Group critical of Columbia River water quality

first_imgWhen the citizen group Columbia Riverkeeper submitted water quality data to state authorities last week, it also fired off an announcement detailing “extensive violations” of water quality standards on the Columbia.That might be a bit premature — the data are only a small part of a massive index of troubled waterways the state Department of Ecology is putting together for 2012. The agency’s three-month “call for data” inviting outside entities to contribute just ended Aug. 31. Now comes the lengthy process of analyzing it.“We’ve got a lot of information that we collect,” said Susan Braley, a water quality supervisor with the ecology department. She noted dozens more studies the state agency does in-house.Problems on the Columbia River wouldn’t be a new development. Higher water temperatures have long been an issue on the heavily dammed river. Oxygen levels and dissolved gas content have also strayed from state and federal standards, along with various pollutants around the watershed.The ecology department’s 303(d) report from 2008 — named for a section of the federal Clear Water Act — found problems big and small along the Columbia from the Washington Coast to Wenatchee. Some of those same issues, particularly high water temperatures, came up again in sampling by Columbia Riverkeeper volunteers earlier this year, said Lorri Epstein, the group’s water quality director.last_img

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