Policy Solutions

All Policy Documents Tagged water pollution

Waste Less, Pollute Less: Using Urban Water Conservation to Advance Clean Water Act Compliance
Issue Brief
In many parts of the United States, cities and suburbs -- and the wastewater and stormwater utilities that serve them -- are among the largest sources of water pollution. They need hundreds of billions of dollars to repair, maintain, and improve their infrastructure to comply with Clean Water Act standards that protect public health and the environment.
Rooftops to Rivers II
Green Strategies for Controlling Stormwater and Combined Sewer Overflows
Report
This November 2011 report is a policy guide for decision makers looking to implement green stormwater strategies to stop water pollution at its source. It includes case studies of cities that have successfully used green infrastructure techniques to reduce runoff and combined sewer overflow (CSO) pollution to create a healthier urban environment.
Seizing a Watershed Opportunity in the Chesapeake Bay
NRDC’s Plan to Clean Up the Chesapeake Bay and Its Beaches
Issue Paper
As the largest estuary in the United States, and the third largest in the world, the Chesapeake Bay is home to a wide range of wildlife and an important resource for millions of people who live, play, and work in the region. On the heels of reports from seven federal agencies commissioned by President Obama to clean up this national treasure, this paper delves into the sources of pollution that undermine the health of the Bay and provides recommendations for mitigating them.
In Fracking's Wake
New Rules are Needed to Protect Our Health and Environment from Contaminated Wastewater
Issue Paper
Natural gas development has exploded, fueled by advances in an extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Unfortunately, federal and state safeguards to protect people and the environment from the hazards of fracking have not kept pace.
Safe Water in Peril
Addressing the Effects of Global Warming on Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
Fact Sheet
Nearly eight hundred million people do not have access to safe drinking water, and two and a half billion people live without adequate sanitation. These dire conditions already pose the greatest worldwide threat to environmental health, and global warming is making matters worse. More frequent, severe droughts and floods are increasing water shortages and causing widespread contamination and sanitation challenges. To avoid an outright global water catastrophe, local, national, and international leaders must urgently pursue a two-part strategy of reducing pollution to minimize further climate change and prepare vulnerable communities to deal with the changes in climate already in progress. Get document in pdf.
Water for the World
Solving the World’s Most Pressing Environmental Health Problem
Fact Sheet
For the nearly one billion people who don't have access to it, clean water is the world's most pressing problem. Lack of safe drinking water and sanitation is the single largest cause of illness in the world, contributing to the deaths of 2 million people a year, the majority of which are children. The solutions to this global public health crisis are well-known and cost-effective, yet more than 780 million people are without clean drinking water, and approximately 2.5 billion lack adequate sanitation.2 In 2005, recognizing the urgency of the crisis, the United States passed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, landmark legislation designed to address the need for global affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation. Get document in pdf.
Financing Stormwater Retrofits in Philadelphia and Beyond
Report
Philadelphia encourages property owners to install green infrastructure techniques with a flagship stormwater billing structure. This report -- a joint product of NRDC's Water Program and Center for Market Innovation -- uses Philadelphia as a test case to explore how cities can attract billions of dollars in private investment in stormwater retrofits, saving on public infrastructure costs while cleaning waterways and greening communities.
Re-Envisioning the Chicago River
Adopting Comprehensive Regional Solutions to the Invasive Species Crisis
Fact Sheet
In response to a public health emergency more than 100 years ago, engineers reversed the Chicago River and built the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to carry wastewater away from Lake Michigan, the city’s source of drinking water. The canal also provides a shipping link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, opening navigation not only to recreational boats and commercial barges, but also to invasive species, and it diverts massive amounts of water from Lake Michigan. The unfolding Asian carp crisis reveals more than just the challenges faced by local, state, and federal agencies in stopping invasive species from entering the Great Lakes. It also exposes critical infrastructure deficiencies in the region’s wastewater, stormwater, and transportation systems.
Get document in pdf.
Dosed Without Prescription
Preventing Pharmaceutical Contamination of Our Nation's Drinking Water
Fact Sheet
