After the fire: Blazes pose hidden threat to the West’s drinking water

photo: Tubbs wildfire destroyed homes, may release chemical contaminants

Photo: The ruins of houses destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on Oct. 14, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. David McNew / Getty Images file

At least 65 percent of the public water supply in the Western U.S. comes from fire-prone areas, and wildfires can taint water with toxins and parasites.

Gerald and Serene Buhrz were among the lucky ones.

When they fled their home at 2:00 a.m. on Oct. 8, … [more…]

‘A Civil Action’ Carcinogen Pollutes Tap Water Supplies for 14 Million Americans

map: trichloroethylene (TCE) in tap water supplies. ‘A Civil Action’ Carcinogen Pollutes Tap Water Supplies for 14 Million Americans

Under Trump, EPA Retreats From Proposed Ban on Key Uses of TCE

Drinking water supplies for 14 million Americans are contaminated with a cancer-causing industrial solvent made notorious by the book and film "A Civil Action," according to a new EWG analysis of tests from public utilities nationwide.

The chemical is trichloroethylene, or TCE. Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency is retreating from an earlier proposal to ban … [more…]

Penn State study: Spraying brine from drilling, fracking on roadways is hazardous

map: Penn State study: Spraying brine from drilling, fracking on roadways is hazardous

Spreading wastewater from non-shale oil and gas drilling and fracking on unpaved roads is a cheap way for municipalities to suppress dust and melt snow, but a Penn State University study says the practice has potentially high costs for human health and the environment.

The study, published in the journal “Environmental Science & Technology” last month, said the wastewater contains salts, radioactivity and organic contaminants “often many times higher than … [more…]

Radium contamination in water most widespread in Texas, environmental group says

Radium contamination in water most widespread in Texas, environmental group says

More than half of Americans could be drinking tap water tainted with a radioactive element. A new report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds more than 170 million people are exposed to radium in their drinking water. That could increase the risk of cancer.

When Dennis Taylor moved with his wife and two kids back to her hometown of Brady, Texas, he quickly found out many there don’t … [more…]