Water Quality

Quality: Study Finds Human Waste in Rivers

As part of a two-year study of the Animas and San Juan Rivers, the San Juan Watershed Group recently reported findings of elevated levels of bacteria from human waste in the waters. Researchers focused on water quality in New Mexico, except for one point at the Colorado and New Mexico border. The point on the border was studied for only one year, making the sample size smaller. But it is a red flag, especially because the levels of human bacteria dropped at sites tested downstream. “The public should have some concern about the recreational use of these rivers,” said Geoffrey Smith, biologist at New Mexico State University, who worked on the study. However, the bacteria is not found in treated drinking water. The study found bacteria from animals such as cattle and elk in 90 percent of the samples and bacteria from humans in 80 percent of the samples across both rivers. Bacteria from human waste could be coming from leaking septic tanks, people who illegally dump waste, going to the bathroom outside or from wastewater treatment plants. These finds are concerning because bacteria from human waste is more likely to make people sick with viral and bacterial infections than animal bacteria, Smith said. Finding where the bacteria is coming from is the next step in eliminating the pollution.


March 24, 2015--New national standard helps protect public water supplies (Water Online)

Global public health organization NSF International has published the first consensus-based American National Standard to evaluate the performance of municipal water filtration technologies in removing Cryptosporidium from public drinking water supplies.


February 21, 2015--Water woes among top voter concerns in the West (Greeley Tribune)

Concern over water conservation and management for the first time rivals unemployment in the minds of voters in the West, according to recent data released by the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project. The study polled 400 voters each from Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, all which indicated water as a major concern for the state.


February 14, 2015--Source Water Collaborative issues 'call to action' to better protect drinking water resources (Water World)

In its recent call to action, the Source Water Collaborative (SWC), an organization comprised of federal, state and local partners aiming to protect drinking water sources, stated that ongoing changes to water quality and quantity are challenging the nation to redouble its efforts to protect its water resources.


January 24, 2015--Report: Farming and urban growth are polluting America’s aquifers (Circle of Blue)

Farming and urban growth, two forces that are reshaping the land surface, are also changing the chemistry and physical properties of the nation’s aquifers, leading to greater concentrations of natural and manmade pollutants that could persist for decades in essential underground water sources, according to a comprehensive U.S.


December 15, 2014--Healthy Animas, healthy animals (Durango Herald)

Potentially, harmfully high levels of nutrients are flowing from the Florida River into the Animas River, and one project is hoping to make a dent in the problem. The Animas Watershed Partnership and rancher Keith Fassbender recently finished fencing almost a mile of the Florida River west of the Durango-La Plata County Airport as part of the effort.


December 10, 2014--Full scale of plastic in the world's oceans revealed for first time (Guardian)

More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found.


December 4, 2014--Toledo mayor: US must focus on water quality (Washington Post)

The mayor of Toledo, Ohio, called Wednesday for the federal government to devote full attention to improving water quality in America’s lakes and rivers, describing the toxic algae blooms that tainted his city’s water supply this summer as a danger “doomed to be repeated.” Mayor Michael Collins appeared before the Senate Agriculture Comm


November 28, 2014--Human-induced nitrogen pollution impacts oceans (Business Standard)

Human activity, particularly in industrial and agricultural processes, has had significant impacts on the upper ocean nitrogen cycle, a new study has warned.


November 18, 2014--Cities should look to nature to bridge investment gap in water sector (The Guardian)

The water sector has always struggled for investment, and each year the gap between dollars being spent and dollars that need to be spent on critical water infrastructure grows. The US, for example, is facing an $84bn funding gap by 2020, and it is estimated to grow to more than $140bn by 2040.


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