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Toxic Chemicals In Oregon's Waterways


Oregon's industrial facilities dumped more than 1 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the state's waterways in 2012. In a new report, Environment Oregon ranks the state 33rd worst in the nation for water pollution.

The report "Wasting our Waterways" comes from data companies are required to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency about toxics they discharge into rivers.  Rikki Seguin with Environment Oregon says the EPA doesn't regulate all of the state's waterways-- so there's no data available on pollution of smaller rivers and streams.

Seguin: "The EPA recently proposed a new rule that would close loopholes within the Clean Water Act and restore these Clean Water Act protections to all of our waterways across the country. So they're asking people to weigh in and let them know exactly what the public thinks of stronger protections for our waterways."

Seguin says the report found the state's biggest polluter is Siltronic Corporation in Portland, which produces semi-conductors and released more than 350 thousand pounds of toxic chemicals into the Willamette River in 2012. The public comment period on the EPA's proposed new rule closes in October.  

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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