarding U.S. water.

What is the Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit?

The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit is a 2015 federal lawsuit invoking the Clean Water Act against three local Iowan counties (Calhoun County, Sac County, and Buena Vista County) and their respective Boards of Supervisors.

The plaintiff? The Des Moines Board of Water Works Trustees.

Des Moines Water Works offers water service to Des Moines, as well as the Warren County Water System, Windsor Heights, and Polk County. It was the Water Works’ assertion that the counties named in the lawsuit are ultimately responsible for farm runoff that has polluted the water, because the counties supervise the various drainage districts that appear to be at fault.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declares that nitrates in drinking water must not exceed 10 milligrams per liter (10 mg/L). Once that limit is exceeded, water consumption can prove hazardous, particularly to infants six months and younger.

Des Moines Water Works insisted that they spent decades attempting to align with farmers and agriculture groups to reach a solution, but that the collaborative effort has spectacularly failed. So spectacularly, in fact, that not only has the drinking water deteriorated in the last 25 years, but there has been a state-assessed 15-percent increase in health concerns, such as nutrient pollution and bacterial outbreaks, in the area in the last two years alone.

Even more startling is that Sac County testing has revealed that toxic nitrogen levels in a number of its waterways emptying into the Raccoon River are at five times the standard the EPA considers safe.

Citing the failure of voluntary conservation efforts to safeguard the area’s drinking water—and the fact the Water Works spent $1.5 million in 2015 after lengthy operation of their nitrate removal system following the record-high Raccoon River nitrogen pollution—the Water Works filed the lawsuit. General manager of the Des Moines Water Works, Bill Stowe, elaborated further on the decision recently in this Environmental Working Group video.

Landmark Implications in Des Moines

Des Moines Water Works argued within the lawsuit that the ultimate, primary source of the nitrate pollution is farm field and animal operations runoff moving from subsurface drains into various bodies of water before flowing into the Mississippi River.

The issue with this contention, of course, is the position it placed farmers in.

Iowa is a farming state. Approximately one-third of its economy is fueled by agriculture.

University of Iowa professor of environmental engineering, David Cwiertny, elaborates on the political challenges:

It’s a really delicate subject because inevitably, with an issue like water quality, a source has to be identified; the cause of the problem. But at the same time, to have the best chance of reaching a solution you have to minimize the finger pointing and do as much on a unified front where multiple interests can align, and I think that might be where we are struggling a bit in Iowa right now.

If the Water Works won the case, it would be a landmark decision, as the suit claimed that the drainage districts are point-source polluters identifiable as a result of their infrastructure acting as the conduit carrying the farm runoff. The counties supervise the districts. However, agriculture runoff is considered non-point source pollution due to difficult-to-quantify, diffuse origins. This is one contributing factor as to why many farming operations are Clean Water Act exempt.

A win for the Water Works would have meant that farmers are held accountable in the future for any polluted field runoff draining into canals and waterways. And not just in the state of Iowa, either—potentially throughout the entire United States.

It comes down to dollars and cents, too. A Water Works win would have put farmers on the hook for pollution prevention items that include biofilters, cover crops, and buffer strips. Such conservation efforts would be costly for farmers.

Fearing these consequences, farmers within the state started joining together in September, 2016 to fund legal costs to defend the drainage districts cited in the lawsuit. These include the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

Throughout the case, farmers claimed that they would not be able to shoulder the costs of losing to Water Works. To quote Cwiertny:

Farmers want clean water, but… At the same time, the state must help farmers invest in clean water improvements to ensure success. The precise mechanism for success might be a mix of regulation, financial incentives and collaboration in varying parts, but it’s the commitment by all stakeholders to see it through that matters.

Case Dismissed: A Blow to Water Works

On March 17, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the drainage basins and dismissed the charges brought forward by Water Works. The court ruled that the drainage districts, and thus the farmers, did not have the "police powers" that state counties have. The ruling thus concludes that responsibility for managing the problem will be in the Iowan legislature. For now it would seem that Des Moines Water Works' $80 million investment for nitrate removal technologies will be on the shoulders of the utility and the consumers, raising concerns about rising water rates looking to offset the costs. 

