Toxic substances of everyday life reach Columbia River, study finds
Source: AP/Jeff Barnard
A federal study has found more than 100 toxic substances from everyday life are making their way through wastewater-treatment plants into the Columbia River.
"In the past, people thought of pollution in the river in terms of smokestack industry on the river or dirty pipes," said Jennifer Morace, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist who was lead investigator. "This links it back to what we do in our everyday lives, what goes down the drain and to the wastewater-treatment plant, and the fact they were not designed to remove the new or emerging contaminants."
The study, released last week, looked at discharges from water-treatment plants in nine cities, from Wenatchee downstream to Longview. They included Richland and Vancouver in Washington and Umatilla, The Dalles, Hood River, Portland and St. Helens in Oregon.
A total of 112 toxic materials were found, 53 percent of those that were tested for, including flame retardants, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, personal-care products, mercury and cleaning products.
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