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A new report testing water quality in all 50 states found that about half of U.S. water is “too polluted” to swim, fish, or drink.

Source: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah/Youtube

The report was published by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a nonprofit formed by former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attorneys, and found alarming results in water quality tests all over the country. More than 700,000 miles of waterways, which is about 51 percent of assessed river and stream water, are affected by Pollution. This is in addition to another 55 percent of lake acres and 26 percent of extremely polluted estuary miles.

The Clean Water Act, which has been in place for 50 years, has not been successful in guaranteeing clean water for the U.S. Nearly half of the rivers and streams are too impaired to meet the quality for aquatic life, fish, consumption, swimming, or recreation.

Among the worst was Florida, which has the most acres of lakes classified as impaired for swimming and aquatic life and is second for the total lake acres classified as impaired for any use. California is right up there with Florida and has the most river and stream miles listed as impaired for drinking water and third for fish consumption.

Indiana also is up there with 24,395 miles of rivers and streams that are impaired for swimming and recreation. Oregon and South Carolina are also honorable mentions for bad water quality.

However, the EIP says that the data still does not paint the full picture because every state monitors its waterways differently. The EPA has no standard guidelines for how states need to record and report data about the Pollution in their water.

States are also always given limited funding and budgets, and state environmental agencies are often understaffed and unable to conduct water tests in the mandated periods. The EIP estimated that 73 percent of rivers and stream miles have not been tested during the most recent cycle, along with 49 percent of lake acres and 24 percent of bay areas.

The EIP outlines many ways the EPA can improve the enforcement of water reports and modernize Pollution solutions. They say that the EPA has not updated its standards for polluting industries since the 1970s, even though there is a mandate through the Clean Water Act that requires the EPA to examine water pollution standards for industries every five years. Think of how much has changed since 1970 and how many new, toxic, and damaging pollutants we are creating. This is a matter of public health, and an agency that is supposed to be protecting us is falling incredibly short.

The EIP believes that the largest source of water Pollution is animal agriculture. The practices of the livestock industry are incredibly horrifying, and how they dump waste disposal is a huge problem. Animal agriculture lets excess fertilizer and manure wash into streams and rivers, which can cause extreme illness in humans and animals. A new documentary, The Smell of Money, is airing this week that tells the story of a woman growing up around hog farms where farmers spray pig manure into the air, with no regard for public health.

Source: Impossible Foods/Youtube

President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill includes funding for issues like water Pollution control efforts. The EPA has also agreed to work with state, local, and Tribal partners to implement $43 billion in water infrastructure funding. We hope that we can finally work towards clean water for the environment and public health! Sign this petition to stop industrial industries from dumping harmful toxic chemicals into our waterways!

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