Thursday, March 03, 2005

Dirty Rivers, and Oregons Toxic Mixing Zones: Senate Bill 555

As previously mentioned I went to environmental lobby day in Salem Oregon, on Monday the 28th, to talk to my legislators about a change in the quality of our rivers. Unknown to me at the time, the Oregonian published an article called Toxics and Rivers don't Mix.

A bill to phase out "mixing zones" in Oregon streams may be too ambitious, but the status quo isn't acceptable

…Senate Bill 555, which would phase out so-called mixing zones on the Willamette and other rivers. These are unmarked areas of rivers where industries and municipal sewage plants are allowed to spew their polluted wastewater, where it is blended with and diluted by river water.

…Oregon will never restore the Willamette to full health as long as it allows industries and communities to dump toxic pollutants at known toxic levels at sites all along the river.

…Environmental groups, which call SB 555 the most important water quality proposal in Oregon in three decades, say the mixing zones permit the dumping of 30 billion gallons of toxic pollution into Oregon rivers. Yet there's no public information about the location of the mixing zones -- no buoys, no signs, no warnings about the mixing zones or the pollution they contain.

…The state Department of Environmental Quality does some minimal testing of the outflows into mixing zones, and it tries to estimate how the pollutants are diluted with river water. But it rarely, if ever, tests water quality inside and just outside mixing zones to determine pollution levels.

I encourage everyone to read the rest of the article, and then email, phone, write, or visit your representatives and tell them it is important to you that this bill passes.

You can get a hold of Ted Kulongoski here

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