Arizona Governor Seeks to Halt River Pollution

April 15, 2004

Governor Janet Napolitano is looking to meet as soon as possible with the state's congressional delegation to find ways to halt pollution flowing into the Colorado River, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Napolitano's reaction comes as a response to a report by American Rivers naming the Colorado as the most threatened in the country. The governor said she takes little comfort from the report that the water remains safe to drink because it is treated.

"That does not relieve us of our responsibility to look at the long-term health and quality of that water because it is life-sustaining to so many millions in Arizona and in the lower basin states," Napolitano told the Arizona Daily Star.

One main focus of the conservation group's report was that a rocket fuel manufacturing facility is dumping more than 400 pounds of ammonium perchlorate into the river every day. Recent tests have shown perchlorate levels below Hoover Dam as high as 24 parts per billion, nearly twice what state guidelines permit, Napolitano said.

Another source of pollution mentioned in the report is a now-closed mill in Utah that still leaks radioactive waste into the river. In addition, nitrate levels are four times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency limits, due at least in part to septic tanks along the Arizona and California sections of the river.

"Many of the sources of pollution that have been identified are federal sources," Napolitano told the Arizona Daily Star. "This needs to be a joint state-federal effort."

Source: Arizona Daily Star