The place in America where (almost) no one drinks their tap water

Inez and Tomahawk, Ky.—T.J. Fannin, sitting on his porch as the sun sets, speaks fondly of the 27 years he spent working in nearby coal mines. But despite the hard labor that fueled a coal boom and sent millions of dollars into Kentucky’s coffers, he says he and his neighbors lack a basic amenity: clean tap water. 

“[O]n the TV you see someone go to the faucet and get a drink of water, and it just makes me mad cause, you know, we can’t do that,” says Mr. Fannin, who buys two or three 24-packs of bottled water a month for drinking and cooking. “There’s an odor to the water…. It’s just like stagnant water [that] comes out of the bottom of a pool.”

Baltimore harbor water still gets failing grade, but less rain in 2016 shows potential

The Baltimore harbor water is still not swimmable or fishable, earning yet another failing great on the annual quality study, but less rainfall in 2016 shows tackling the sewage issues will go a long way to meeting the 2020 goal.

The Waterfront Partnership, in collaboration with Blue Water Baltimore, released the 2016 Healthy Harbor Report Card and again rated the overall health of the harbor as F. This is the fourth consecutive failing grade for the harbor following a change in data collection techniques from the first two years.

Op-Ed - The ludicrous plan to pump Mojave water to L.A.

In 1992, prospectors in Los Angeles hatched an idea for a new water supply that was improbable and speculative, even by Southern California standards. Far off in the Mojave Desert, beneath the flat dry lake bed of the Cadiz Valley, millennia’s worth of groundwater could be pumped and piped 43 miles to the Colorado River Aqueduct, the crown jewel of the Metropolitan Water District’s massive web of infrastructure. The water then could be sold to any of the 26 member agencies of the MWD. They called this scheme the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project, now known as the Cadiz project. It is owned by a publicly listed corporation, Cadiz Inc., which in 25 years has yet to turn a profit

Iowa water sensors show 2016 uptick in nitrates

LA PORTE CITY — If the doctor says you’ve got to lose weight for your health, you need to step on the scale once in a while, right?

Iowa is among states trying to reduce the amount of nitrates washing from farm fields into streams and rivers, where they can harm human health and are adding to the creation of an oxygen-deprived dead zone near the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico.

Iowa has more than 70 sensors deployed this year on streams and rivers across the state that measure nitrate loads and concentration so observers can tell whether water treatment plant upgrades, wetland improvements and agricultural conservation practices are working to reduce pollution.

[New Mexico] officials brace for water shortages

In all but one corner of New Mexico, water managers are projecting shortages in drinking and irrigation supplies given expected demand and variability in rainfall over the next few decades.

Like many places in the West, the arid state is recuperating from an unprecedented drought that peaked in 2013. The sting has yet to go away as a month of record-setting temperatures and little rain have left dry conditions across the eastern plains and parts of southern New Mexico.

Managers in the state’s 16 water planning districts have spent the past three years crunching numbers and analyzing historic data to help create a collection of plans that identify supply gaps and possible solutions.

Trucking water to Uganda's refugee camps

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees have fled violence and hunger in their home country for the safety of camps in northern Uganda. More than 50,000 of them now live in Rhino camp, a sprawling expanse of huts and tents scattered across dusty scrubland near the town of Arua.

Life in the camp is tough, but everyone seems to agree that one of the main challenges is water. There are no boreholes, and the few streams that flow through the area are often completely dry. When they're not, the water runs a deep chocolate brown.

Toxic water leaches into prime Alaska, Canada salmon habitat

The year the Tulsequah Chief Mine began polluting Alaska waters, a gallon of gas cost 31 cents, baseball great Jackie Robinson announced his retirement and the electric watch hit retail shelves for the first time.

Since 1957, a Canadian facility 40 miles from Alaska’s capital has leached toxic water into prime Alaska and Canada salmon habitat.

Mining officials have issued numerous pollution abatement orders to mine owners over the years, but none have stuck. In the meantime, Alaska environmental groups and salmon industry advocates have called for the B.C. government to clean up the mess themselves.

