skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, March 1, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Report: 67% of KY Streams, Rivers Impaired 50 Years After Clean Water Act

play audio
Play

Thursday, April 7, 2022   

A recent report found 67% of streams and rivers in the Commonwealth are designated as "impaired for any use."

An impaired waterway can contain unsafe levels of fecal pathogens posing health risks to swimmers, low oxygen levels making it harder for fish to survive, or harbor high levels of nitrates, bacteria or other contaminants causing local municipalities to deploy additional treatments in order to make it safe to drink.

Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said Kentucky has more than 90,000 miles of rivers and streams, but only a portion of its waterways are assessed for drinking and recreational safety.

"You've got 8,484 miles in Kentucky, about two-thirds of the river and stream mileage that was studied, that are meeting water-quality standards," Schaeffer pointed out. "And more than 4,000 of those miles aren't safe for swimming, or what's called contact recreation."

Overall, based on state data submitted to the EPA, the report found more than 700,000 miles of rivers and streams nationwide -- half of those assessed -- were classified as impaired for at least one use.

Schaeffer noted a major problem is the EPA's lack of action on reviewing and updating limits for water pollution control by industries. According to the report, two-thirds of the EPA's industry-specific water pollution limits have not been updated in more than three decades, despite a Clean Water Act mandate for reviews every five years.

"Here on the 50th anniversary, we want to, of course, recognize that and remind people of how bad it was and remind them that we don't want them to slide back to those days," Schaeffer emphasized. "But also, the data and the evaluations of water quality that are required under the Clean Water Act show that we have a long, long way to go."

He added it is important for state-based agencies to do regular assessments of water quality.

"In recent years it's only been 14% of the total in the state," Schaeffer reported. "You look nationwide, it's more like 26-27% get assessed, of all the river and stream miles. Kentucky is about half of what's already really low baseline."

A report released last year from the Department of Environmental Quality found toxic compounds called Perfluorinated and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) in 90% of the Commonwealth's surface waters.

Disclosure: The Sierra Club, Kentucky Chapter, contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Public Lands/Wilderness, Sustainable Agriculture, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for provid…


Environment

play sound

It's early in the season for wildfires in Nebraska, but dozens of firefighters have already been battling a large wildfire near North Platte for …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report finds some Missouri laws and prospective laws are perceived as discriminatory regardless of their actual intent - and it outlines some bi…


Many transmission projects already follow highway corridors, but depending on the state, policy experts say laws can make it harder to add new power lines along federal interstates. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

By Frank Jossi for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Joyce Foundation-Public News Ser…

Environment

play sound

By Claire Carlson, John Upton and Kaitlyn Trudeau for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Oregon News Service for the Public …

From book bans to teacher qualifications, a new national report from the Network of Public Education examines the laws and policies that support or undermine each state's public schools and the students who attend them. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

play sound

A new Network for Public Education report grades Florida an "F" for its public school funding. As Florida lawmakers negotiate the state budget in …

Social Issues

play sound

As members of Congress and presidential candidates battle it out over immigration, a group of Nevada leaders and experts dedicated to advancing …

Social Issues

play sound

A bill in Olympia would open access to unemployment while workers are on strike, but time is running out for lawmakers to pass the legislation…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021