State and green crimes related to water pollution and ecological disorganization: water pollution from publicly owned treatment works (POTW) facilities across US states

Michael J. Lynch, Paul B. Stretesky, Michael A. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Green criminologists often refer to water pollution as an example of a green crime, but have yet to produce much research on this subject. The current article addresses the need for green criminological analyses of water pollution problems, and draws attention to an overlooked issue: water pollution emissions from state owned public water treatment facilities or POTWs. Legally, POTWs may emit certain quantities and kinds of pollutants to waterways following treatment. This does not mean, however, that those emissions have no adverse ecological or public health impacts, or that those emissions cannot also be employed as examples of green crimes or green-state crimes. Indeed, from the perspective of environmental sociology and ecological Marxism, those emissions generate ecological disorganization. Moreover, POTW emissions contain numerous pollutants that generate different forms of ecological disorganization. The current study uses POTW emissions data drawn from the US EPA’s Discharge Monitoring Report system for 2014 to illustrate the extent of pollution emitted by POTWs in and across US states as one dimension of ecological disorganization. To contextualize the meaning of those data, we review US water pollution regulations, review the health and ecological impacts of chemicals emitted by POTWs, and situate those emissions within green criminological discussions of green crime and green-state crimes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17070
JournalPalgrave Communications
Volume3
Issue number1
Early online date1 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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