Water: Poisoning the Well

Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supply

Abrahm Lustgarten
ProPublica / News Report
Published: Sunday 16 December 2012
Now, as commercial crops wilt in the dry heat and winds rip the dust loose from American prairies, questions are mounting about whether the EPA should continue to grant exemptions going forward.
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Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation’s drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.

“You are sacrificing these aquifers,” said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. “By definition, you are putting pollution into them. … If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go.”

As part of an investigation into the threat to water supplies from underground injection of waste, ProPublica set out to identify which aquifers have been polluted. (Read Full Article)

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1 Comment

  1. December 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

    […] Water: Poisoning the Well […]


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