The problem remains complex. The case has environmentalists worried that accountability has just been officially passed downstream, and that it's bigger than just drinking water. Threats from nitrate run-off, like toxic blue-green algae blooms, will persist without upstream management.

A Bigger Problem Than Iowa

In November, 2016, The Mississippi River Collaborative issued a report taking to task the “weak and ineffective” efforts of the EPA to contain nitrate contamination. The report examined efforts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Minnesota, Iowa, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, finding that eight of those states had insufficient nutrient reduction strategies. The Mississippi River Collaborative blames the EPA for lackluster funding and unenforceable regulations.

Kris Sigford, water quality director at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, elaborates:

The results of the EPA’s hands-off approach with the Mississippi River basin states are massive algae blooms and nitrate contamination that make our drinking water unsafe and render lakes and rivers unfit for recreation.

The EPA’s response highlights the dire challenges that remain. They contend they "cannot solve nutrient pollution by top-down federal action.”

State and nationwide resolution of the threat posed by nitrates in drinking water is clearly not on the immediate horizon, and that it will be the states, not the federal government, managing the question of accountability.


SimpleWater: We Test, Therefore We Know.

A note from the caring folks at SimpleWater — We are a water testing, analysis and health data company intent on providing the best water testing, analysis and reporting service ever created. 

We serve homes, families and businesses asking: “what’s in my water, what does it mean, and how do I ensure the safety of what I’m drinking?”

SimpleWater’s national team of certified laboratory scientists, engineers, health experts and designers provide each customer with a personalized Tap Score Water Quality Report. SimpleWater’s Tap Score is the Nation’s First Smart Water Testing Service for affordable and informative contaminant screening and personalized treatment recommendations.

Call Anytime :: 888 34 MY WATER (+1-888-346-9928)

Find Out What’s In Your Water at MyTapScore.Com

 

The Coal Ash Map

Coal Ash Map By SimpleWater, Inc —  https://mytapscore.com/pages/the-coal-ash-map

Coal Ash Map By SimpleWater, Inc — https://mytapscore.com/pages/the-coal-ash-map

The SimpleWater Coal Ash Map V.1

 

We created The Coal Ash Map to highlight the health risks posed by some of the most dangerous contaminants found in US waters: Arsenic, Beryllium, Boron, Cadmium, Chromium-6, Cobalt, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Selenium, Thallium, and Uranium. The map visualizes where the United States Government is testing for, detecting, not detecting, and sometimes not even testing for these potential threats.

While each contaminant can come from a variety of industrial activities, and even from natural underground rock formations, what they all have in common is that they are all commonly found in coal ash, the largest solid waste stream produced by the US coal industry.

The map shows two things:

  1. The location of yellow, orange, red, and purple points represents sites where the contaminants have been tested for in the past decade. Their color represents SimpleWater’s evaluation of the health risk posed by the concentrations measured.
  2. The locations of coal ash disposal ponds and landfills are shown as a bright green points on the map. By clicking on one, you can see:
  • The name of the facility
  • Whether it is lined (i.e. less likely to leak into groundwater)
  • Distance to the nearest surface water body

You can find more information about our methods in the Appendix below.

Why Coal Ash?

Coal ash is a toxic byproduct of burning coal. It can take the form of a fine powder, wet slurry or coarse slag and it contains many of the world’s most harmful toxic metals. Because coal is burned for about 30% of US electricity production, it accounts for the second largest industrial waste stream in the United States.

The EPA has national rules for the management and disposal of coal ash due to the potentially harmful chemicals found within it. These rules, however, are highly controversial. In 2010, after several high-profile spills in Kingston, TN and Eden, NC many environmentalists and health experts fought to declare coal ash as a Hazardous Waste. With as much as $10B in annual coal ash recycling revenues potentially on the line, industry lobbyists fought back. After much deliberation on a complex issue, the EPA maintained coal ash as a Non-Hazardous Waste.

