Technical Report

 

A sanitary survey of the Willamette River from Sellwood Bridge to the Columbia River Public Deposited

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  • Bulletin series no. 6
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  • The people of Oregon have become increasingly aware of the constant devaluation of the public waters by unrestricted stream pollution. All of the many uses of natural water have been affected to some degree by the utilization of these same waters as carriers of domestic and industrial wastes. The streams of the state are a definite asset although their value is intangible, especially where the use for recreational purposes is con­sidered. The value of the commercial utilization of natural waters for domestic and industrial water supplies, fish propagation, navigation, power production, and irrigation can be estimated with a reasonable degree of certainty; this estimate, however, is difficult to project into the future. The enforcement of prohibitory legislation has never provided a solu­tion to the many problems of stream pollution; neither has it provided a means of preserving the heritage of the purity of natural waters. The technical, economic, and legal aspects of the problem have been too com­plex to be solved by simple preventive acts and the enforcement of these acts has been difficult and expensive. Accordingly, in Oregon and else­where, a logical method of attack upon the problems of stream pollution has been through cooperative studies that have had as an objective the reduction of the pollution load to a minimum. Such reduction, when kept within the bounds of economic feasibility, ultimately must effect stream improvement and promote the nearest approach to general satisfaction among all water users. In accordance with the foregoing concepts, it is hoped that the informa­tion which follows will play a part in stimulating a general program of improvement of the Willamette River, and that the statements contained in this bulletin will not be construed as other than an attempt to present a picture of conditions as they exist. The data are matters of fact, but the responsibility of the interpretation rests with the author; consequently, only those interpretations for which unquestionable data are available are justified. This reservation will result in the presentation of uninter­preted data, but they are included for their value as guides to some future, more complete, and comprehensive survey.
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