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Pollution Dilution Not A Solution

Pollution mixing zones are streams or bodies of water where polluters (industrial, municipal or individual) can legally obtain a permit to dump bio-accumulative chemicals, sewage, mining waste water at high concentrations based on the mistaken old rule that “dilution is the solution to pollution.” Toxins dumped into mixing zones can include mercury, BCBs, chlordane, BCD, dioxins, mirex, etc. as defined under Section 307 of the Clean Water Act. These substances can accumulate and persist on the bottom of these water bodies and make their way into the food chain. Toxic chemicals can interfere with human (and animal) reproduction and development, immune responsiveness and neurological functions.

Mixing zones have become common in Montana. While technically legal, they circumvent the enforcement of water quality standards. Mixing zones are not a solution, let alone a justifiable public policy -- toxic pollution should be cleaned up before its outflow and not allowed into streams at all. Diluting toxic substances is an unacceptable substitute for treatment and removal and must be prohibited. To this end Montana River Action is committed. ~

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