Buffering is an important aspect of maintaining clean waterways. A buffer, as some readers may know, consists of a band of permanent vegetation around a stream or wetland which has the purpose of preventing erosion and filtering contamination from rainwater runoff, as well as purification of bacteria and pathogens. Protecting salt marshes from pollution is an important environmental goal, since they provide a rich habitat for wildlife and even support the state economy.
Being that it is summertime, many readers are surely enjoying the warm weather on the beach from time to time. This is all well and good, but have you ever stopped to consider what is in the water at your favorite swimming hole? According to a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a fair amount of beaches across the United States do not stand up to safety standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
A group of homeowners received disappointing news on Monday when the Supreme Court ruled that they will not be able to pursue CTS Corp., an electronics manufacturer, for contaminating drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The contamination apparently occurred while the company was conducting business until 1987, when it sold the property. The contamination itself was not discovered until 2009, when residents found that various chemicals in the water had the potential to cause health problems.
Water contamination is one of the scary realities of living in a world where we are routinely exposed to toxins, sometimes without our knowledge. Even though federal and state laws are designed to ensure that water contamination is kept to a minimum, unacceptable levels of contamination do still sometimes occur.
Ensuring that well water is clean and free of contamination is not always a sure thing. It must be routinely checked. State and federal law do provide some protection for those using private well water, but there are no laws governing wells that fall below a minimum usage. In such cases, owners are not required to perform routine checks.
Water contamination is a big concern in some industries, and corporations engaged in activity that causes pollution to water sources have a social responsibility to clean up their act and reduce their waste and contamination contributions. There are also legal responsibilities for companies as well. At the federal level, for instance, there is the Clean Water Act, which has the purpose of preventing water pollution by holding companies accountable. States also have their own protections against contamination which must be followed. While the federal Clean Water Act is an important means for protecting water sources, there are other federal laws addressing groundwater contamination.
Rayonier Inc., a Jacksonville, Florida-based logging company, is reportedly facing litigation in connection with one of its factories in southeast Georgia. According to the complaint, filed in late March by the Altamaha Riverkeeper, the company routinely dumps waste into the Altamaha River from its Jesup mill without taking steps to come into compliance with anti-pollution laws.
Certainly residents of Georgia understand that they are fortunate to have access to certain products that the millions of various kinds of factories around the globe, including here, manufacture. Home state factories are also a gift because they keep jobs in Georgia. But no amount of good should compromise the well-being of the environment and those who inhabit it.
Certainly residents of the U.S. are more fortunate than others in different parts of the world regarding our access to and quality of drinking water. Still, National Geographic discusses the potential threats to the U.S. water quality. Some of those supposed health threats are more obvious than others.
Getting problems fixed the first time isn't just a noble goal but often a necessity for the health of community residents. Say, for example, a community's water is polluted with bacteria that poses a health risk. A trial and error process of fixing that water contamination problem just won't do.