Most rivers aren't exactly the first place you think of when you're looking to take a dip in the great outdoors. And after reading this story, you may never jump into some of our rivers in Louisiana.

River pollution in America has been an issue for years, posing health risks for those communities relying on these rivers for drinking water.

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The folks at EcoCation explored the most polluted rivers in the United States in a recent article and delved into the reasons behind their contamination.

The EPA estimates that about 28% (or 80,000 miles) of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs are impaired due to pollution. Mercury and toxic chemicals pollute rivers in nearly every state.

Which is the most polluted river in the United States?

Topping the list is the Ohio River, which runs through six states. The biggest issue for this river is industrial pollution.

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Unfortunately, industries have left their mark on this river for decades. AK Steel Corporation, among others, played a prominent role in its pollution issue, raising mercury levels in fish to alarming heights.

Unfortunately, two Louisiana rivers are right behind on the list.

According to the list, the Calcasieu River is #2 on the most polluted rivers list.

From EcoCation:

Its waters, once pristine, now bear the heavy burden of industrial waste, chemical runoff, and oil and gas byproducts. This once-vibrant waterway, where anglers and boaters thrived, has become a grim repository for the remnants of chemical, plastic, and rubber production.


As a result, birds, fish, turtles, and alligators have struggled in this compromised habitat.

Additionally, those who depend on the Calcasieu River for drinking water could face severe health risks.

The Mississippi River follows

The mighty Mississippi River checks in as the third-most polluted river according to this list. It stretches across 10 states and bears the "burden of agricultural runoff, industrial discharges, and urban pollutants."

That runoff is laden with pesticides and fertilizers from America's heartland.

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Factories and cities also contribute their fair share to the issues held in the Mississippi River. As heavy metals and toxic chemicals are dumped, the river's health is in jeopardy.

The rest of the list

The EcoCation article ranks The 15 Most Polluted Rivers in the US and you can view the rest of the rivers here.

The article explains seven major causes of river pollution along with potential solutions to the long-term problem.

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