Protect Public Health and Clean Water

Clean water is vital for public health. From the streams where we swim, the rivers where we fish and not to mention the water we drink. And yet, billions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage flow into our streams, rivers and lakes every year.

Polluted stormwater runoff triggers sewer overflows, beach closures and taints shellfish, all threats to our health and safety. No wonder that a recent Gallup poll revealed that Americans are worried about pollution in their drinking water.

The good news? There are great ways to reduce polluted stormwater by better using trees, plants and other techniques to green our cities and cost-effectively clean the water. Cities across the country are already doing so, and our work in Toledo, Ohio is just one example of many. But, given the remaining threats to our health, we need to better integrate this green infrastructure into all of our planning, financing and construction for water infrastructure.

Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency puts it this way:

“Building homes with green roofs and lining streets with rain gardens and permeable pavement allows communities to filter stormwater without having to expand or rebuild expensive traditional water infrastructure. Green infrastructure is a win-win strategy for reducing environmental and health threats while beautifying local areas in ways that can attract new investments and jobs, and it’s something we should be working on together.”

That’s why American Rivers is actively working for solutions to improve our national stormwater program and increase funding for smart infrastructure investments, and why we need to keep telling Congress to safeguard our clean water as they look forward to further budget battles.

My daughter went fishing a couple of weeks ago – didn’t catch anything, not that it made it any less fun. But had she caught a fish, would it have been safe for her to eat? I’m not sure, but I’d like to be.