Waterkeeper News: A look back at the past year

By Art Norris
Quad Cities Waterkeeper

I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Note our new logo of an oil-soaked pelican, with a tear and migrating birds. Migrating birds and birds already in the Gulf are still suffering. I can only hope the BP oil disaster is never forgotten and that we all learn from it.

I also wanted to tell you a little about the Quad Cities Waterkeeper (QCWK) program, and just some of its great accomplishments this last year. After very much thought, and putting this into a timeline, I am proud to show you the results of just a few concerned citizens and your local QCWK program.

Efforts by QCWK and its members saved thousands upon thousands of gallons of pollution from going into our local rivers. QCWK and its members resolved many pollution issues, six major cases just this last year.

Environment Illinois had a report done that stated Illinois has four of the most polluted rivers in the nation. This is a must-read to see how serious this is to our local rivers.

The Environment Illinois report documents and analyzes the amount of toxic pollutants discharged into America’s waters by compiling data about toxic chemical releases reported to the U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2007, the most recent data available.

More than 230 million pounds of toxic pollutants discharged into American waterways

CHICAGO—Industrial facilities dumped 8.8 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Illinois’ waterways, according to a report released by Environment Illinois: Wasting Our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act. The report finds that toxic chemicals were discharged in 1,900 waterways across all 50 states.

The QCWK is also a member of Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water (ICCAW).

After a two-and-a-half-year investigation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region 5 has found the State of Illinois in serious noncompliance with the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

The investigation was spurred by a petition filed by ICCAW and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP)

The letter to Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott, former Rockford mayor, gives the Illinois EPA 30 days to respond to USEPA with a description of the actions that will be taken to bring its program into compliance.

Read more at http://rockrivertimes.com/2010/10/06/waterkeeper-news-usepa-finds-iepa-in-serious-noncompliance/.

Photos of a press conference in front of Chicago’s Union Stock Yard are at http://picasaweb.google.com/quadcitieswaterkeeper/20101117DoubleDMakingChange#.

QCWK’s threat of litigation

QCWK’s threat of litigation prompted Paradise Manor to take steps to improve the function of its wastewater treatment system. In this settlement, Paradise Manor agreed to make mitigation payments in lieu of civil penalties; funding will be provided to River Action, Quad Cities Natural Area Guardians and the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels to support their efforts to improve water quality and protect natural habitat in the Rock River basin.

Read http://rockrivertimes.com/2010/12/15/waterkeeper-news-quad-cities-waterkeeper-settles-clean-water-enforcement-case-against-milan-polluter/.

Trim-Rite proposed a hog slaughterhouse on the Kishwaukee River

Trim-Rite wanted to slaughter 50,000 hogs a year on the Kishwaukee River, a tributary of the Rock River. QCWK Art Norris and The Rock River Times Editor & Publisher Frank Schier, QCWK vice president, negotiated with Trim-Rite and showed Trim-Rite the current environmental problems the Rock River was having at present. We offered many reasons why Trim-Rite should not locate on this river or any river. Trim-Rite moved on, and as far as I know is not locating near a river. Good for our rivers, and good for Trim-Rite.

QCWK filed two complaints with the Iowa Department of Natural Recourses, as well as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

QCWK photographed and filed two complaints against an Iowa hog farmer for attempting to discharge into Hickory Creek, a tributary of the Wapsipinicon River, which is a tributary of the Mississippi.

Read http://rockrivertimes.com/2010/09/01/waterkeeper-waterkeeper-catches-factory-farm-polluter/.

QCWK has recently acquired a new boat built locally from Oquawka Boat

Read http://picasaweb.google.com/quadcitieswaterkeeper/QuadCitiesWaterkeeperNewBoatBeingBuiltByOquawkaBoat#.

QCWK’s long-awaited boat comes home

Read http://picasaweb.google.com/quadcitieswaterkeeper/20101112QuadCitiesBoatArrivesInPortByronAtQCWOffice#.

Fund-raising for outboard motor

Read http://rockrivertimes.com/2010/12/01/waterkeeper-news-reduce-your-taxes-and-help-buy-a-clean-motor/.

QCWK brought together a great board of eight very talented people

Read: http://quadcitieswaterkeeperuppermississippi.org/about_us.html

QCWK a 501(c)(3)

QCWK program has also become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so we can now offer a nice tax deduction for any gift of more than $50.

Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code allows taxpayers to deduct from
their taxable income the value of contributions made to charitable organizations, such as 501(c)(3) organizations. A person’s taxable income is reduced by the amount of money contributed to a 501(c)(3) with a corresponding reduction in the amount of tax paid (though the reduction in tax paid is not a dollar-for-dollar reduction). Making charitable gifts can be particularly advantageous when a taxpayer’s contributions can move him or her into a lower tax bracket.

You can see by these enforcement actions that the QCWK does good work. Help us help you, and help us to get out on the water to protect our watersheds by providing for the purchase of a nonpolluting motor for our new patrol boat. Please send a tax-deductible contribution to:

Quad Cities Waterkeeper
101 Main St., P.O. Box 67
Port Byron, IL 61275
(309) 721-1800

Please join your Quad Cities Waterkeeper in stopping any more damage from occurring to our rivers. Go to the QCWK website and join up. Together, we can improve many qualities of our tomorrows.

Please e-mail the Waterkeeper or visit our website: quadcitieswaterkeeper@gmail.com and quadcitieswaterkeeperuppermississippi.org/.

From the Dec. 22-28, 2010 issue

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