The Stream, October 29: Looking Back at 42 Years of the Clean Water Act

North America, South America

A new report from Environment America details successes of the Clean Water Act passed in the United States 42 years ago. 15 rivers, lakes and bays are highlighted. Notably, the Cuyahoga River, which once was so polluted that it actually caught fire, now supports a healthy fishery.

Researchers from Chile and the University of California-Berkeley have published a study showing a link between arsenic in drinking water and decreased rates of breast cancer. Chilean women exposed to naturally occurring arsenic in their drinking water had their chances of a breast cancer death halved.

North America, Asia

A brand of sparkling water popular in Mexico is expanding its availability in the United States, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Dr Pepper Snapple Group is seeking to increase sales of Peñafiel, its top-selling brand of sparkling water in Mexico, in U.S. markets. Overall sales of sparkling water in the United States increased 12 percent in 2013.

Calgon Carbon Corporation has won a contract to supply purification supplies to a water plant in Seoul, South Korea, Bloomberg News reported. Granular activated carbon will be used to remove taste and odor from the potable water supply of 1 million people.

South America, Europe

North American avocado demand is wreaking havoc on Chile’s water resources, Tree Hugger reported. Chilean avocado acreage has multiplied by eight in the past 21 years. In Chile, this notoriously lucrative fruit is known as “green gold” – but the crop needs far more water than is available.

Meanwhile, broccoli production in the Murcia region of Spain is going to take a hit this year from a severe drought, Fresh Plaza reported. Yield per hectare is declining, according to one of the area’s top broccoli producers. Ninety percent of Murcia’s broccoli crop is exported to other destinations in Europe and the Middle East.

1 reply
  1. Peter Maier says:

    The Clean Water Act is not the success as it is claimed, because when EPA implemented the Act and established sewage treatment standards, it used the 5day value of the BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) test in stead of its full 30 day value and thereby ignored not only 60% of the pollution that depletes oxygen, but also all the nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste in sewage. This waste, besides exerting an oxygen demand, is also a fertilizer for algae and thus contributes to what now is called nutrient pollution, causing dead zones, but also successfully blamed on the runoffs from cities and farms. Billions wasted while EPA already in 1978 acknowlegded that not only much better sewage treatment (including nitrogenous waste) was available, but actually could be build and operated at lower cost compared to conventional treament plants, that still are designed based on a more than a century old treatment technology mainly developed to control odors.
    Any objective evaluation how succesfull the CWA was and still is, should be that it was a huge failure and that now everybody is too embarrased to armit that this second largest federally funded public works program failed, because of a faulty applied test, devloped in England around 1910. The sad part is that many countries followed the lead of the USA and now are having the same problems of excessive algae growth causing red tides and dead zones.

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