All News Releases By Date
NTC 1996 NATIONAL WATER QUALITY INVENTORY
Release Date: 05/22/98
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MAY 22, 1998
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its “l996 National Water
Quality Inventory,” a biennial survey of the nation’s water quality that shows 40 percent
of the nation’s surveyed waters remain too polluted for uses such as fishing, swimming
and other recreational activities.
The l996 report is the result of surveys conducted by states in l994 and l995 of 19 percent of the nation’s river miles, 40 percent of lake acres and 72 percent of square miles in estuaries (see attached fact sheets). Runoff from agricultural lands is the biggest source of pollution in surveyed rivers and lakes. Siltation caused by runoff, followed by nutrients, are the most widespread pollutants affecting surveyed rivers. Nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates are the leading pollutants affecting lakes and estuaries. Nutrient over-enrichment can create algae blooms, cause fish kills and foul odors, and contribute to aquatic weed growth.
Copies of a 12-page summary entitled “National Water Quality Inventory: 1996 Report to Congress” (EPA 841-F-97-003) are available from the National Center for Environmental Publications and Information (NCEPI) at 1-800-490-9198. A 197-page detailed summary entitled “The Quality of Our Nation’s Water: 1996" (EPA 841-S-97-001) and the 588-page Report to Congress (EPA 841-R-97-008) will be available within four to six weeks from NCEPI. These documents are also available on EPA’s Office of Water 305(b) website at: www.epa.gov/305b/.