As with many toxic waste streams from industrial activity, coal ash doesn’t simply disappear. Trucks and trains carry approximately 130 tons of coal ash every year to more than 1,100 dump sites nationwide. Some States even allow the recycling of coal ash into other products like top soil. Contaminants in coal the ash have a way of sticking around, (scientists often say, “persisting”) and can readily leak into the environment if the holding infrastructure deteriorates. If things go wrong, these potentially harmful coal ash contaminants can find their way into our bodies through drinking water.

According to the US EPA draft report, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment of Coal Combustion Wastes people living within 1 mile of unlined coal ash ponds experience a 1 in 50 additional cancer risk from potential arsenic and cadmium exposure.

What makes this map special?

At SimpleWater, we care about the relationship between toxic contaminants and our water. With our access to one of the largest water testing datasets available and cutting edge geospatial technologies, we are able to paint this vivid picture for you.

One of the biggest challenges of showing different contaminants together on a single map is that they become dangerous to humans at different concentrations. Because of this, a useful map should not simply show the amount measured for each contaminant. We took this visualization a step further with our extensive contaminant health data, and made the map about human health impact, rather than just concentrations.

The map is for those who care about what may be in their groundwater well. It’s also for those who have a more general interest in the environmental impact of one of the dirtiest human activities. Establishing causality between the contaminants and the disposal sites requires intensive research and is beyond the scope of this version of the map.

One thing we can see is how many regions with a high number of disposal facilities have not engaged in substantial water testing for the contaminants found in coal ash. The regions with few points represent what we don’t know. States like California, with rigorous environmental testing programs, will appear brighter on the map due to the high number of tests performed.

See anything interesting or strange? Curious about how you can support our ongoing research? Send us your thoughts at info@simplewater.us.

How to Read It

What do the points mean?

Each of the almost 34,000 points represents an aggregate of all water quality tests performed in its vicinity.This means two sampling locations very near to each other are displayed as one. Moreover, we only show the most recent data available for each contaminant, so if a location has results for arsenic in 2008 reading 10 PPB and in 2015 reading 3 PPB we only show the 3 PPB result.

When you click on a location, you see the most recent test result for each of the tracked contaminants. You also see if they were tested for, and not detected. Each detection is shown as:

[ Contaminant Name ] : [ Detection Result ] / [ SimpleWater Health Recommendation ] [ Unit ] — [ Approximate Health Risk Evaluation ]

simplewater coal ash map details

 

What is the SimpleWater Health Recommendation?

Simply put, SWR is the most stringent of all Federal and State regulations and Public Health Goals set for a given contaminant. When official regulations are not available, as with new and emerging contaminants, we use our own research and other authoritative guidelines to make a safe recommendation. For more details on how we calculate health risk scores, contact us at info@simplewater.us.

Health Risk Evaluation Definitions:

  • BELOW DANGEROUS LEVELS: Contaminant concentration does not violate the SimpleWater Health Recommendation (SWR).
  • SLIGHTLY ELEVATED: Contaminant concentration is above SWR but within the range of sampling error.
  • ELEVATED: Contaminant concentration is above SWR and could pose a small health risk with prolonged exposure.
  • MODERATE: Contaminant concentration is significantly above SWR and could pose health risks to individuals drinking this water untreated for a prolonged period of time.
  • HIGH: In the case of carcinogenic contaminants, “HIGH” indicates a concentration that exceeds a 1 in 10,000 additional lifetime risk of death due to cancer from having that contaminant in your daily drinking water. For harmful but non-carcinogenic effects, “HIGH” represents SimpleWater’s best estimate for an equivalent non-cancer threat to the human body. Water with any contaminant present at this level should not be consumed without treating it specifically for the underlying contaminant.
  • VERY HIGH: Prolonged exposure to the contaminant could represent as much as a 1 in 1,000 risk of cancer or an equivalent threat to the human body.
  • SEVERE: 10x the ‘VERY HIGH’ Concentration.
  • VERY SEVERE: 100x the ‘VERY HIGH’ Concentration.
  • EXTREME: 1,000x the ‘VERY HIGH’ Concentration.
  • VERY EXTREME: 10,000x the ‘VERY HIGH’ Concentration.

