EPA releases State of the River Report for the Columbia River Basin

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EPA is releasing the on-line version of the Columbia River Basin State of the River Report for Toxics.  This report is a call to action for governments, Tribes and the public.  It is a compilation of currently available data about four widespread contaminants in the Basin and identifies the risks they pose to the environment and humans. The four contaminants are: mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its breakdown products,  and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.

EPA collaborated with the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Working Group,  a team of more than 20 Federal and State agencies, Tribes, local governments and organizations, to develop this latest portrait of the toxic threats faced by the Columbia River Basin. The Report shows that toxics are found throughout the Basin at levels that could harm people, fish, and wildlife. Federal, Tribal, State, and local efforts have reduced levels of some toxics such as PCBs and DDTs, but in many areas, they continue to pose an unacceptable risk.  Tackling this problem will require a coordinated effort by all levels of government, Tribes, interest groups and the public.

The Report recommends expanding existing toxics reduction activities throughout the Basin; identifying and characterizing the sources of toxics to the Basin; and developing a regional, multi-agency long-term monitoring and research program.

The Report can be found at:  www.epa.gov/region10/columbia/sorr.html

The next meeting of the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Working Group will be held on February 18, 2009, at the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, 729 NE Oregon, Portland, OR, at 9:30am.  More information on the meeting can be found on the EPA Columbia River website:  www.epa.gov/region10/columbia