Oregon Public Broadcasting

A new public opinion poll finds that water quality ranks as Northwesterners' top environmental concern.

DHM Research asked 1,200 residents in Washington, Idaho and Oregon about their environmental concerns. Sixty percent said they worried about drinking water, and 54 percent said they were concerned about local lakes, rivers and streams. That result tracks with previous polls. People said they were happy, overall, with the water that comes out of their tap.

DHM Research's John Horvick says most survey respondents thought that water quality has not improved since the implementation of the Clean Water Act 40 years ago. He says that finding surprised him.

"Because people do value their water so highly, I would have guessed that they would have said things had improved more over time," he said.

Horvick says respondents also thought stormwater runoff is the greatest source of water pollution. The survey's margin of error is 2.8 percent.

Find more on this and other environmental news at EarthFix.

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This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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