Snohomish River Salmon Run Fails – Fluoride Connection

by | Jul 16, 2012 | Fish, Media Analysis | 0 comments

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Dr. Richard Sauerheber

(B.A. Biology, Ph.D. Chemistry, University of CA, San Diego)

Palomar College,1140 Mission Rd., San Marcos, CA 92069

July 15, 2012

To  Bill Sheets:

Last year was the worst year ever for Snohomish River salmon returns according to the Herald. See “Salmon Level Plummets”, Herald July 14, 2012. We flail about, looking for explanations. However, we ignore the lesson learned on the Columbia River in the 1980s.

Alcoa was dumping water into the Columbia at Vancouver, which contained fluoride, and the salmon were turned back. See this YouTube interview with environmentalist Brent Foster, who relates the story of the salmon run crash on the Columbia River:

The typical outfall from a city which fluoridates its water at 1.0 ppm contains around 1.0 ppm fluoride, and this plume of fluoride in fresh water extends down river and out into the Sound for a considerable distance at that 1.0 ppm level. As was learned on the Columbia, a level of only 0.2 ppm fluoride in fresh water is sufficient to narcotize the salmon brain and block return to fresh water for spawning. To salmon fluoride stinks. Salt water is itself around 1.0 ppm fluoride, however it also contains around 300 ppm calcium, which ties up and “buffers” the fluoride. In Snohomish River snowmelt water, where the calcium level is below 10 ppm calcium (an extremely low level), fluoride is very noxious to fish that rely on environmental odors to navigate. See:

How much fluorosilicic acid, dumped form city water supplies in central and south Snohomish County, flows into the Snohomish River watershed? A lot. More than 99% of fluoridated water goes straight down the drain and directly to the filtration plant and the sewer outfall into the Snohomish River. Sewer plant filtration does not filter out fluoride, and so it ends up in the Snohomish River. Everett remains behind the times while the country is waking up to the harmful effects of drinking water fluoridation. See:


How does fluoride get into the Snohomish River? Most tap water goes down the drain, through toilet flushing, baths and showers, dish washing, and commercial uses. An additional load of  fluoride is added as people brush their teeth with toothpaste fluoridated at 1500 ppm and spit the toothpaste down the drain. If the sanitary sewer is mostly separate from the storm sewer, then most of the water reaching the waste water treatment plant is fluoridated sewer water. At  the waste water treatment plant, solids and many chemicals are removed, however, the fluoride ion and the hydrogen fluoride molecule are much too small to be filtered out, and so they pass on to the sewer outfall. Generally the sewer outfall of a fluoridated city can be as much as 1 ppm.

Part of  the city of Snohomish gets  its drinking water from the Pilchuk River, which is not fluoridated, and the other part gets its drinking water  from Everett Utilities, which is fluoridated. However, all of Snohomish’s waste water is treated just to the west of Highway 9, on the north bank of the Snohomish River, where it is released  into the Snohomish River. See this map of the Snohomish waste water treatment facility:

Everett Utilities provides drinking water for most of central, western, and southern Snohomish County. It is fluoridated at around .8 ppm. See this map of the Everett waste water treatment facility:

Likewise, Marysville expells its treated sewer water into Ebby Slough, the north arm of the Snohomish River, on the northeast bank of Ebby Slough, just to the east of Highway 529. See this map of the Marysville waste water treatment facility:

Depending on where the fluoridated sewer water enters the river,  where it  flows, and how heavy is the flow of naturally flowing water in the river, which depends on the season, salmon swimming upstream may be blocked by fluoridated water from these waste three water treatment facilities.


In 2008 there was a total collapse of salmon runs on the Sacramento River. It hit statewide news like a bombshell. The entire Sacramento River salmon fishing industry was out of work. I wrote to Pacific Fisheries and the city of Sacramento with my complaints, pointing out that the crash followed shortly after  Sacramento began fluoridating its drinking water, most of which was going directly into the Sacramento River, but it was all to no avail. Every other possible cause of the crash was discussed, but there was a blind spot regarding fluoridation. By 2010 salmon runs were still depressed. By 2013 salmon runs were recovering, except for the winter Chinook run, which was still a fraction of its earlier level.

The city remains fluoridated, and the Sacramento salmon fishing industry remains dead. I had volunteers collect water samples above the discharge outlet and downriver from the outlet for testing. The conclusion I reached was that the discharge water that shoots out like a rapid-fired torpedo across the narrow River created a 1 ppm fluoride barrier to the salmon. The same thing may be occurring in the Snohomish River, where increasing outflows of fluoridated water create a barrier to salmon passage.

Everett discharges some 250 gallons per day of 23% fluorosilicic acid into drinking water, which after sewer processing is dumped into the soft, low calcium water of the Snohomish River. The burden of proof should be on the fluoridationists to prove that the salmon run collapse has nothing at all to do with these fluoride infusions. Fluoride is indestructible and cannot hide in the River or somehow be metabolized or neutralized. We urge you to do responsible investigative journalism and report in depth on the efffects of industrial fluoride on salmon.  It is absurd to continue so-called fluoridation with industiral fluoride waste, while at the same time these salmon are listed as protected species and we must take extraordinary measures to protect them, including raising them in hatcheries.

I am not saying that dumping fluoridated water into the Snohomish River is the only cause for the declines in salmon runs, however, it is one signifant factor and should not be disregarded.


Dr. Richard Sauerheber
(B.A. Biology, Ph.D. Chemistry, University of CA, San Diego)
Palomar College,1140 Mission Rd., San Marcos, CA 92069



  1. SafeWater | FLUORIDE, LEAD, ARSENIC, AND MORE IN OUR WATER - […] FISH. The fluoride content of sewer effluent is high enough to repel salmon and cause salmon runs to crash, as has happened…
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  4. Portland | FLUORIDE, LEAD, ARSENIC, AND MORE IN OUR WATER - [...] Wastewater treatment does not remove fluoride, and fluoride levels in sewer effluent are high enough to repel salmon and cause runs…
  5. FLUORIDE CLASS ACTION » Inauguration - [...] FISH. The fluoride content of sewer effluent is high enough to narcotize salmon and cause salmon runs to crash,…
  6. FLUORIDE CLASS ACTION » Washington to ban copper in brakes to protect salmon - [...] Washington will continue to allow dumping of fluorosilicic acid into our rivers. To salmon fluoride [...]
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