Tell the EPA to protect Appalachian streams from selenium pollution
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a second draft of the new chronic selenium standard for fresh water. This is the last chance for the public to provide input on this important rule.
Public comments are due by September 25. The public comment deadline has been extended to Oct. 10.
Selenium, a chemical commonly found in wastewater from mountaintop removal coal mines and in coal ash ponds, is toxic to fish and other wildlife at very low levels, and it is toxic to humans at high levels. Once it is released into waterways, selenium enters the food chain and accumulates in fish, causing reproductive failure and deformities.
The EPA has proposed changing the chronic standard so that it relies on measurements of selenium in fish and not on direct measurements of selenium in water. This flawed method will not identify problems until extensive damage has already been done. It will also make it difficult to identify which mine is responsible for the pollution in streams where multiple mines are nearby. Finally, it will make citizen testing and enforcement more difficult.
Tell the EPA to fully protect aquatic life and make sure the selenium standard is enforceable.