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A Fish Called Wanda


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Ever hear the phrase "...there, but for the grace of God, go I"?

Well, your local rivers and streams are in constant need of monitoring and a strong stewardship presence to ward off these kinds of things.......

 

Abnormally developed fish, possessing both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River in the District and in tributaries across the region, federal scientists say -- raising alarms that the river is tainted by pollution that drives hormone systems haywire.

 

Striking results!

More than 80 percent of all the male smallmouth bass they found were growing eggs, including all of the fish caught at four of the seven survey sites. The intersex condition doesn't change the fish's outward appearance but can be detected under a microscope.

 

Check out these horrifying facts:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...0501384_pf.html

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  • 1 month later...

Mike,

 

I was a speaker at Water 2006 last week and a speaker there indicated that these kinds of intesex fish are showing up downstream of waste-water treatment plants wherever scientists have looked for them. He didn't have any cases from Illinois, but the cause (endocrine distrupters from birth control etc.) is present here so these things are likely to be happening. The stream he studied in Colorado where this was happening with white sucers was pristine except for the wastewater being put into it.

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Does this mean the WWTP's are not effectively/adequately treating the water before it is emptied into the rivers? Also, are you referring to oral contraceptives (endocrine disrupters) as a cuplrit? That is scary stuff.

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Does this mean the WWTP's are not effectively/adequately treating the water before it is emptied into the rivers? Also, are you referring to oral contraceptives (endocrine disrupters) as a cuplrit? That is scary stuff.

 

The treatment plants clean up some things and don't get others. They are a vast improvement over what we had before (nothing), and we have had huge improvements in streams since sewage treatment became the law...but caffiene, endocrine disrupters (yes, oral contraceptives), surfactants and other things go right through the plants we have now. Apparently in Europe they're talking about a "super-oxidation" processes that completely destroys all organic molecules before they're re-released back into streams.

 

There was a talk about ground water in St. Louis as well. Apparently 20% of test wells in that area contained caffiene. Think about that a minute.

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Guest rich mc

i read a few years ago that seattle had a problem with caffeine in its streams. some weresaying its from people pouring out the left over starbucks in the storm drains.

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  • 2 weeks later...
i read a few years ago that seattle had a problem with caffeine in its streams. some weresaying its from people pouring out the left over starbucks in the storm drains.

 

I can almost guarantee you that the main source is caffeine going down the toilet. The stuff isn't fully metabolized by humans... or treatment plants.

 

-j

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There have been published reports about the disposal of medicines down drains and how they wind up in our streams because they aren't removed from waste water plants but I haven't been able to locate any.

I would like to have a good report about what's actually in treated water to show people why wet wading is not a good idea at least in rivers where treated water is being released.

I've heard the resaon why the Dupage is usually so clear is that most of the water in the river came from water treatment plants.

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EPA site with press coverage of pharmaceutical releases in wastewater up to 2004

http://www.epa.gov/esd/chemistry/ppcp/media.htm

 

Toxic effects of wastewater on fish

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi....1997.tb01969.x

 

Effects of surfactants on wastewater toxicty

http://md1.csa.com/partners/viewrecord.php...p;setcookie=yes

 

Discussion of Eurpean bans on surfactants

http://pubs.acs.org/hotartcl/est/97/jul/euro.html

 

I've had the opportunity to go through the EPA data for stream water quality in Illinois and I can say a few things about general trends. I have had the experience of being called out for saying relatively innocuous things about potential wastewater effects, so I’ll have to be careful here but some things are obvious enough to point out without getting sued.

 

Typical plants are releasing millions of gallons of waste water a day. Contaminant levels from wastewater plants increase during the summer because waste releases remain constant and water from rainfall drops due to higher rates of evapotransporation. More people means more wastewater, so places with a dense population like Chicago area streams almost always behave this way.

 

In addition to the contaminants discussed above, treated sewage can also have microbes and some of those are pathogenic. Chlorine is often added to eliminate these, but sometimes has the effect of inducing dormancy rather than lethality. Miles downstream the level of chlorine is diluted and the microbes can re-emerge from dormancy and cause problems. Ultra violet light treatment appears to be more effective in killing microbes.

 

I have no problem wet wading or taking my kids to wet wade in clean streams like the Middle Fork of the Vermilion. I would not wet wade in the Chicago area (although to do field work, I’m often immersed in contaminated water anyway) and I would not wet wade anytime I smell that sickly sweet treated sewage smell. If you have been on streams for any period of time, you have probably learned to identify that. I believe it comes from perfumes in the household products that get flushed through the plant.

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