Indiana Has the Most Polluted Waterways

In a report from indystar Indiana was the state that allowed the most pollutants in its waterways for 2017.

More than 27 million pounds of toxins were dumped by industries in the Hoosier state in this past year. The company – AK Steel – was the largest single contributor of this water pollution. In 2010, the company dumped about 24 million pounds of pollutants in the Ohio River in that year alone. This plant uses nitric acid to clean its stainless steel products. This toxin then gets released into waterways as wastewater that contains nitrates.

Not surprisingly, those that are in charge of speaking on behalf of these industrial (or should I say – industrious?) polluters completely downplay the vast chemical discharges. The director of government and public relations for AK Steel basically claims that the company’s discharge is well within government regulations and poses no threat to the environment. Even the spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said that the pollution that the company is responsible for “cannot be used to draw conclusions to human health or the environment“.

Really? Well, based on the responses by these two individuals, it is fairly easy to draw conclusions about who signs their paychecks. It is unbelievably audacious to defend a company whose waste has made its state’s waterways the most polluted in the country. It’s typically not a crime to finish in last place, but in this case it should be. No amount of pollution should be considered safe and acceptable, so there is absolutely no reasonable defense for a company who pollutes the most.

It can be an easy argument to say that this company provides a much needed and valuable product for our country. However, there seems to be no attempt at discovering a better way to deal with the waste that is created from its business operations. Sure, this would mean an extra expense for the company. It could even be quite expensive. However, sustainable and long term operations should not be considered without making this change.

Hopefully the residents of Indiana are doing all that they can to protect themselves from their highly polluted water. Obviously, fishing should be out of the question since fish are the first to fall victim of the poisons in rivers. Many will start looking for the best water filter that they can find. This ultimately follows the awareness that bottled water is not the best choice for many reasons. Tap water is definitely out of the question here as well.

I guess the silver lining here is….well, not silver but a strong steel industry. At least Indiana can be proud of that. Who needs potable water?