Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Speaking of Dirty...

Population growth and poor agricultural practices are the main culprits in a deterioration of the Potomac River’s health, according to a recent environmental study. The Potomac Conservancy released its yearly State of the Nation’s River report last Thursday, and gave the waterway a D grade, down from a D+ in its first report in 2007.

As cities surrounding Washington have grown over the past five years, development of new neighborhoods has destroyed much of the forest that usually contains and filters rainwater flowing into the Potomac. Now with the addition of many non-absorbent surfaces, such as roofs and parking lots, in cities, more polluted water is flowing into the watershed than ever.

At the same time, a growing number of farms around the river valley have led to runoff contaminated with nutrients from animal feed and waste. The decay of these nutrients in the water depletes oxygen, resulting in fish kills and “dead zones,” where there is not enough water to sustain marine life, in the river and Chesapeake Bay. The Potomac is also often unsafe for swimming after summer rainstorms, when overburdened city sewer systems spill human waste into the river, a problem that only worsens with population increase...
The report goes on to highlight the problems of non-traditional pollutants, hormones, and hormone like compounds thought to cause "intersex" in fish:
“The scientists have documented the presence of hundreds of compounds, including dozens of pesticides, pharmaceuticals and even the residues of illegal drugs. These chemicals can originate from everyday products like shampoo, perfumes, prescription drugs and birth control pills, and from farm chemicals and animal manure.”

What’s worse, the study highlights that these chemicals also remain largely unregulated.
I can hardly wait until Congress bans birth control pills to protect the Potomac.

Yep, the Potomac is a pretty dirty river, especially in the immediate neighborhood of the nation's capital, Washington D.C., and it's satellite cities in Northern Virginia and Maryland.  You'd think that the people who run the nation would be more responsib...

Oh, never mind.

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