Each of these risk levels was given a numerical score starting at 1 for Slightly Elevated and increasing by a factor of 10 at each stage. For example, 10 for Elevated, 100 for Moderate, and 1,000 for High. We determined the color of each point on the map by adding the scores for all the contaminants present at a given location.

Due to the inherent complexity of combining health risks from multiple contaminants, the colors and descriptions on the legend should be used as a general guide. The pop-up that appears when clicking on a point shows the individual contaminant results along with our Health Risk Evaluation.

A larger point indicates locations where more contaminants were tested for and discovered at potentially harmful levels. A smaller point indicates a location with a lesser variety of dangerous test results.

For mobile users, who might not see the legend on the map, it is also available below. A Low color corresponds to a penalty at or under 1,000; Moderatecorresponds to 1,001–10,000; High to 10,001–100,000; Severe to 100,001–1,000,000; Most Severe to 1,000,001 and above.

coal ash map legend simplewater

About non-detections:

Just because there are no points in an area, does not necessarily mean the water there is safe. It means that we found no data for tests performed recently near that location. In order to show a contaminant as tested and not detected, we only go back 5 years. In other words, if something was tested 7 years ago, and no detection was made, we consider it untested.

A point with a light yellow color means there are no serious violations for this specific set of 12 contaminants but says nothing about whether tests have been conducted. The only way to know is to click on a point and view the details. Even when all or many of the coal ash contaminants have been tested for and not found, there could be other dangerous contaminants on site. For example, nitrates and PCB’s are not tracked on this map.

We encourage you to use the map search tool (magnifying glass in lower left) to find your community and discover what kind of readings or gaps in testing are present. Contact us if you have questions.

Should I Panic?

In a word, no.

If you see a point with a severe risk assessment near your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are drinking dangerous water. If your drinking water comes from a Public Water System, the source for that water may be far away.

The only way to be sure about your water is to test it regularly, especially if you are drinking from a private well in a high risk area or getting your water from a Public Water System that serves under 10,000 people.

SimpleWater

SimpleWater is a social enterprise founded at the University of California, Berkeley with the mission of delivering the best water quality testing service imaginable. This means drawing the connection between water quality analysis and personal health factors in a way never done before. Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right, and continuous improvement to our testing, analysis, and reporting technologies is vital for enabling this.

We created the most informative water test ever conceived and called it Tap Score. The Tap Score water quality report includes detailed information about everything measured in your water, as well as personalized treatment product recommendations based on your contaminant profile and usage needs. We can help you determine what you should test for based on your water source and location. Visit http://mytapscore.com for more information about Tap Score and http://simplewater.us for more information about SimpleWater, Inc.

Appendix A: Methodology Summary

Legal Disclaimer: SimpleWater makes no claims or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the data in this map or in the informational pop-up windows.

Contaminant and Coal Ash Data

Data for the Contaminant Results was provided by the US EPA and represents the combined set of results from dozens of Federal and State agencies. Data for the coal ash sites was acquired and published by the Sierra Club through a Freedom of Information Act request.
In order to make the Contaminant Results Data usable for this map, it was cleaned in the following ways:

  • We removed sampling locations that do not properly represent environmental water. In other words, we made sure the points in the map represent wells, springs, streams, or sometimes waste effluent that is being released into the environment. We avoided contained sites that represent closed systems and do not interact with their environment.
  • We included only results where the sample was collected in the last 10 years as of 1-Feb-2017. We’ve made the assumption that the dates attached to the tests can be trusted, even though a small fraction of the reported dates may be inaccurate.
  • We included only samples of water, not solids found in sediment, etc.
  • We used only test results that can be converted to Parts Per Billion for this map. This means we ignored tests for radioactivity (pCi/L), for example.
  • We did not add any sort of penalty to the points for not testing the full set of contaminants, hence the important note about non-detections above.
  • As mentioned above, testing locations very near to each other were consolidated.
  • We ignored results with bad geocoding (e.g. in Cleveland but appearing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) to the extent possible. We know a few results have been recorded in incorrect locations and will try to address this once we have the resources.
  • While the health data represents intensive research by our team it is actively being improved by a team of experts from leading universities. This is a work in progress and will evolve as the scientific community’s knowledge about the health effects of these contaminants grows.

