Water Pollution

'Dark Waters' And The Battle Against DuPont

Aug 6, 2020
Mark Ruffalo as Robert Bilott in the film "Dark Waters."
Dark Waters / Focus Features

This episode originally aired on December 16, 2019.

Teflon was discovered in 1938 as part of the Manhattan Project.

50 years later, it was a household trademark name of the non-stick, water-resistant coating for pots and pans.

Algae blooms on the coast of Toledo.
NASA Glenn Research Center

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts this summer’s harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie will measure between 4-5.5 on its severity scale – lower than 2019 levels, but still above the federal agency’s goal.

'Dark Waters' And The Battle Against DuPont

Jul 9, 2020
Mark Ruffalo as Robert Bilott in the film "Dark Waters."
Dark Waters / Focus Features

This episode originally aired on December 16, 2019.

Teflon was discovered in 1938 as part of the Manhattan Project.

50 years later, it was a household trademark name of the non-stick, water-resistant coating for pots and pans.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for many of us, including university researchers keeping an eye on Lake Erie. Teams only recently set off into the lake for water quality measurements, meaning they don’t have as much data as usual this year, and lab work is still disrupted by social distancing.

ideastream’s Tony Ganzer spoke with Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio Sea Grant program, about how the pandemic is affecting The Ohio State University’s Stone Lab on the lake, and the blooms themselves.

On April 20, 2010, while drilling oil giant BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, the crew lost control of the well. There was a "blowout" that released gas and oil, leading to an explosion that killed 11 workers.

The Deepwater Horizon rig was destroyed and sank two days later. Over the next nearly three months, 210 million gallons of oil flowed from the well into the Gulf.

It was one of the biggest environmental disasters in U.S. history.

Algae blooms on the coast of Toledo.
NASA Glenn Research Center

A federal judge has ruled that the “Lake Erie Bill Of Rights” passed last year by Toledo voters is unconstitutional.

The Ohio River near Sewickley, Pa.
Nick Childers / PublicSource

I live in Mount Washington, on the east side of Cincinnati, roughly the midpoint of the 981-mile Ohio River. Below us, near the mouth of the Little Miami River, marinas, barge terminals and Cincinnati Water Works' Miller Treatment Plant line the river’s bank.

EPA's 'Secret Science' Rule

Feb 28, 2020
Acid mine drainage can cause creeks to turn a dark orange hue.
Curren Sheldon / 100 Days In Appalachia

This show originally ran on Jan. 22, 2020.

The Trump Administration is working on a policy change that would require scientists to disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before their findings could be considered in shaping regulations.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) encouraged a large group of farmers to keep participating in the state's water quality program, saying his administration is keeping its eye on a specific indicator to determine if their plan is reducing harmful algal blooms.

Emily Collins, executive director of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, on the bank of the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh.
Jay Manning / PublicSource

Can you imagine if the Ohio River and its tributaries had legal rights? While speculative, the idea isn’t necessarily far-fetched. This month marks the one-year anniversary of residents in Toledo, Ohio, bestowing Lake Erie with its own bill of rights.

Algae blooms on the coast of Toledo.
NASA Glenn Research Center

Reducing harmful algal blooms remains the top priority for protecting and restoring Lake Erie, according to a draft plan released by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.

Whose Job Is It To Reduce Toxic Mercury In The Ohio River?

Feb 7, 2020
Anglers at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.
William Alden / Flickr

Mercury, which damages young brains, is flowing through industrial wastewater into the Ohio River. But the multi-state agency tasked with keeping the waterway clean hasn’t tightened controls on this pollution because it doesn’t have the authority to do so.

Many business interests are cheering President Trump's recent rollback of water regulations put in place by the Obama administration. But companies that make money protecting clean water could take a big hit.

U.S. Forest Service Fisheries Research Biologist Wendell R. Haag holds a pimpleback mussel and a purple wartyback mussel to show the differences in the species.
Carrie Blackmore Smith / PublicSource

“Will one of these fit?” Wendell R. Haag asks, holding out a couple pairs of well-worn creeking shoes he’s pulled from the back of his pickup, both decidedly larger than a ladies size 8. Haag is taking me to see an aquatic wonder, and I’ve worn the wrong shoes.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the amount of U.S. waterways that get federal protection under the Clean Water Act — a move that is welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but is opposed even by the agency's own science advisers.

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