Water Pollution
5:02 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Environmental Research Group Reports Widespread Water Pollution in New York State

New York’s rivers and lakes are still a dumping ground for polluters…and some of the worst are here in Upstate New York.  That’s the assessment of the research group “Environment New York.”  Their new report “Wasting Our Waters” points at Anheuser-Busch in Baldwinsville for dumping 1.4  million pounds of toxic waste into the Oswego River in 2010. 

It also notes Eastman Kodak had the most discharges by toxicity with 12,000 pounds of toxic compounds released into the Genesee River. Environment New York Director Heather Leibowitz wants to see practices change.

One information graphic from the Wasting our Waters report from Environment New York
Credit Environment New York Center

“There are alternatives.  The report shows polluters are dumping  over 5 million pounds of toxic chemicals into New York’s waterways, over 16,000 pounds of chemicals linked to cancer, over 1,800 pounds of chemicals linked to development disorders and over 21,000 pounds of chemicals linked reproductive problems.  Having alternatives I think is when it will occur, because it needs to happen.” 

She adds New York ranked 15th worst in toxic discharges to waterways.  The group is also watching Obama administration efforts to improve the Clean Water Act, after court decisions called into question whether the EPA could  regulate small streams and ponds from pollution: 

Heather Leibowitz summarizes the history of the Clean Water Act's affect on pollution in the nation's waterways and the recent court decisions that created confusion over the extent of its protections.

Heather went on to explain, “Right now over, 28 thousand miles of New York’s streams and 20 million acres of wetlands are at risk of unchecked pollution and development.  That’s 55% of New York’s streams and rivers, which are vulnerable right now.  So by restoring the Clean Water Act to what it was when it originated, we’ll be able to protect all our waterways, which New Yorkers really deserve.”

Liebowitz says waters should be clean for swimming, drinking and wildlife.  Take a look at the Wasting our Waters report, or visit environmentnewyorkcenter.org for further information.

Listen to WAER's Chris Bolt give a rundown of the Wasting Our Waters report with Environment New York Center's Director, Heather Leibowitz.