Acid waste, water could be next Superfund site on Coast


What should be done about the 732 million gallons of acid water and the mountains of waste that create them just east of Pascagoula? That was the topic of an Environmental Protection Agency meeting Thursday night.

Acidic gypsum, a byproduct from an environmentally troubled and failed fertilizer plant, is stacked 100 feet high, creating lakes on top and ponds around the base that are holding that much acid water.

For perspective, that’s more than five times the amount of crude oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico from Deepwater Horizon in 2010.

This sick, aging Marine vet will finally get compensated for Camp Lejeune’s toxic water

“Leukemia? How did I get leukemia?” Waller kept wondering, after he was diagnosed more than a decade ago.

Then an old friend of his who’s fast on the Internet and scours it for news suggested an answer.  

“Weren’t you at Camp Lejeune?” he asked Waller.

Indeed he was. Six weeks, back in 1968, when he was a Marine during the Vietnam War.

“That water there was poisonous!” the friend told him.

For six weeks in 1968, Waller showered, drank and ate food cooked in a poisonous stew of benzene, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride and a few other chemicals few of us can pronounce.

Why the EPA Is Allowing Contaminated Groundwater to Go Untreated

The remains of the George Air Force Base on the edge of California’s Mojave Desert are little more than a dusty sprawl of squat buildings, their roofs riddled with holes, their hinged windows flapping open and shut in the dry wind.

The George H.W. Bush administration decommissioned the base in 1992, but this crumbling ghost town carries a worrisome legacy—a stew of toxic waste that has been the target of a federal cleanup, which is still under way after two decades of work and more than $100 million in spending.

At George, as at many other military bases, chemicals and jet fuel were leaked or haphazardly disposed of for years, polluting hundreds of acres of groundwater. Trichloroethylene, a cancer-causing solvent, has contaminated two aquifers underneath the base and threatens a third aquifer, as well as the Mojave River. It has also tainted monitoring wells at a nearby wastewater reclamation plant and forced workers there to drink bottled water as a precaution.

NASA Satellite Tracks Snowfall, World Water Supply

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new NASA study is focusing on snow in the western United States, with a goal of better estimating the world’s supply of fresh water.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt controls a satellite called GPM, which tracks rain and snow globally.

“Specifically designed to measure falling snow and rain through the atmosphere,” said Dr. Dalia Kirschbaum, with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “And it actually has the most advanced instruments to do that from space right now.”

What NASA is exploring is the next generation of instruments to launch.

Singapore must be prepared to face water shortages: DPM Teo

SINGAPORE: Singapore must be prepared psychologically to face water shortages if its reservoirs dry up and when the second water agreement with Malaysia ends in 2061, said DPM Teo Chee Hean on Saturday (Mar 4).

At present, imported water meets half of Singapore’s water needs. But water levels in Johor’s Linggiu Reservoir are falling. There is also the danger of prolonged dry weather, Mr. Teo said.

Hundreds gather in Flint to honor Selma marchers, push for clean water

FLINT, MI -- Around 200 people marched Sunday, March 5 in downtown Flint, Sunday afternoon while chanting for clean water and carrying signs through a stiff headwind.

The Selma Solidarity March, hosted by the national Women's March organization. Women's March Michigan and Sisters in Synergy, started on the north side before moving to Flint City Hall where speakers addressed the crowd.

Tainted water at former air base has New Hampshire families on edge

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — The Pease International Tradeport, which features an airport, hundreds of businesses and several day care centers, has been called a textbook example of how to redevelop an air base.

But many who worked or had their children looked after there are coming to terms with a hidden risk: drinking water contaminated by military firefighting foam that contained perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs.

Exposure to the chemicals, found in scores of everyday products like nonstick cookware and stain-resistant carpet and probably occurring at low levels in most people, have been linked in animal studies to low birth weight, accelerated puberty, cancer and thyroid problems, among other maladies, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

America’s hidden water affordability crisis

When Elizabeth Mack wondered about a future in which Americans wouldn’t be able to pay for water, a couple of colleagues waved her off. “Don’t be ridiculous,” they said. But the idea niggled at Mack, an assistant professor at the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. And in January, in an article published in the science journal PLOS ONE, she asked a new question: Is there a burgeoning water affordability crisis in the United States?

