Water

Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Fri April 2, 2010

Milestone Toward Elwha Dam Removal

The National Park Service, community leaders, and a Northwest Washington Indian tribe marked a major milestone Friday toward removing two dams on the Elwha River. They're on the north Olympic Peninsula.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Wed March 31, 2010

Ocean Shippers Face Tighter Air Pollution Rules

Air pollution from oceangoing ships will be dramatically reduced under new rules agreed to by shipping companies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and international regulators. The pollution rules affect container ships, cruise lines and oil tankers calling on West Coast ports.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Fri March 5, 2010

Regional Landfill To Convert Garbage To Mileage

Starting next year, some of the trash you toss out may end up in gas tanks instead of buried at a large regional landfill in eastern Oregon. 

This project is a joint venture between landfill operator Waste Management Inc. and a small engineering company based in Bend called InEnTec. The partners announced they'll build their first waste-to-energy plant at the big landfill near Arlington, Oregon. The planned facility will vaporize trash in a very high temperature melter. Spokeswoman Jackie Lang says the resulting superheated gases can then be recombined to make synthetic fuel.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Wed March 3, 2010

Yakima Water Shortages Likely

Photo taken by the Department of Ecology for Washington State

The lack of snow pack this winter in the Northwest could spell problems for irrigators. That is especially true in areas that have had long term problems with water supply, like the Yakima basin.

The Yakima basin is an agricultural region that has dealt with water shortages for many years. The U.S. bureau of Reclamation serves several irrigation districts in the region, but while much of the water comes from the Yakima River, Reclamation spokeswoman Wendy Christiansen says a good portion is dependent on mountain snow pack.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Thu February 25, 2010

Feds And Washington State Launch Contaminated Ground Water Investigation

RICHLAND, Wash. – The water system is sick in a huge swath of Eastern Washington -- from Union Gap near Yakima to Benton City near the Tri-Cities. State and federal officials announced Thursday that much of the ground water in the lower valley is dangerous to drink. Correspondent Anna King reports. 

The Yakima Valley is like a multi layered cake punched with a network of drinking straws. There are irrigation drainage pipes, farm canals, deep wells, really old shallow wells, aquifers and rivers all coming. Somehow lots of nitrates and bacteria are getting into the ground water.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Mon November 16, 2009

Oregon’s Bridges Vulnerable to Quake Damage

SALEM, Ore. - Many of Oregon's major transportation corridors would be impassable if a major earthquake hit. That's the upshot of a study released today by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

ODOT engineers used a new computer simulation program to subject Oregon bridges to hypothetical major earthquakes. The result? Many bridges along the state's biggest highways would be out of commission for months, if not longer, if a huge quake hit. That includes Interstate 5, according to ODOT's Dave Thompson:

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Fri November 13, 2009

Tsunami Warning Siren Hodgepodge in Oregon To Be Standardized

Oregon is pushing its coastal counties to standardize the sound of tsunami warning sirens. Washington state has already done so. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Oregon's Emergency Management Office uses the words “mish mash” to describe the current array of tsunami warning sounds. Seaside, Oregon for example has used a steady siren wail during evacuation drills.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Thu November 12, 2009

Irrigators fed up with state over increased water rights

Columbia and Snake River irrigators have run out of patience with the state of Washington's slow work to increase irrigated acreage that was agreed to in 2006, according to Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association leaders.

If the state will not support efforts to allow irrigators to use some of the water freed up by conservation efforts, irrigators will no longer be willing to support the state's other conservation projects, said Darryll Olsen, a consultant to the irrigators association, during a meeting with the Herald editorial board.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Wed November 11, 2009

Brown Pelican Removed From Federal Endangered List

photo by Ray Bosch, U.S. F&WS

The federal government today removed brown pelicans from the endangered species list. Nowadays, the migratory seabird is a common sight along the Oregon and Washington coasts between June and October. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the pelican was declared endangered in the early 1970's.

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Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Wed November 11, 2009

EPA study finds toxic chemicals in fish tissue in all 50 states

HELENA — A new federal Environmental Protection Agency study shows concentrations of toxic chemicals in fish tissue from lakes and reservoirs in nearly all 50 states, though those levels aren't considered dangerous in the Montana lakes tested.

According to the agency, the study marks the first time the EPA has been able to estimate the percentage of lakes and reservoirs nationwide that have fish containing potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

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