N.J. water quality worsens and threatens fish and aquatic life, says EPA | Science updates | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.


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N.J. water quality worsens and threatens fish and aquatic life, says EPA

epalogo_optBY BOB HOLT

Latest EPA reports indicate that the quality of water in New Jersey is continuing to worsen.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the 2010 Integrated Water Quality Report list of 2,112 waters in New Jersey that have been found either impaired or threatened by pollutants.

According to the EPA, an impaired body of water does not meet federal water quality standards even after implementation of pollution controls A body of water that is threatened looks to be impaired within two years.

Impairing a body of water keeps it from meeting federal standards for drinking water, swimming, or fishing. A common pollutant, dissolved oxygen, is a threat to fish and aquatic life.

A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, Larry Ragonese, told the Asbury Park Press, “We are working to improve the water quality. It’s a major issue. It would be very expensive and a very long-term effort to improve water, which is what we plan to do.”

The Clean Water Act requires states to report the quality of their waters to the EPA every two years. The most common source of pollutants in New Jersey include urban and storm drain runoff, sewer overflows, air pollution, and acid rain.

According to the New Jersey Sierra Club, director Jeff Tittel said, "The ultimate goal is to have a greater number of unimpaired waterways and this report underscores the need to continue monitoring New Jersey's waterways. At the rate we are going clean water in New Jersey will be an endangered species.”

New pollutants were found in waters in the basins of the Hudson River, the Passaic River, the Raritan River, and the Delaware Bay, according to the 2010 reports.

Comments (3)
3 Tuesday, 06 March 2012 13:07
Sam Pardo
Dear Mr. Holt,

In the above blurb you state:
"A common pollutant, dissolved oxygen, is a threat to fish and aquatic life."

Dissolved oxygen is a common measure of water quality but the problem is when there is too little of it, not too much. Much like humans need to breathe in oxygen to survive, so too do fish and other aquatic life. It's true that too much dissolved oxygen would be toxic, just as 100% oxygen would be to humans.

The first link returned by a google search for the term "dissolved oxygen" gives a brief description that would have provided a basic level of understanding for your blurb:

Please revise your blurb as it would be very confusing for those not familiar with water pollution and eutrophication to read that dissolved oxygen is a pollutant.

Thank you.
2 Sunday, 04 March 2012 23:41
David Cosgrove

I, too, was shocked to not only find the result of the EPA study, but the lack of NJ Newsroom to address the most basic questions in this article is shocking. Intro to Journalism in every college teaches to bullet point the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How in every story.

Why is the water polluted? What steps are being taken to improve the water? How does this year stack up with previous years?

By stating "At the rate we are going clean water in New Jersey will be an endangered species" that begs that question at WHAT RATE? In order to publish that quote, a responsible reporter will upload the one sentence of recent NJ water surveys.

If attempts were made on behalf of the reporter and New Jersey Newsroom for such critical information, such as: "When asked what has contributed to the pollution, Ragonese gave no response, or "XXX", would suffice.

Ragonese and Tittel were either reached for comment specifically about the report, or this was a press release. Either way, it shouldn't have been published as such.

Very weak.
1 Thursday, 01 March 2012 00:02
Peter Maier
How much more prove do people need to acknowledge that the Clean Water Act (CWA) was a failure. Not because of politics, but because EPA used an essential water pollution test incorrectly and as one of its many other negative consequences ignored 60% of the pollution in sewage Congress intended to treat. Among this waste ignored was and still is, all the nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste, while this waste besides exerting an oxygen demand (just like fecal waste) also is a fertilizer for algae, thus contributes to red tides and dead zones. (www.petermaier.net)
Even tough all this can be easily verified, nobody seems to be able or care, especially not the environmentalists and the media. Without correcting this test we will keep spinning our wheels and keep wasting public money on programs that are doomed to fail.

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