Infographic: What is Polluting America's Waters?

Did you know more than half of the country’s lakes and rivers are not meeting the Environmental Protection Agencywater quality standards?

A major goal of the U.S. Clean Water Act is maintaining “designated uses” for rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways. Uses include fishing, swimming, boating, irrigation, drinking water, and wildlife habitat. Every two years, states must submit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a list of impaired water bodies that are not meeting quality standards for their designated uses.


This infographic shows the leading impairment in lakes and rivers. The data was compiled from the EPA. An interesting, yet frightening problem? The leading impairment by acres in lakes and reservoirs is mercury, a neurotoxin that harms our brain and nervous system.

Most mercury pollution is produced by coal-fired power plants and other industrial processes. The most common way we are exposed to mercury is by eating contaminated fish.

Sachin Shah