Clean Water

Willamette Riverkeeper (WR) utilizes the Clean Water Act to help ensure that the Willamette River’s water quality is the best it can be. WR also uses science, restoration and policy work to improve water quality in our communities along the Willamette and its tributaries. Pesticides, emerging contaminants such as flame retardants,  legacy pollutants such as PCBs, and many others are a very real concerns today. 

WR works with community stakeholders to respond to issues as they are detected, with our River Guardians in certain stretches of the river to investigate potential water quality violations under the Clean Water Act. We also evaluate new permit applications, and applications to renew wastewater discharge permits from industrial and stormwater sources up and down the river.

Over the years our work in his area has resulted in multiple settlements with permit holders that have significantly reduced the level of pollution entering the Willamette and its tributaries, from sources such as industrial storage lots and pulp mills to saw mills, and parking lots.

From time to time WR conducts its own monitoring, screening for toxics or evaluating basic water quality parameters such as temperature and bacteria. 

Major Issues Emerge in 2017

In what has become a very problematic environment for water quality, the current administration recently gave the go ahead to begin the process to eliminate or modify the "Waters of the US" rulemaking process established in the previous administration. That rule was put in place to protect water quality in a range of water bodies across the United States,  providing an additional level of protection from development and pollution.

That process resulted in rules that would help protect certain ephemeral waters, such as seasonal streams. You can read the notice to "Review, Rescind or Revise here

Willamette Riverkeeper believes that this process will provide significant opportunities for harm to a range of waterways potentially in the Willamette Valley, and far beyond. Stay tuned for more information on this.