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Nearly Ten Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Dumped in Alabama’s Rivers

Nelson Brooke’s photo of Tyson Farms’ Blountsville Processing Plant’s wastewater treatment plant and discharge, top center, and the wetland it discharges to, bottom left. Flight provided by SouthWings.

Nelson Brooke’s photo of Tyson Farms’ Blountsville Processing Plant’s wastewater treatment plant and discharge, top center, and the wetland it discharges to, bottom left. Flight provided by SouthWings.

A recent analysis of data reported by industry indicates that nearly ten million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped into Alabama’s rivers in 2015. Over 50,000 pounds of those chemicals are carcinogens, and over a quarter million of them cause reproductive issues. The data was self-reported by industry to EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, from which Coosa Riverkeeper analyzed the data to produce these rankings.

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Alabama Sewage Permits Become More Protective of Citizens

Waterkeepers Successful in Push for Better Bacteria RegulationsWaterkeepers Successful in Push for Better Bacteria Regulations

Sewage plants in Alabama will now have to meet tighter limits for E. coli bacteria in order to make it safer to swim and fish in creeks across the state. Several nonprofit water advocacy organizations successfully compelled the state’s government to improve the rules. The new regulations lower the maximum concentration of E. coli that is allowed to be discharged at any given time during the summer by nearly 40%, and increase the period of time those standards apply by 50%, from four months to six months.

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Alabama Power Coal Ash Maps Illustrate Potential Danger to River and Public

Kingston Coal Ash Spill by John WathenAlabama Power recently released coal ash inundation maps for five of its power plants in Alabama, including all three power plants located in the Black Warrior River basin.  Coal ash is the waste that remains after coal is burned.  It contains toxic heavy metals including mercury, arsenic, selenium, and chromium, which are harmful to human health, water resources, and wildlife.

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UA PR Student Earns Grant for Riverkeeper Internship

Hope Runyan, Blackwarrior Riverkeeper InternHope Runyan, a senior at The University of Alabama, has received a grant from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation to work with Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit clean water advocacy organization. Runyan, a senior majoring in public relations, will work for the organization as a communications intern throughout the summer. The grant, provided by a partnership between the Munson Foundation and The University of Alabama’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations, is the highest award given to a student in the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

“I am so honored to receive this grant have the opportunity to work with an organization that has such a big impact on Alabama.” said Runyan, a resident of Bessemer, Ala. “By directly affecting communities and having such a large influence throughout the state, Black Warrior Riverkeeper is allowing me to build on my communications skills in every task.”

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