Friday, September 24, 2010

ENVIRO-NEWS- Millions of Americans at risk from poisoned water

40 Million Americans at risk from widespread elevated elevated levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Much of the Nation's Streams and Groundwater sources.
See below EPA Environment News release for more details.
On Sep 24, 2010 11:23 AM, "Makuch, Joseph" <> wrote:
This release can be found in the USGS Newsroom at: .

News Release
September 23, 2010

Neil Dubrovsky
(916) 278-3078
Kara Capelli
(571) 420-9408

Elevated Nitrogen and Phosphorus Still Widespread in Much of the Nation's Streams and Groundwater

Complete findings, as well as a USGS fact sheet, podcast, and graphics are available online.
Elevated concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients that can negatively impact aquatic ecosystems and human health, have remained the same or increased in many streams and aquifers across the Nation since the early 1990's, according to a new national study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

"This USGS report provides the most comprehensive national-scale assessment to date of nitrogen and phosphorus in our streams and groundwater," said Marcia McNutt, USGS Director. "For years we have known that these same nutrients in high concentrations have resulted in 'dead zones' when they reach our estuaries, such as during the spring at the mouth of the Mississippi, and now we have improved science-based explanations of when, where, and how elevated concentrations reach our streams and aquifers and affect aquatic life and the quality of our drinking water."

"Despite major Federal, State and local efforts and expenditures to control sources and movement of nutrients within our Nation's watersheds, national-scale progress was not evident in this assessment, which is based on thousands of measurements and hundreds of studies across the country from the 1990's and early 2000's," said Matthew C. Larsen, USGS Associate Director for Water.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nutrient pollution has consistently ranked as one of the top three causes of degradation in U.S. streams and rivers for decades.

USGS findings show that widespread concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus remain two to ten times greater than levels recommended by the EPA to protect aquatic life. Most often, these elevated levels were found in agricultural and urban streams. These findings show that continued reductions in nutrient sources and implementation of land-management strategies for reducing nutrient delivery to streams are needed to meet EPA recommended levels in most regions.

Nutrients occur naturally in water and are needed for plant growth and productive aquatic ecosystems; however, in high concentrations nutrients often result in the growth of large amounts of algae and other nuisance plants in streams, lakes and estuaries. The decay of these plants and algae can cause areas of low dissolved oxygen, known as hypoxic, or "dead," zones that stress or kill aquatic life. Some forms of algae release toxins that can result in health concerns.

The study also found that nitrate is a continuing human-health concern in many shallow aquifers across the Nation that are sources of drinking water. In agricultural areas, more than one in five shallow, private wells contained nitrate at levels above the EPA drinking water standard. The quality and safety of water from private wells-which are a source of drinking water for about 40 million people-are not regulated by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and are the responsibility of the homeowner.
Because nitrate can persist in groundwater for years and even decades, nitrate concentrations are likely to increase in aquifers used for public drinking-water supplies during at least the next decade, as shallow groundwater with high nutrient concentrations moves downward into deeper aquifers.

"Strategies designed to reduce nutrient inputs on the land will improve the quality of water in near-surface parts of aquifers; however, decades may pass before quality improves in deeper parts of the aquifer, which serve as major sources for public-supply wells," said Neil Dubrovsky, USGS hydrologist and lead scientist on this study. "Unfortunately, similar time delays for improvements are expected for streams that receive substantial inputs of groundwater."

A variety of sources can contribute nutrients to surface and groundwater, such as wastewater and industrial discharges, fertilizer and manure applications to agricultural land, runoff from urban areas, and atmospheric sources. USGS findings show that nutrient sources and resulting concentrations vary across the Nation. For example, concentrations of nitrogen generally are highest in agricultural streams in the Northeast, Midwest, and the Northwest, which have some of the most intense applications of fertilizer and manure in the Nation.

Differences in concentrations across the Nation also are due to natural features and human activities. For example, concentrations of nitrogen in streams draining parts of the agricultural Midwest are increased by contributions from artificial subsurface tile drains that are used to promote rapid dewatering of poorly drained soils. Conversely, concentrations of nitrate in streams draining parts of the Southeast appear to dissipate faster as a result of enhanced natural removal processes in soils and streams.

"This nationwide assessment of sources and natural and human factors that control how nutrients enter our streams and groundwater helps decision-makers anticipate where watersheds are most vulnerable to contamination and set priorities and management actions in different geographic regions of the country," said Dubrovsky.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has served as the Nation's water monitoring agency, including flow and (or) quality in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. USGS continues to work closely with the EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the States, and local watersheds to assure that USGS monitoring and assessments provide useful information for managing nutrients throughout the Nation.

