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Water Contamination

A Subtle Source of Injury

Many people are shocked to learn that nearly 7,000,000 cases of illness and around 1,000 casualties every year can be attributed to water contamination. We drink water on a daily basis from the tap, from bottles, or at a restaurant, with little to no thought as to whether the water is contaminated or not. Water is one of our most trusted resources, but there are a large number of contaminates that pose a threat to the safety of our water.

The four main types of contamination in water are fertilizing, bacterial, toxic and asphyxiating. Fertilizing contamination occurs in areas where a strong population of alga has occurred, and bacterial contamination consists of the presence of germs and virus in water. Toxic pollution in the water comes from chemical leaks such as pesticides and mercury, and many horrible diseases have started in Japan because of this kind of water contamination. Finally, asphyxiating contamination is a problem that comes from oil dumping, which blocks oxygen from circulating in the water. Consequentially, almost all of living fish and organisms in the water are killed and some rivers and lakes have been so polluted that they catch on fire.

Animal wastes and pesticides also pose a substantial contamination threat to our water supply. There are an estimated 1.3 million livestock and poultry farms throughout the nation, and over 200,000 of these farms are considered animal feeding operations (AFO). Because so many animals are confined in such small spaces, the animal waste can adversely affect water quality through erosion, surface runoff, direct discharges to surface waters, spills and other dry-weather discharges.

What are the common symptoms of contamination?

A majority of water contamination illnesses are not reported because the symptoms are difficult to distinguish from food poisoning. These symptoms can vary depending on the strength of your immune system, how much contaminated water you have drank, and other factors. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stomach problems
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Birth Defects

If the local supply is contaminated, more serious illnesses and diseases such as cancer can occur. Young children and elderly people, as well as those with preexisting medical conditions, are more likely to experience severe symptoms.

Taking Action Against Water Contamination

In order to ensure the quality of the drinking water in the United States, the federal government passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974. This law sets standards for the quality of drinking water and also oversees the states, localities and water suppliers who are responsible for implementing these standards in the 160,000+ public water systems. The federal government also created the Clean Water Act (CWA, 33 U.S.C. §§1251-1387) to further regulate agricultural activities throughout the country.

Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that agriculture is the leading contributor to water quality impairments in lakes and rivers. When animal waste is not properly managed it not only contaminates the water, but it can also cause air pollution. If you have been affected by water contamination because of an AFO or because a government entity took a lackadaisical approach to water regulations, you must take action to protect your rights. Our team of environmental lawyers is not afraid to stand up against powerful organizations or the government on your behalf, and we have years of experience with handling these cases. Call today!

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Located at 2425 South 144th Street, Omaha, NE 68144.
Phone: (888) 387-4134.
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