Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water
PHOENIX – In Ringwood, New Jersey, Ford Motor Co. dumped more than 35,000 tons of toxic paint sludge onto lands occupied for centuries by the Turtle Clan of the Ramapough Lenape tribe, poisoning groundwater with arsenic, lead and other harmful chemicals.
Today, more than 43 years after the dumping ended, those toxins are still in the groundwater and threaten a reservoir providing drinking water to millions of residents.
In Picher, Oklahoma, decades of lead and zinc mining left residents with an aquifer contaminated with lead and heavy metals. The flow of polluted mine water into streams, lakes and a large groundwater aquifer still poses a threat to drinking water for nearby communities nearly 60 years after mining stopped.
In North Carolina, the state has told residents living near coal-fired power plants their water contains elevated levels of chromium-6 and other chemicals. While environmentalists, state government and utilities investigate the source of contamination, nearly 1,000 households rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth.
“If we don't have water, we cannot live. So when you have companies coming into your neck of the woods, contaminating your water, what are we going to do?” said Tracey Edwards of Walnut Cove, North Carolina. “What are we going to do? We can't live like that.”