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EPA Official to Help Dedicate New Treatment Plant

Release Date: 10/17/1997
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 announced today that Sam Coleman, Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division Director, will speak at the dedication of a new wastewater treatment plant in Texas City Saturday.

"This plant will greatly benefit the public health of Texas City residents. Its completion is an example of Mayor Charles Doyle's strong leadership and commitment to the people and to the environment. It is fitting that we are dedicating it on the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act." Mr. Coleman said.

When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, America's waters were in trouble. Unregulated pollution from municipal wastewater and industries had turned some rivers into toxic cesspools. Only a third of our country's waters were safe for swimming and fishing. Sewage treatment plants such as the one being dedicated Saturday served only 85 million people. We were losing about 300,000 acres a year of our wetlands. The commercial fishing industry is dependent upon plentiful and healthy wetlands.

Today industrial pollution has been reduced by billions of pounds per year. Two-thirds of the nation's waters are safe for swimming and fishing and modern wastewater treatment plants serve 173 million people. Wetlands loss has decreased to less than 100,000 acres per year.

Obviously, there is still much work to be done to protect our nation's water. EPA is working with state and local governments and private industry to reduce pollution from runoff, particularly agricultural runoff. EPA's programs continue to reduce toxic pollution to prevent human exposure through drinking water, by consuming contaminated fish and shellfish, or through recreational activities.

Using EPA's data and assessments, state and local governments can better understand the diverse and cumulative water quality problems of an entire watershed. Having the "big picture" helps communities develop more practical and effective solutions to local water quality problems. The Agency is working to reduce and remove long-lasting toxic pollutants such as mercury, dioxins and PCBs from our nation's waters, and is continuing its partnership with local governments to restore unhealthy waters.

"More than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is water. Only 3 percent of that is fresh water. It is imperative that we safeguard and restore this vital resource in order to protect the public health and to ensure that future generations have clean healthful water for recreation and food production. This plant will be a major contributor to area water quality," Mr. Coleman said.