Stop Wastewater from Polluting Our Rivers and Oceans

WaterTest

Target: EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

Goal: Adjust the failures in the biochemical oxygen demand test, which is used to gauge the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants.

The biochemical oxygen demand test was created in 1920 to measure water pollution. This is frequently used as a guideline to gauge the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, the improper application of this test resulted in the failure of the Clean Water Act of 1972 to be implemented.

The improper testing procedure resulted in incorrect results that ignored sixty percent of the pollution in sewage that wastewater treatment plants are supposed to eliminate. This failure to produce accurate results allowed the EPA to simply shelve its plans for the implementation of the Clean Water Act, which would have served to eliminate all wastewater pollution over a thirteen-year time period.

With improper testing in place, nitrogenous (urine and protein based) waste goes virtually ignored. The pollution caused by this waste acts as a catalyst for environmentally damaging algae blooms that create dead zones, red tides, and contribute to the destruction of coral reefs.

It has been nearly thirty years since the EPA admitted that incorrect testing led directly to these problems. Sadly, in the intervening time period, the organization has refused to correct the test and related regulations.

In addition to nitrogenous waste (euphemistically termed “nutrient pollution”), there is also a considerable concern surrounding a lack of transparency in how waste treatment plants are treating sewage and what the total effluent waste load is for receiving bodies of water.

Until testing is corrected and regulations adjusted accordingly, the government will continue to be forced to spend time and resources counteracting the resulting nutrient pollution. I urge you to instead ask the government to treat the cause of this problem and eliminate nutrient pollution from becoming an issue. Ask the EPA to correct its biochemical oxygen demand test and adjust regulations to eliminate nitrogenous wastewater from flowing into our rivers and oceans.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Jackson,

Created in 1920, the biochemical oxygen demand test was devised as a means of measuring water pollution. The primary application of this test is to monitor the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants.

Unfortunately, improper application of this test has led to the failure of the Clean Water Act of 1972 to be properly implemented. This act was intended to eliminate water pollution within a thirteen-year time period from 1972 to 1985. Twenty-seven years later, this still is not the case.

The incorrect results that have stemmed from improper testing have led to nearly sixty percent of the waste-water pollution that sewage treatment plants are supposed to eliminate going ignored. This is primarily nitrogenous (urine and protein based) waste.

This form of waste, euphemistically termed “nutrient pollution”, can act as a catalyst for environmentally damaging algae blooms. These blooms create dead zones, red tides, and contribute to the destruction of coral reefs by starving them of oxygen and sunlight.

Nearly thirty years ago, the EPA admitted that there was fault within the testing procedure, yet across that entire time from nothing has been done to rectify the faulty procedure.

The time has come to resolve this issue and make good on the promise of the Clean Water Act by implementing proper testing procedures and regulations surrounding the treatment of wastewater by sewage treatment plants. In addition, greater transparency must be given with regards to both the treatment processes utilized by these plants and the volume of effluent waste being dumped in national water sources.

Protect the environment from nutrient pollution by addressing the root of the problem, improper testing and regulations, before countless more time and resources are devoted to the results of this failed process.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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515 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Hermann Kastner
  • sheila childs
  • joan walker
  • jeff hopkins
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