Study Links Farms to Poor Water Quality

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to food security and environmental issues, has linked agricultural production and farm runoff with poor water quality across the country.

For the past few years, American farmers have existed in a tense relationship with the federal government. Fearing undo regulation from Washington, farmers have reacted strongly to th slightest rumor that the federal government or the Environmental Protection Agency are seeking to tighten environmental restrictions.

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group, however, argues that stronger regulations are the only possible solution to environmental degradation and pollution. The study, titled “Muddy Waters,” is a study of water systems across the country. According to the EWG, water sources have suffered extensive damage at the hands of the farm community.

The problem, they argue, is that a landmark water regulation, the Clean Water Act, does not apply to farmers who are encouraged to voluntarily reduce farm runoff, but are not required to take steps to reduce farm runoff. As a result, water resources have suffered significantly. In the Gulf of Mexico, large dead zones have formed due to pollution from the Mississippi. The same is occurring in the Chesapeake Bay. In states like Iowa, the study found nearly 60 percent of the state’s streams have been rated as poor or very poor water quality.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer