The Mississippi River is ranked on American Rivers’ list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers.
The Mississippi River drains 2,350 square miles in all or parts of 31 states, which contributes to its pollution problem.
The Mississippi River Basin is home to 1.5 million people, and over 350 industrial and municipal facilities are located adjacent to the River within the state of Louisiana. Approximately 175 of these facilities discharge wastewater into the river under the authority of state/federal permits, and of these approximately 120 facilities are located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Noncompliance with wastewater discharge permits by a large number of facilities along the River is widespread and through our role as Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, LEAN is addressing the issue by monitoring permit applications, compliance orders, and penalty notices. In addition to the industrial pollution when the Mississippi River flows into Louisiana it already contains a variety of chemicals including the herbicide Atrazine, which originates in stormwater runoff from agricultural fields in mid-western states and presents a potential health hazard. This places a particular burden on the communities from Ascension Parish to the mouth of the Mississippi River that use surface water as their only source of drinking water.