EUGENE, Ore. — Members of the Long Tom Watershed Council say they chose to study Amazon Creek because it’s unique.
“We decided to start monitoring and become more active in water quality with Amazon Creek because we recognize the impacts that Amazon has on a lot of the Long Tom Watershed Council’s work down stream,” said Jason Schmidt, Amazon Creek Initiative Manager.
Schmidt says because the creek runs through parts of the city of Eugene they wanted to research the impact of urbanization on the natural water way.
The 26 chemicals, mostly DEET and herbicides found in Amazon Creek aren’t a surprise to the LTWC.
But the real question is, how harmful are those chemicals?
“What we found in the creek and the levels of toxicity in the creek are below the standards that have been set by the EPA. But what is unknown and what we’re interested to learn more about is is that actual mix of chemicals there’s not a lot of studies about how these chemicals interact,” said Schmidt.
But that doesn’t mean you should necessarily swim in it.
Schmidt says the Environmental Protection Agency categorizes the creek as “impaired for recreational use.”
And the source of those chemicals is urbanization.
“There’s urban runoff coming off of our landscapes off of the parking lots and landscapes within parking lots they’ll enter storm drains and then arrive here at Amazon Creek,” said Schmidt.
Residents who live near the water say it’s important to restore the creek.
“To me it’s a part of preserving the value of the neighborhood it’s part of why I like to live here. I don’t want to see it degraded,” said David Saul, Eugene resident.