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chaos
March 3rd, 2011, 09:08 PM
Lots of talk these days about stripping the budget of the EPA... some would even nix the agency altogether.

Since swimming in polluted water is certainly a safety issue, I think this is a topic that should transcend politics (but what do I know?)

Should USMS add a statement of support for a healthy aquatic world to the mission?

As one who spends a hell of a lot of time in bodies of water that were much more compromised two decades ago than they are today, its easy to guess where I stand. Much progress has been made toward restoring the health of our waterways, but there is a long way to go.

TheCaveman
March 3rd, 2011, 09:27 PM
There's an open water meet in southern Missouri called Swimmin' in Moonshine (it's the Ozarks). The meet benefits the James River Basin Partnership and pulls together a lot of community activism. This is a great promotion of mutually beneficial interests. Interest in swimming and awareness of the issue are simultaneously raised.

What's the downside for coming out in support of clean water? Will the dirty water coalition publicly ridicule us?

TRYM_Swimmer
March 3rd, 2011, 09:40 PM
Definitely keep up the push for clean water. Starting to love those OWs!

Chris Stevenson
March 4th, 2011, 09:29 AM
I didn't vote in the poll because it is a mixed thing: I believe that USMS should publicly support/applaud efforts to make water safer for swimming, but I don't think they necessarily need to explicitly support the EPA or Clean Water Act to do so.

(I say this as someone who believes that EPA is grossly underfunded already given the scope of its responsibilities.)

But USMS supporting the CWA -- instead of "clean/healthy water" -- is too overtly political in my opinion. Clear water certainly seems within the purview of USMS given its recent push of OW swimming, especially since the elderly can be more susceptible to the effects of poor water quality.

__steve__
March 4th, 2011, 10:26 AM
publicly support/applaud efforts to make water safer for swimming
If this was a poll option it would be my vote.

I feel direct involvement, although in it's interests, is not part of it's mission and may be counterproductive for both.

chaos
March 4th, 2011, 05:01 PM
I didn't vote in the poll because it is a mixed thing: I believe that USMS should publicly support/applaud efforts to make water safer for swimming, but I don't think they necessarily need to explicitly support the EPA or Clean Water Act to do so.

(I say this as someone who believes that EPA is grossly underfunded already given the scope of its responsibilities.)

But USMS supporting the CWA -- instead of "clean/healthy water" -- is too overtly political in my opinion. Clear water certainly seems within the purview of USMS given its recent push of OW swimming, especially since the elderly can be more susceptible to the effects of poor water quality.

chris, i can always count on you for a well measured response. i personally am not sure the EPA could be any more effective even were they given unlimited funding. There are just too many exemptions granted to big polluters. (oil and gas).

I belong to a swimming club that has a membership of +/- 800. The club was formed as a requirement (through negotiations with NYS) to gain swimming access to one of our beautiful lakes. I have proposed that we become a USMS club in the past, but really couldn't (and still can't) find any real points to justify what will amount to a larger annual fee than what is now required. I do think the environmental angle would carry some weight as many in the group are active members of Riverkeeper, Clearwater, Scenic Hudson, etc.

quicksilver
March 4th, 2011, 09:39 PM
Since swimming in polluted water is certainly a safety issue, I think this is a topic that should transcend politics (but what do I know?)



Why not? Aside from advocating clean water acts, The Surfrider Foundation organizes community clean-ups wherever and whenever possible.

The more people to assist in ensuring clean water and beaches, the better!


http://www.surfrider.org/whatwedo2a.asp

kfuss
March 5th, 2011, 03:32 PM
This thread is quite interesting to me, since I coordinate a regional stormwater education consortium - we help to educate local communities on stormwater issues and solutions. Regardless of who (federal, state, local agencies or nonprofits) you want to improve our water quality, USMS needs clean water to swim! Polluted runoff is the #1 source of degraded water quality in most U.S. waterways. Once rain or melting snow hits the ground, it picks up pollutants (oil, fertilizers, pesticides, fecal matter, litter, etc.) as it travels- this is called stormwater runoff. Polluted runoff traveling to our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans is generally not treated/sanitized (like our drinking water). Efforts to reduce the negative effects of polluted runoff can begin with swimmers like us, e.g. learn about local issues in your waterways and educate others; participate in beach/river/lake clean-ups; sponsor local events that promote good water quality such as a stream restoration, marking "NO DUMPING LEADS TO WATERWAY" on storm drains, and/or raising funds for purchasing litter traps before trash and debris makes its way to the water. Whether or not through the Clean Water Act, USMS should take a stand for clean water!