Mack, along with research assistant Sarah Wrase, determined that if water rates increase at projected amounts over the next five years, the percentage of households that can’t pay their water bills could triple from 11.9 percent to more than a third. Nearly 14 million households nationwide already struggle to afford water services. An additional 27.18 million — or 8.5 percent of the country’s population — could soon face the same challenges.

As summer looms ahead, parts of Chennai begin to face water shortage

Chennai is beginning to witness water shortage as summer approaches the city. Various areas in the city have received very little water in the last 20 days.

The Times of India reported that areas like Besant Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur and Adyar have received less water. Meanwhile, other areas like Triplicane, Royapettah, Kotturpuram and parts of Anna Nagar have not faced any water issues.

C Ramakrishnan, secretary of Federation of Adyar Residents Associations told ToI that residents in Adyar have been ordering about 9,000 litres of water from private tankers.

Other areas like Velachery, Guindy and Taramani are also facing similar problems. A resident from Guindy told TOI that they get metrowater once in a week, earlier they used to receive it once in two to four days. Even parts of Thiruvottiyur have water shortage. A resident said that for the past one week, water is being supplied only for an hour in the space of two to three days. However, areas like Alandur, Nanganallur, Adambakkam and Pazhavanthangal receive 500 to 1000 litres of water every other day, reported ToI.

China audit finds more than $2.5 billion used to fight water pollution misused

River in Luoyang, Henan province December 13, 2011. REUTERS/China Daily

SHANGHAI — China's audit office found that 17.6 billion yuan ($2.56 billion) earmarked for water pollution prevention work in 2016 was not effectively used, Xinhua reported Sunday.

The funds were meant to go toward 397 projects in 18 provinces, with some regions seeing serious failings in enforcing environmental protection laws, said the report.

China's National Audit Office has told 31 provinces to check use of funds to treat water pollution, Xinhua said.

Wet winter has improved Colorado River basin's water forecast, but the drought endures

California is not the only place in the West confronting startling amounts of rain and snow.

Drought conditions have declined substantially across the region in recent weeks, with heavy storms replenishing reservoirs and piling fresh powder on ski resorts.

Yet there is one place where the precipitation has been particularly welcome and could be transformative: the Colorado River basin, which provides water to nearly 40 million people across seven states.

“We’re in a really good spot as far as snow accumulations,” said Malcolm Wilson, who leads the Bureau of Reclamation’s water resources group in the upper Colorado River basin.

Small community is one of many grappling with big water problems

The crisis in Flint, Michigan, drew national attention to the issue of safe drinking water. The Trump administration has offered few specifics on what it plans to do about it. But Flint is just one example. Other communities are tackling water problems too, like Kettleman City, California, which has been dealing with unsafe drinking water for years.

Kettleman City seems like just a random spot on the long drive up Interstate 5, roughly midway between Los Angeles and Sacramento. But just past the gas stations and fast food joints at Exit 309 is a town of about 1,500 people. They include Maricela Mares-Alatorre, a teacher and community activist who has lived there for 40 years.

“Our claim to fame is that we have very, very poor water quality,” she said during a recent driving tour around town.

It’s been almost three years since Flint’s water crisis began. What have we learned?

In 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan changed the source of its water from the city of Detroit to the Flint River. But in the transition to river water, officials didn’t implement proper anti-corrosion measures. Lead leached from old pipes into the water supply, and in some homes, lead levels measured 10 times higher than the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Last month, lead levels in Flint's city water finally tested below federal-action level. But residents are still being cautioned to use filters on their faucets, or to drink bottled water.

Flint’s current water infrastructure has been damaged by corrosion, experts say. And the ongoing cleanup in Flint holds lessons for other American communities, many of which still have old lead pipes in their underground networks.