DEQ releases first toxics summary for the Umpqua River Basin
(Don’t worry. You can still safely go fishing….)
The Umpqua Basin Toxics Summary is the first comprehensive report about toxics sampling across waters leading into the Umpqua River, as well as the river itself. The agency collected 45 water samples at 15 locations; 14 sediment samples at 14 locations; and six fish tissue samples at two locations. DEQ scientists tested the samples, collected in 2015, for 484 toxics. Overall, 96% of the compounds included in the analysis were detected at levels safe for aquatic life, wildlife and human health.
It is safe to fish, boat and otherwise recreate in the Umpqua River Basin, according to the findings in the report. Toxics in the sample group include current-use pesticides, legacy pesticides, flame retardants, combustion byproducts, metals and industrial chemicals.
The study offered a snapshot of toxics in the Umpqua River Basin and, going forward, DEQ will collect trend data. Staff selected four monitoring sites that will become part of the Water Quality Toxics Monitoring program’s trend network. The sites are Calapooya Creek at Umpqua, Deer Creek at Fowler Bridge, the South Umpqua above the river’s mouth and the Umpqua River 21 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. DEQ will collect samples at the four locations three times per year.
This report is the latest to come from DEQ’s Water Quality Toxics Monitoring Program. Its goals are to gather information on chemicals of concern, identify potential sources, make the information available to the public, and work with internal and external partners to reduce pollutant concentrations.