The presence of pharmaceuticals in our waterways and drinking water has gained national attention among lawmakers, regulators, and the public. Prescription drugs can enter water through manufacturing waste, human or animal excretion, runoff from animal feeding operations, leaching from municipal landfills, or improper disposal. With many questions still unanswered regarding the scope of the problem and its consequences for human health and the environment, NRDC conducted an extensive survey of the scientific data, legal analyses, and existing advocacy campaigns around this issue. Based on our findings, we offer several recommendations related to drug design, approval, production, use, and disposal to curb the flow of pharmaceuticals entering our water systems and lessen the impacts of the pollution they cause.
Get document in pdf.
Keep Our Beaches Clean
Prevent the Beachwater Pollution That Makes Swimmers Sick
Fact Sheet
Beach vacations are an annual summer event for many families. But beachgoers at polluted beaches around the country may bring back an unwanted souvenir from their trip: ear infections, stomach flu, skin rashes, and other illnesses that are caused by polluted beachwater. To help keep our beaches clean, NRDC supports improved beachwater testing to detect the pathogens that can cause health problems in swimmers. Bills now pending in Congress would provide funding for much-needed beach cleanup efforts and help ensure that the public is notified promptly when beaches are unsafe for swimming. These bills will help make sure that our beaches are safe for swimming every day.
Get document in pdf.
What’s Coming Out of the Tap?
How to Ensure That Your Family’s Drinking Water Is Safe
Fact Sheet
Despite the many sources of pollution that can affect drinking water, with a little research, proper testing, and treatment (if necessary) you can help to ensure that the water you and your family drink is safe. NRDC is joining with local communities to keep drinking water clean and to curb pollution long before it reaches your tap. Get document in pdf.
Saving Jamaica Bay
Fact Sheet
New York City's Jamaica Bay is plagued by an array of harms ranging from overdevelopment on its borders to water pollution to invasive plant and animal species. A unified effort on the part of government and residents is needed to restore this natural gem and to save one of the city's last wild places. Get document in pdf.
The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas
Protecting America’s Arctic
Fact Sheet
Aggressive government interest in leasing areas to the oil and gas industries in the zone referred to as the “Arctic Ring of Life”—home to millions of migratory birds, polar bears, beluga whales, endangered bowhead whales, and thousands-year-old Inupiat (Eskimo) culture—threatens the sustainability of this ecosystem and the livelihood of Alaska Native communities. Get document in pdf.
Florida’s Coastal and Ocean Future
A Blueprint for Economic and Environmental Leadership
Issue Paper
With tourism, fishing, and recreational sport bringing billions of dollars into Florida each year, the coast is Florida's economic engine. This issue paper provides a blueprint for how local leaders and decision makers can -- and must -- take action to protect Florida’s marine and coastal ecosystems.
Strip Mining for Oil in Endangered Forests
Fact Sheet
Big oil interests are scraping away hundreds of thousands of acres in North America’s Boreal forest to produce tar sands oil, and in the process consuming large amounts of natural gas and generating three times as much global warming pollution as conventional crude oil production. Greater efficiency and renewable fuels are far better, cleaner ways to meet our energy needs. Get document in pdf.
Lost and Found: Missing Mercury from Chemical Plants Pollutes Air and Water
Issue Paper
Mercury is an invisible, odorless poison that can pollute oceans and rivers, contaminate our food and seep into the air, potentially causing severe health problems when ingested by humans. A major source of this pollution is chlor-alkali chemical manufacturing plants. Not only do these plants release harmful mercury into the environment, but they also cannot account for tons of mercury "lost" each year, which likely ends up in the air we breathe.

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Recent Legislative Fact Sheets

The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act is a Step to Building our Clean Energy Future
Senator Markey's legislation to establish a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and standalone Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) would put in place key tools in the fight to address dangerous climate change. In order to meet our...
It's Time to Build an Economy that is Stronger, Cleaner, Healthier, and Made to Last
Clean energy and energy efficiency have provided a robust source for economic growth and innovation during difficult times and we should not reverse course. The impending budget sequester and expiring tax incentives will significantly reduce...
State Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rules and Enforcement: A Comparison
This analysis provides a comprehensive comparison of existing disclosure requirements for states with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations. It finds more than half of the states with hydraulic fracturing activity currently have no...

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