Biggest Water Contamination Disasters in History


A British poet once said, “Thousands have lived without love, not without water.” Yet while we know that water sustains life, it has been a source of suffering to many. Some people even end up seeking legal services to get compensation for the tribulations they have gone through following water contamination. For instance, this website helps people who suffered from the Camp Lejuene Water Contamination, which occurred between the 1950s and 1980s. But camp Lejuene is not an isolated case. Here are other water contamination disasters that have happened in world history.

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill – 1989

The Exxon Valdez oil spill took place on March 24, 1989. An oil tanker owned by Exxon Shipping Company carried 1.26 million barrels of crude oil at its collision. It spilled about 257,000 barrels — equivalent to a fifth of the cargo. This spillage covered 1,300 miles of the coastline, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of seals, seabirds, and whales died.

Investigations revealed that the ship’s captain had been drinking and had allowed an unlicensed third mate to steer the ship. The following year, the captain, Joseph Hazelwood, was convicted of a single charge of misdemeanor negligence. He was fined $50,000 and ordered 1,000 hours of community service.

Three decades later, some locations still have pockets of crude oil. That is even after Exxon incurred about $2 billion in clean-up costs and $1.8 billion for habitat restoration and personal damages.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – 2010

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was the most significant water disaster in history for the longest time. That was until 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded, killing 11 people. Two days later, the rig sank and damaged the pipe below it, causing a spill. The spillage lasted 87 days, releasing about 4 million barrels of oil into the ocean. The pipe was capped on July 15, 2010.

It is believed that the cause of the Deepwater Horizon disaster was a series of preventable missteps by engineers and workers during the design and execution stages. These errors were later described in detail in a report to the president, which was released in 2011 by the National Commission.

In the weeks following the disaster, environmental first responders and scientists did everything in their power to mitigate the harm to the environment. Besides harming the environment, the spillage also hurt the economy tremendously, especially on the Gulf Coast.

The Flint Water Crisis

The Flint Water Crisis is a case of environmental injustice and poor decision-making that started in 2014. It all began when the city of Flint, Michigan, switched its drinking water supply from the Detroit River and Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money. Unfortunately, the water in the Flint River contained high levels of contaminants such as lead. There were numerous complaints that the foul-smelling and discolored water was causing skin rashes and irritation.

However, these complaints were repeatedly overlooked. Later studies also showed that water increased incidences of elevated blood lead levels in children. It comes as no surprise since the Flint River was, for the longest time, an unofficial waste disposal site for treated and untreated waste from several local industries. The city’s waste treatment plant is also used to channel raw sewage into this river.

Yamuna India

The River Yamuna India story is similar to that of Flint River. The river is contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals like copper, zinc, and lead. This high pollution level has led to the death of marine life and many health conditions for human beings.

Water Quality Regulations

The law plays a vital role in preventing and controlling water contamination. It’s illegal to discharge pollutants from a point source into navigable waters unless the company has a permit. If you face any water contamination issues, it is important to seek compensation through the help of an expert.

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