Yesterday, upon doing research for my STEM for Solar class, I found a study on Virginia water reserves that was genuinely shocking for me. A study was released in 2012 that assessed the water quality of 35% of rivers, 98% of lakes, and 85% of estuaries in Virginia. Amongst those assessed areas, 71% of rivers, 83% of lakes, and 94% of estuaries were considered impaired. The most common cases of impairment of waters in general was from e. coli and bacteria from animal and human waste, as well as other nutrients and trash that we create using industrial methods. Since the 90s, the waters have been progressing to a fully or partially restored state, but if the report was any indicator, we still have a long ways to go.
On a personal note, back home, I live a couple of miles down from the Potomac Bridge. The Potomac river, to put it simply, was disgusting. Most of the pollutants in the river would come from sewage from Fairview Beach, and I’ve heard stories of people who have stayed in the river for too long and would break out into rashes as a result. It’s troubling, to me, that there are so many other bodies of water that are that badly polluted.
As I have mentioned earlier, a small percentage of these waters have been fully restored. Something that I would like to look more into is how we can keep this progress going, as well as contribute to the restoration of water ourselves.