OHIO – The Ohio River was identified as one of ten rivers in the US that are the most endangered.
The report, “America’s Most Endangered Rivers,” is in its 38th year of production. A Coalition is now calling on Congress to address issues to the US waterways that have become more and more polluted.
The Ohio River travels from Pennsylvania, through Ohio, flowing into West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois before connecting to the Mississippi River covers more than 200,000 square miles of riverbanks, and provides drinking water for hundreds of towns and cities. Along with that, the Ohio river is host to many sports and recreation including fishing, kayaking, and swimming. The river is also a natural habitat for fish, birds, and animals.
According to the nonprofit American Rivers report, “The Ohio River Basin drains areas affected by environmental pollution from heavy industrialization, including mining and resource extraction for energy development, chemical production, and durable goods manufacturing. Pollution from the disposal of coal ash
and acid mine drainage also impacts the watershed. Ongoing discharges
from industrial, municipal, and agricultural sources remain a
challenge as a decades-long effort to improve and sustain the river
system continues. Despite measurable progress, two-thirds of the river is listed as impaired by bacteria under the Clean Water Act.
High levels of nutrients present in the river result in the formation of
toxic algae outbreaks.”
One example of a hazardous chemicals spill is the February 3rd Norfolk Southern train derailment that caused a toxic plume of chemicals to travel into nearby streams and eventually into the Ohio River. Following that leak, left a wake of fish kill, along with reports of rashes and headaches.
The Coalition calls on Congress to support the plan to designate the Ohio River as a distinct water system worthy of substantial federal funding to support its recovery, protection, and future value.