Senate Has Opportunity to Protect Clean Water, Public Health

With summer recreation season on the horizon, American Rivers calls for passage of 'sewage right-to-know' legislation

May 4th, 2009

Katherine Baer, American Rivers, (202) 347-7550 x3053
Angela Dicianno, American Rivers, (202) 243-7077

(Washington, DC) – Every year, more than 860 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage foul America’s waters and threaten public health, but most people have no idea that these spills occur in their local rivers and streams. Today Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) took an important step towards changing that when he reintroduced right-to-know legislation.  Sewage right-to-know requires public notification when a sewer spill has the potential to affect public health.

“Summer is coming, and millions of Americans will be soon be spending time on their local rivers and streams. But what we don’t know can hurt us,” said Katherine Baer, senior director of the clean water program for American Rivers, “Taking a swim, or going fishing or boating, should never be a guessing game. Sewage right-to-know is about protecting public health and shining a light on a rather odious problem so that we can build support for lasting clean water solutions.”

“We applaud Senator Lautenberg for recognizing the need to protect clean water and public health,” added Baer. “The Senate should act swiftly to pass the bill, to ensure that summer fun isn’t ruined by sewage and sickness.”

The House-passed Clean Water State Revolving Fund bill includes sewage right-to-know in addition to green infrastructure funding.  Right-to-know legislation now heads to the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for its consideration.


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About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.org, Facebook.com/AmericanRivers, and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.