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A major hub for manufacturing and transportation, the Great Lakes and their tributaries were once an easy dump site for their waste products that included organic toxins, mercury, PCBs, and dioxins. As a result of the Federal Clean Water Act (1972) most of the direct pollution discharges from known point sources have stopped, but the legacy pollutants remain because many are trapped in lake and stream sediments. Other dissolved pollutants have long residence times because less than one percent of the water in the Great Lakes exits the lake system annually. Discharge from sewage treatment systems remains a problem, particularly where stormwater and sewage systems are combined in large urban areas. The inland fish...
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Northern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois are part of the Factory Belt, an area that was a primary center of manufacturing and industry from the late 1800s to the late 1900s. The manufacturing processes resulted in discharges of a broad range of toxins to local waterways. PCBs and dioxins, which have been banned for more than a decade, still pose a problem in the area’s rivers, lakes, and reservoirs because these industrial chemicals do not break down over time. For example, the Ashtabula River, in northeast Ohio, flows into Lake Erie and has been severely contaminated by a multitude of hazardous substances from legacy industrial discharges. This resulted in a 45 percent reduction in fish species, a 52 percent reduction...
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The massive urban development of the northeast has resulted in discharged contaminants such as heavy metals, PCBs, and pesticides throughout the region’s waters. The number of industrial sites is much lower today, but their legacy continues as pollution leaks from abandoned industrial sites, landfills and disposal areas. Over time, these contaminants concentrate in sediments at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and bays. Some of the highest concentrations in the Northeast occur in Narragansett Bay, New York/New Jersey Harbor and Bight, and western Long Island Sound, where elevated levels of heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, chromium, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc), PCBs, and pesticides occur. There are numerous impaired...
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Regional industries have contributed significant amounts of oil, metals, and other industrial wastes such as sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and benzene to the Mississippi River. Imperiled waters abound in Missouri and metals such as lead, zinc, and cadmium were historically released into streams from mines in multiple counties, particularly in the old lead mining belts. Over 1,321 miles of Tennessee rivers and streams, 1,507 miles in Kentucky, and 1,493 miles in Arkansas were impaired in 2012 due to release of metals, pesticides, and PCBs. Many chemicals, such as PCBs, have been banned for decades but persist in suspended and bottom sediments of aquatic environments. Poorly treated sewage and wastewater is also...


    map background search result map search result map Description of Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Upper Midwest States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Central Mississippi River States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Central Midwest States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Central Midwest States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Central Mississippi River States Description of Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Upper Midwest States