Pine bark beetles continue to kill millions of acres of trees in Western states. But now, a new study shows the epidemic in Colorado could lead to the contamination of drinking water supplies, as well. According to Environment and Energy News, as trees die off, they decompose and release carbon into waterways and soil that can react with chlorine disinfectants to create byproducts including cancer-causing trihalomethane. These chemicals have increased an average of 2 parts per billion in areas of the state hit hard by the beetles, with some treatment facilities reaching concentrations above the EPA limit. Here’s hoping for continued progress in the fight against these treacherous insects.



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