In our last post, we began speaking about the problem of devaluation of lakeside property out in Vermont due to the growth of blue-green algae fueled by excess phosphorus from paved roads, farms, and sewage plants. The story raises the issue of what options homeowners have when they suffer harm—to their property or to themselves—as a result of water pollution.
Water pollution can have a number of negative effects, including loss of wildlife, health concerns, and loss of natural resources. The impact of any of these effects is obviously greater the more people had been making use and taking advantage of the contaminated water source. Another potential effect of water contamination, and one that can be particularly costly for those affected, is property devaluation.
Water contamination is an important issue in the state of Georgia. As evidence of this, the Georgia Water Coalition recently released a list identifying the 12 biggest threats to the integrity of Georgia’s water resources. The list, it has been pointed out, does not simply deal with Georgia’s most polluted waters, but rather the most significant threats to maintaining clean waters throughout the state.
A big case against the U.S. Marine Corps involving allegations of groundwater contamination at a base in North Carolina recently came to an end. The case was a defeat for families who had sued the federal government for its role in causing illness due to the way it handled toxic waste at Camp Lejeune. Apparently, family of military personnel at the camp had higher cancer rates than personnel at other bases without contamination over a 31-year period of time.
Lawmakers in Georgia are currently debating the potential impact of environmental rules proposed by federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The rules are aimed at allowing the agencies to better enforce the Clean Water Act of 1972, which has the general purpose of controlling pollution and setting water quality standards.
Last week, the federal Environmental Protection Agency ordered the Army to move more quickly in conducting testing to determine whether residents in Forest Park, Georgia are at risk for hazardous chemical exposure. The Army has apparently already missed a deadline which gave officials 21 days to mitigate potential exposure to residents, and the recent communication from the EPA is the third ordering the Army to act quickly.
Most Georgia readers have probably heard about hydraulic fracturing—commonly called “fracking”—which has become a growing industry in recent years, even within Georgia. Along with the growth of the industry, there has been growing concern about the safety of the process, which uses chemicals underground to access natural gas reserves. Environmentalists have called for increased safety standards to govern the process so that underground water reserves are not contaminated.
It has been over four years since the BP oil disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, and litigation in connection with the incident is still ongoing. The most recent development was a decision by a federal judge that the company acted with gross negligence and willful misconduct in the spill, a decision that could mean the company has to pay significantly more in penalties.
The potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing with respect to water purity have become fairly well-known across the United States. Environmentalists, naturally, have called attention to the potential environmental impact of “fracking.” Even the federal government, though, has highlighted the dangers of fracking with respect to water contamination. Two recent reports, the result of a two-year audit conducted by the Government Accountability Office, found that the Environmental Protection Agency is not doing enough to protect drinking water supplies from fracking contamination.
Clean water is among the most precious of resources, and it is only when we find ourselves without it that we really appreciate this fact. Water contamination can have a serious impact not only on individuals, but on entire communities. This is residents in Toledo and small areas of southeastern Michigan have been finding out recently when a toxin was found in a treatment plant.