PORTLAND (CBS Seattle) – Opponents of pollution in the coast waters have a new enemy – and it’s one that most of them probably come across on a daily basis.

Water off the coast of Oregon has been classified as slightly caffeinated as part of what researchers are calling “caffeine pollution.” Researchers at Portland State University have released a study indicating that the caffeinated coast water got that way due to sewage seeping out to the ocean and a human-caused septic runoff.

The study, which was published in this month’s Marine Pollution Bulletin, indicated that high caffeine levels were found near Carl Washburne State Park in Florence, Ore., and Cape Lookout. Other indications of caffeine were found in large population centers such as Astoria/Warrenton and Coos Bay. Researchers measured for caffeine in more than a dozen coastal locations in Oregon.

Zoe Rodriguez del Rey, the Portland State University graduate student who spearheaded the study, said that sewage overflows in state parks and high rainfall often flush contaminants such as caffeine into the ocean.

This isn’t the first time that caffeine has been found in a body of water. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that caffeine has been discovered in the Mediterranean Boston Harbor, the North Sea, Puget Sound and Sarasota Bay in Florida.


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