Health Data

Data used for the analysis of contaminant health risks is sourced from a variety of professional health institutions and publicly available resources. In particular, SimpleWater aggregates toxicological and epidemiological studies, then tracks the most concerning water-borne chemical contaminants. Contaminants are chosen if they fit any of the following rules:

  1. Regulated under the US Federal Safe Drinking Water Act
  2. Regulated under State laws
  3. Listed as Emerging Contaminants by US EPA
  4. Considered to be important to SimpleWater Customers

Toxicological and epidemiological reports prepared by health authorities and research institutions are then compiled for each contaminant. We categorize the key findings and structure the quantifiable health data according to the following analysis.

Exposure Pathway

  • Specific To Drinking Water?
  • Specific To Oral Route?

Quality of Scientific Rigor

  • Testing Sample Size
  • Quality Of Reporting Detail and Analysis
  • Ability to Generalize Findings
  • Subject Studied (Human, Ferret, Rat…?)
  • Sample Demographics
  • Hazardous Potential
  • Carcinogenicity data

Data pertaining to health effects on

  • Heart and Blood
  • Central Nervous System
  • Kidneys
  • GI
  • Liver
  • Reproductive System
  • Respiratory System
  • Thyroid and Adrenal Glands
  • Endocrine System

Special Thanks

None of this would be possible without the great efforts put in by the individuals in some of these organizations:

Carto — For generously providing the visualization platform for the data.
http://www.carto.com

The US Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.epa.gov

Sierra Club
http://sierraclub.org

California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment - OEHHA
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessmentoehha.ca.gov

UC Berkeley and California Magazine
Well in Control: Berkeley Startup Helps People Find Out What They’re Drinking
Two factors that contributed to the poisoning of tens of thousands of Washington, D.C., residents through their…alumni.berkeley.edu

The J.M. Kaplan Foundation
J.M. Kaplan Fund Names Innovation Prize Finalists
J.M. Kaplan Fund Names Innovation Prize Finalists The selection process began nine months ago with the submission of 1…philanthropynewyork.org

Physicians For Social Responsibility
www.psr.org/environment-and-health/code-black/coal-ash-toxic-and-leaking.html

Coal Ash Reading Suggestions

Earth Justice

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives
Coal Ash is a Hazardous Waste. Coal ash, the toxic remains of coal burning in power plants, is full of chemicals that…earthjustice.org

Sierra Club

Coal Ash Waste | Beyond Coal
Every year, the nation’s coal plants produce 140 million tons of coal ash pollution, atoxic by-product of burning coal…content.sierraclub.org

Bitter Southerner

Say Hello to The Bitter Southerner
Amid mounting concern about clean drinking water, rural Southern communities are getting squeezed: They can take much…bittersoutherner.com

The Atlantic

The Violent Remaking of Appalachia
When mining a century’s worth of energy means ruining a landscape for millions of years.www.theatlantic.com

Mother Jones

New report: Poor Americans of color drink filthy water and breathe poisonous air all the damn time
The EPA is “failing” poor communities of color, says the US Commission on Civil Rights.www.motherjones.com

EPA Coal Combustion Wastes Risk Assessment

Journalists

We want to provide you with rich data concerning environmental health, water quality and contamination risks. Our analysis and mapping technology can support local, regional and national scale investigations. If you have particular needs or general questions about water contamination then please reach out to us. We want to support you and your work. Email info@simplewater.us to make an inquiry.

“Go to where the silence is and say something”



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