Water-quality data from more than 1,300 locations, much of it in real-time, is available through USGS Water Quality Watch < >. Additional information about surface water, groundwater and water quality is available at National Water Information System Web Interface < >. You can also receive instant, customized updates about water conditions by subscribing to WaterAlert < >, a new service from the USGS.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Study connects Manganese in well water to lower IQ in children

 A recent study conducted by Canadian researchers provides striking evidence that children exposed to high concentration of Manganese in tap water tested lower in standard IQ tests.
"We found significant deficits in the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children exposed to higher concentrations of manganese in drinking water," lead author Maryse Bouchard said in a news release. "Yet manganese concentrations were well below current guidelines." 
The results of the study are published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Manganese, is a free element in nature that seeps into water sources. As a free element, manganese is a metal which finds its way into ground water sources through natural seepage. 

The Canadian study focused on drinking water as the source of exposure for the 350 plus 362 children  that were examined in this research project. It seems to me that an even greater impact may come from exposure when showering. A study performed in 2005 suggested a link between manganese inhalation and nervous system toxicity. It was hypothesized that long term exposure to naturally occurring manganese in shower water put as many as 8.7 million Americans at risk. Manganism, a disease similar to Parkinson Disease, has been linked to exposure to manganese.

Manganese is very common in ground water sources throughout the US and Canada. I strongly recommend annual testing if you rely on well or spring water for your home. Don't take for granted the water is safe that just because looks clean. If tests show manganese is present, get a filter that will reduce or remove it. 

 thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This EPA action is well overdue.

Enviro News: EPA Formally Requests Information From Companies About Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Makuch, Joseph" <>
Date: Sep 9, 2010 4:20 PM
Subject: [ENVIRO-NEWS] EPA Formally Requests Information From Companies About Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction
To: <>

From: U.S. EPA []
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2010 3:28 PM
Subject: EPA News Release (HQ): EPA Formally Requests Information From
Companies About Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction

Jalil Isa <>

EPA Formally Requests Information From Companies About Chemicals Used in
Natural Gas Extraction

Information on hydraulic fracturing chemicals is key to agency study of
potential impacts on drinking water

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today
announced that it has issued voluntary information requests to nine
natural gas service companies regarding the process known as hydraulic
fracturing. The data requested is integral to a broad scientific study
now underway by EPA, which Congress in 2009 directed the agency to
conduct to determine whether hydraulic fracturing has an impact on
drinking water and the public health of Americans living in the vicinity
of hydraulic fracturing wells.

In making the requests of the nine leading national and regional
hydraulic fracturing service providers - BJ Services, Complete
Production Services, Halliburton, Key Energy Services, Patterson-UTI,
PRC, Inc., Schlumberger, Superior Well Services, and Weatherford - EPA
is seeking information on the chemical composition of fluids used in the
hydraulic fracturing process, data on the impacts of the chemicals on
human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at their
hydraulic fracturing sites and the locations of sites where fracturing
has been conducted. This information will be used as the basis for
gathering further detailed information on a representative selection of

"This scientifically rigorous study will help us understand the
potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water - a concern
that has been raised by Congress and the American people. By sharing
information about the chemicals and methods they are using, these
companies will help us make a thorough and efficient review of hydraulic
fracturing and determine the best path forward," said EPA Administrator
Lisa P. Jackson. "Natural gas is an important part of our nation's
energy future, and it's critical that the extraction of this valuable
natural resource does not come at the expense of safe water and healthy
communities. EPA will do everything in its power, as it is obligated to
do, to protect the health of the American people and will respond to
demonstrated threats while the study is underway."

Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which large volumes of water, sand
and chemicals are injected at high pressures to extract oil and natural
gas from underground rock formations. The process creates fractures in
formations such as shale rock, allowing natural gas or oil to escape
into the well and be recovered. During the past few years, the use of
hydraulic fracturing has expanded across much of the country.

EPA announced in March that it will study the potential adverse impact
that hydraulic fracturing may have on drinking water. To solicit input
on the scope of the study, EPA is holding a series of public meetings in
major oil and gas production regions to hear from citizens, independent
experts and industry. The initial results of the study will be announced
in late 2012. EPA will identify additional information for industry to
provide - including information on fluid disposal practices and
geological features - that will help EPA carry out the study.

EPA has requested the information be provided on a voluntary basis
within 30 days, and has asked the companies to respond within seven days
to inform the agency whether they will provide all of the information
sought. The data being sought by the agency is similar to information
that has already been provided separately to Congress by the industry.
Therefore, EPA expects the companies to cooperate with these voluntary
requests. If not, EPA is prepared to use its authorities to require the
information needed to carry out its study.

EPA is currently working with state and local governments who play an
important role in overseeing and regulating fracturing operations and
are at the forefront of protecting local air and water quality from
adverse impacts.

View the letter on the voluntary information request:


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