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Published on December 14th, 2012 | by Jennifer Kaplan

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Have The Feds Willfully Polluted the Nation’s Underground Water Supply?

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We know that there are many dangerous uses and real misuses of water.  Food & Water Watch reports that there is a hidden groundwater crisis and our groundwater resources are disappearing at an alarming rate. Now, a disturbing new study suggests that the government is a co-conspirator in the  polluting of our underground water supply.

According to ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, 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 an article titled: Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supplyby Abrahm Lustgarten published yesterday, it is asserted that:

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.

According to Lustgarten, 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. They found the EPA has not even kept track of exactly how many exemptions it has issued, where they are, or whom they might affect. What records the agency was able to supply under the Freedom of Information Act show that exemptions are often issued in apparent conflict with the EPA’s mandate to protect waters that may be used for drinking.



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About the Author

Jennifer Kaplan writes regularly about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on .



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