SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - On the banks of the San Lorenzo River Thursday, a California environmental organization released a new report on toxic waste in waterways.
The report by Environment California Research and Policy Center finds that industrial facilities dumped 2.4 million pounds of toxic chemicals into California's waterways statewide in 2012.
That makes California's waterways the 26th worst in the nation.
The "Wasting Our Waterways" report comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in California and across the nation. The full report is here.
"California's waterways should be clean for swimming, drinking, and supporting wildlife," said Nathan Weaver, Oceans & Preservation Advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Center. "But too often, our waters have become a dumping ground for polluters. The first step to curb this tide of toxic pollution is to restore Clean Water Act protections to all our waterways."
The report on toxic pollutants discharged into America's waters is based on data reported by the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory for 2012. That's the most recent data available.
Among the report's findings:
- Polluters dumped 1.67 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the San Francisco Bay watershed - that's 71 percent of all toxic water pollution documented for California's waterways.
Chemicals being dumped in the San Francisco Bay include benzene, a carcinogenic, and mercury.