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The 50 Most Polluted Rivers in the Country

Dishonorable Discharge: The 50 Most Polluted Rivers in the Country

September 2, 1996
Rank River/Waterbody States with toxic discharges contributing to water pollution Total pounds of
direct toxic
discharges to water
(1990-1994)
1 Mississippi River TN, AR, LA, MO, IL, MN, WI, IA, KY, MS 702,496,748
2 Pacific Ocean OR, HI, CA 35,195,908
3 Ohio River IL, IN, OH, KY, WV, PA 22,072,491
4 Tennessee River KY, TN, AL 22,031,743
5 Houston Ship Channel TX 18,235,338
6 Ward Cove AK 14,261,169
7 Savannah River GA, SC 13,968,965
8 Delaware River DE, PA, NJ 13,329,248
9 Thames River CT 13,312,639
10 Grays Harbor WA 10,840,795
11 Rock River IL, WI 8,165,469
12 Straits Of Juan De Fuca WA 7,899,229
13 Amelia River FL 7,461,070
14 Gravelly Run VA 6,330,209
15 Calcasieu River LA 5,427,508
16 Ouachita River AR, LA 4,925,933
17 Mobile River AL 4,572,055
18 Columbia River WA, OR 4,368,387
19 Holston River TN 4,098,240
20 Genesee River NY 3,672,733
21 Kansas River KS 3,420,965
22 Martins Creek MS 3,339,065
23 Indiana Harbor Ship Canal IN 2,578,038
24 Brazos River TX 2,442,430
25 Cuyahoga River OH 2,427,663
26 Patapsco River MD 2,329,123
27 Kanawha River WV 2,320,910
28 Susquehanna River PA, NY 2,144,339
29 Quinnipiac River CT 2,105,384
30 Fenholloway River FL 1,896,369
31 Cedar River IA 1,881,803
32 Everett Harbor WA 1,749,650
33 Hudson River NJ, NY 1,729,084
34 Missouri River NE, KS, MO, ND, IA 1,727,759
35 Neches River TX 1,645,307
36 Alabama River AL 1,613,809
37 Escambia Bay FL 1,568,522
38 Wisconsin River WI 1,553,152
39 Wabash River IL, IN, OH 1,532,308
40 Blackwater River VA 1,488,346
41 Detroit River MI 1,449,750
42 Little Attapulgus Creek GA 1,431,183
43 Androscoggin River ME, NH 1,388,133
44 Escatawpa River MS 1,358,148
45 Pigeon River NC 1,325,423
46 Cook Inlet AK 1,322,140
47 Cape Fear River NC 1,319,953
48 Des Moines River IA 1,270,304
49 Tombigbee River MS, AL 1,210,471
50 Willamette River OR 1,202,737
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Toxics Release Inventory 1990-1994.