Water Pollution

September 17, 2011
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Current sanitation practice compromises water quality through direct release of treated or untreated wastewater and through run off from agricultural lands into surrounding watersheds.   When added to fresh water bodies, the nitrates and phosphates found in wastewater and in commercial fertilizers frequently lead to “algae blooms”, or increases of phytoplankton.  Eutrophication depletes oxygen in the water and decimates fish populations.

Learn More

Swimming in Sewage. Natural Resources Defense Council. 1994.  This landmark report tracks the real costs of sewer overflows in terms of medical treatment, lost productivity and cleanup and repairs. The 75-page full report is must reading.

Toxic Waters is a  New York Times series about the worsening pollution in America’s waters and regulators’ response.  See especially Charles Duhigg’s “As Sewers Fill, Waste Poisons Waterways”.

Wastewater Systems This industry site was designed to help novices and experts understand wastewater treatment system technology; provides an excellent breakdown of components and processes. Note that it outlines no less than 18 sludge disposal technologies, many of them in early stages of testing.

A River Renewed.  Narrated by Walter Cronkite, this 17 minute 2013 film from the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services covers the history of pollution of the Willamette River and mitigation of CSOs through downspout disconnect, bioswales, depaving, permeable pavements, ecoroofs,

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    Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human, or PHLUSH, is an all-volunteer advocacy group based in Portland's Old Town Chinatown. We collaborate with grassroots organizations, environmental activists, planners, architects, code officials and city managers. We receive support from the Old Town Chinatown Community Association and Neighbors West-Northwest. PHLUSH is a member of the World Toilet Organization and a partner in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance.

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