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Where does human waste mingle with household chemicals, personal hygiene products, pharmaceuticals, and everything else that goes down the drains in American homes and businesses? In sewers. And what can you get when rain, pesticides, fertilizers, automotive chemicals, and trash run off the streets and down the gutters into those very same sewers? Sewage backing up into people's basements. Sewage spilling onto streets and parks. Sewage pouring into rivers and streams. Each year, more than 860 billion gallons of this vile brew escapes sewer systems across the country. That's enough to flood all of Pennsylvania ankle-deep. It's enough for every American to take one bath each week for an entire year.

After bursting out of a pipe or manhole cover, this foul slurry pollutes the nearest body of water. Downstream, some of it may be pumped out, treated, and piped into more homes and businesses. From there, it goes back into a sewer system, and the cycle resumes. This is the situation along the Susquehanna River - which annual ranks in the top 15 of America's Most Endangered Rivers list. One hundred and twenty three major sewer systems in the Susquehanna River watershed link toilets and faucets from New York to Maryland. Where the Susquehanna widens and becomes the Chesapeake Bay, vanishing sea grasses and dwindling seafood harvests provide evidence of poor sewage treatment and frequent sewage spills upstream.

A Threat to Human Health.

Invisible Toxic Water

Rollover the image to see what is on the other side of the river.


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