(COLORADO) — The Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) Foundation is raising the alarm about the dumping of toxic chemicals into Colorado’s waterways. Tuesday, Oct. 18 marks 50 years of the Clean Water Act, but Colorado’s waterways are still impacted by human pollution.

A report by the CoPIRG Foundation showed that more than 1.3 million pounds of toxic chemicals entered Colorado’s waterways in 2020 from industrial facilities.

The group claims that the watersheds of South Platte, Fountain, Clear, Yampa, and the Arkansas River, among others, have experienced an influx of chemicals linked to “cancer, reproductive and developmental harm.”

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“Our children deserve a toxic-free future,” said Alex Simon, Public Health Advocate with the CoPIRG Foundation. “Yet polluters too often recklessly dispose of chemicals linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive damage. It’s time to stop this toxic dumping.”

The CoPIRG Foundation based its report on the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 2020. The Foundation highlighted the following major findings:

  • Industrial facilities dumped 1.3 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Colorado’s waterways.
  • 22 facilities reported dumping of toxic chemicals to the EPA across a range of industries, including Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., Leprino Foods Co., U.S. Army Fort Carson, Molson Coors USA LLC, Carestream Health Colorado, Climax Molybdenum CO-Henderson/Climax Mines, Suncor Energy Commerce City Refinery, and Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel. 

According to the EPA, under the Clean Water Act, the “EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. EPA has also developed national water quality criteria recommendations for pollutants in surface waters.”

The Clean Water Act also made it “unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained.” You can read more about the Clean Water Act, here.

As part of the report, the CoPIRG Foundation also wants the EPA to “…update pollution control standards in order to end or at least dramatically reduce toxic releases into our waterways.”