Group says Oregon waterways nation's 33rd most polluted

Group says Oregon waterways nation's 33rd most polluted »Play Video
The Willamette River

EUGENE, Ore. - An environmental group says Oregon has some of the most polluted lakes and rivers in the country.

And while a state spokesman doesn't dispute the group's raw data, he contends Oregon is better at reporting pollution than other states, skewing the Beaver State's place in the rankings.

Environment Oregon said industrial facilities dumped nearly 1.3 million pounds of chemicals into Oregon Waterways in 2012. 

That ranks Oregon rivers and lakes 33rd worst in nation, the group says.

They advocate for stronger clean water standards in Oregon and across the country.

William Knight, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, said he was familiar with the report and doesn't doubt the raw figures.

But Knight said the ranking for Oregon may not be accurate because Oregon does a better job of reporting pollution levels than other states, which makes the state look worse in the rankings relative to other states.

And while Environment Oregon representatives were critical of the International Paper plant in Springfield at a press conference Thursday, Knight said the plant meets all state standards for chemical discharges.