joel schmaltz
March 5th, 2011, 04:55 PM
This thread is quite interesting to me, since I coordinate a regional stormwater education consortium - we help to educate local communities on stormwater issues and solutions. Regardless of who (federal, state, local agencies or nonprofits) you want to improve our water quality, USMS needs clean water to swim! Polluted runoff is the #1 source of degraded water quality in most U.S. waterways. Once rain or melting snow hits the ground, it picks up pollutants (oil, fertilizers, pesticides, fecal matter, litter, etc.) as it travels- this is called stormwater runoff. Polluted runoff traveling to our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans is generally not treated/sanitized (like our drinking water). Efforts to reduce the negative effects of polluted runoff can begin with swimmers like us, e.g. learn about local issues in your waterways and educate others; participate in beach/river/lake clean-ups; sponsor local events that promote good water quality such as a stream restoration, marking "NO DUMPING LEADS TO WATERWAY" on storm drains, and/or raising funds for purchasing litter traps before trash and debris makes its way to the water. Whether or not through the Clean Water Act, USMS should take a stand for clean water!
I wondered how long it would take for you to jump on this one.

stillwater
March 5th, 2011, 06:36 PM
My understanding is that it takes two days for the test results to determine if the water is polluted. (And they test a pretty limited amount of dangerous stuff.)

This means that a serious lag period exists. We all know about not swimming for 72 hours after a rain. The spills you don't know about can really make you sick.

Should there be manditory water testing the day of the event, with the results posted 48 hours later?

Should an event be held 71 hours after a rain?

Should the event organizers be liable for running an event within that 72 hour period?

I have swam in many events where the water should have been closed to swimming. I have been ill soon after a few of those swims.

Some sort of standards is what I'm looking for, and I don't have a solution. I think that USMS could help.

chaos
March 5th, 2011, 10:29 PM
My understanding is that it takes two days for the test results to determine if the water is polluted. (And they test a pretty limited amount of dangerous stuff.)

This means that a serious lag period exists. We all know about not swimming for 72 hours after a rain. The spills you don't know about can really make you sick.

Should there be manditory water testing the day of the event, with the results posted 48 hours later?

Should an event be held 71 hours after a rain?

Should the event organizers be liable for running an event within that 72 hour period?

I have swam in many events where the water should have been closed to swimming. I have been ill soon after a few of those swims.

Some sort of standards is what I'm looking for, and I don't have a solution. I think that USMS could help.

i say no, the organizers should not be liable. there are precautions swimmers could and should take if they think there is a possibility that they might be swimming in water that is compromised. water testing is beyond the expertise of event organizers. they can only rely on information received from govt or environmental orgs.

stillwater
March 5th, 2011, 11:37 PM
i say no, the organizers should not be liable.

I say yes.

Even with a business that is running a private profitable event?

How about if the for profit event violates government standards?

How about a government run event?

I couldn't imagine a marathon being staged when the organizers knew that the runners would be exposed to toxic compounds.

chaos
March 5th, 2011, 11:45 PM
I say yes.

Even with a business that is running a private profitable event?

How about if the for profit event violates government standards?

How about a government run event?

I couldn't imagine a marathon being staged when the organizers knew that the runners would be exposed to toxic compounds.

has there never been a marathon held during an ozone alert? smog? etc?

as per the last sentence of my last post: "they can only rely on information received from govt or environmental orgs."

what race director do you imagine would have the resources to do comprehensive labs before an event?

stillwater
March 6th, 2011, 11:10 AM
what race director do you imagine would have the resources to do comprehensive labs before an event?

Water testing isn't difficult. The Surfrider Foundation will help anyone. It is not a comprehensive lab.

In San Diego, the County Department of Health is quite pro-active. I have asked them to test and they have done it for free. If the county wishes to charge, the for-profit event should absorb the fee. It should be part of the permit process.

The problem is that agencies (state and local), and event organizers don't want to know the results. I understand the concern. It is money.

chaos
March 6th, 2011, 01:40 PM
The problem is that agencies (state and local), and event organizers don't want to know the results. I understand the concern. It is money.

i think this issue is less about the cost of testing the water, but rather the possible liability event directors might be exposed to.

if said event directors were somehow required to certify water quality for the duration of an event, who would take on that responsibility?

i've signed all kinds of wavers that cover possible exposure to everything from brain eating amoeba to sharks to flotsam and jetsam to ........

all risk of exposure cannot possibly be avoided in OW.

stillwater
March 6th, 2011, 07:29 PM
I don't think I would ever sign one for brain eating sharks.

Liability is the issue, not swimmer safety. I have been at an event that was canceled due to big surf. I was sad as I like (scared) big surf. But I understood.

USMS should lead the way for this aspect of swimmer safety. As I said, I don't have the answer. Just food for thought.

Don't drink the water.

srcoyote
March 9th, 2011, 04:43 PM
In addition to other open water swims, I swim in the Great Ohio River Swim in Cincinnati annually. In addition to being a fun event, I do so to do my part in improving the image of the Ohio River as a spot for recreation. I think too many area residents have dismissed it as a cess pool for so long, they don't take interest in issues that affect the water quality of the river. Truthfully, it's not pretty especially near the shore, and 3 years ago, the event was postponed when heavy rains raised the fecal count in the water.

As open water swimming grows in popularity with more and more USMS sanctioned events, I find it natural that USMS would take a stand for clean water.