Illegal pollution seriously threatens fish in the Columbia River, and people who eat them. Toxic pollution goes into the Columbia from sewage treatment plants, factories, and polluted stormwater runoff from industrial sites and urban areas. Many polluters don’t have a legally-required water quality permit. And polluters who do have permits often ignore the limits.
Government agencies sometimes ignore illegal water pollution, but Riverkeeper does not. When polluters violate the law, Riverkeeper’s legal team brings them to justice. We check to see whether facilities are discharging more pollution than their permits allow. We also patrol the Columbia by boat, looking for illegal pollution and spills.
Our legal team has stopped 50 different facilities from illegally discharging pollution into the Columbia in recent years. Riverkeeper’s Clean Water Act citizen suits have kept over 550,000 pounds of toxic heavy metals out of the Columbia. Riverkeeper also works with facilities to design and implement cutting-edge pollution control technologies.