March 22 is World Water Day, a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater, and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. On this World Water Day, I can’t help but think of the citizens across Washington and Idaho who eat more than 12 fish meals per year; the number the states use to help determine water quality standards.
I’m especially thinking of those who have been doing so since 1994, which is when Washington and Idaho and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were made aware through a published survey by the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission that people throughout the Pacific Northwest were consuming much more fish than 12 meals per year. The CRITFC study should have been the impetus for the states and EPA to update their water quality standards in order to protect those being exposed to harmful contaminants such as PCBs.
Yet here we are on World Water Day 2013, nearly 20 years and many studies later down the road, and people who eat fish or would like to eat more fish in Washington and Idaho are not being properly protected. Washington, Idaho and the EPA should do better for us.