Washington, DC - A massive sewage spill in Tennessee Tuesday killed two workers and sent millions of gallons of sewage into the Little Pigeon River, which flows through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Katherine Baer, senior director of the clean water program at American Rivers, made the following statement:
“This accident is a tragedy and our hearts go out to the families of the victims. While we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we must make sure we are adequately investing in our water treatment infrastructure to prevent disasters like this in the future.”
“While this is an extreme example, it is an unfortunate fact that sewage spills happen all the time. In the richest, most advanced nation on earth, we are still dumping over a trillion gallons of raw sewage in our waterways every year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that every year, in each county across the nation, we dump enough untreated sewage to fill both the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden.”
“Rivers and streams provide 65 percent of our drinking water. Sewage spills threaten our drinking water supplies nationwide and put our families at risk of illness.”
“As debate on the federal budget continues, we urge Congress to fully fund clean water and drinking water infrastructure that is critical to our communities nationwide.”
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.