Water pollution is expensive to us in many ways. All humans need clean drinking water to survive. When water becomes contaminated, it causes health problems which, in turn, cause other problems. One polluted water source can influence the economies of many sectors of our population. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a majority of Americans -218-million-live within 10 miles of a polluted waterway. Americans visit places close to rivers, lakes, and oceans for vacations and leisure time. Many people in the United States work in water-related industries. Much of the water in vacation areas is now unsafe to swim in or to eat fish from. The number of health and contamination advisories raise every year. Some water pollution problems, caused by hurricanes and floods, are short-lived. Others are insidious and cause health problems by a systematic poisoning of the body. Mercury levels continue to rise in our rivers and streams. The fish from these sources absorb the mercury and when humans eat the fish, mercury is introduced to the body. Mercury can devastate the human neurological system. Estimates are that one out of every six women of child-bearing age carries enough mercury in their bodies to severely damage a fetus. Mercury causes severe mental impairment and learning disabilities for children. Polluted water is a hazard to the health of this nation. It is physically, spiritually, and economically irresponsible for our nation to destroy natural resources in this way. We are literally poisoning our own families. Most of the mercury found in rivers and streams comes from coal-fired power plants and facilities that process metals. The mercury goes out through the exhaust system, carried by the wind, and finally deposited in rivers and streams. Tighter controls need to be placed on the corporations and companies who introduce something as toxic as mercury into the environment. Residents of all affected areas need to be informed about the mercury levels in local water sources so they may choose not to eat fish from these sources. Much study needs to be done before construction of new coal-fired power plants begins. Most often, when new plants are proposed, they are sold to the public as a source of "economic development" and jobs. If these plants were so safe, why are none constructed adjacent to the "Country Club?" The same sectors of our communities that can least afford to sink farther down the economic ladder, are the same folks who have these plants built in their neighborhoods. It is time for us all to say, "NO!" Tell them if they want this poison so badly then put the plants in their own backyards.