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Impaired Water Hazard Zones: Mapping Intersecting Environmental Health Vulnerabilities and Polluter Disproportionality

Department of Sociology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1291, USA
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7(11), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi7110433
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 4 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoprocessing in Public and Environmental Health)
This study advanced a rigorous spatial analysis of surface water-related environmental health vulnerabilities in the California Bay-Delta region, USA, from 2000 to 2006. It constructed a novel hazard indicator—“impaired water hazard zones’’—from regulatory estimates of extensive non-point-source (NPS) and point-source surface water pollution, per section 303(d) of the U.S. Clean Water Act. Bivariate and global logistic regression (GLR) analyses examined how established predictors of surface water health-hazard exposure vulnerability explain census block groups’ proximity to impaired water hazard zones in the Bay-Delta. GLR results indicate the spatial concentration of Black disadvantage, isolated Latinx disadvantage, low median housing values, proximate industrial water pollution levels, and proximity to the Chevron oil refinery—a disproportionate, “super emitter”, in the Bay-Delta—significantly predicted block group proximity to impaired water hazard zones. A geographically weighted logistic regression (GWLR) specification improved model fit and uncovered spatial heterogeneity in the predictors of block group proximity to impaired water hazard zones. The modal GWLR results in Oakland, California, show how major polluters beyond the Chevron refinery impair the local environment, and how isolated Latinx disadvantage was the lone positively significant population vulnerability factor. The article concludes with a discussion of its scholarly and practical implications. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental health; environmental sociology; critical physical geography; intersectionality; environmental inequality; toxic releases; water pollution; logistic regression; geographically weighted regression; California environmental health; environmental sociology; critical physical geography; intersectionality; environmental inequality; toxic releases; water pollution; logistic regression; geographically weighted regression; California
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Liévanos, R.S. Impaired Water Hazard Zones: Mapping Intersecting Environmental Health Vulnerabilities and Polluter Disproportionality. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7, 433.

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