51 years after the fire credited with inspiring the creation of the E.P.A., https://cfpub.epa.gov/watertrain/moduleFrame.cfm?parent_object_id=2571 the Cuyahoga river is on fire again. https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2020/08/25/the-cuyahoga-river-has-caught-fire-for-14th-time . Scene is reporting that the fire was the result of an oil tanker crash.
This is hitting me pretty hard, despite not being a huge fire. The last dam between Cleveland and the national park was removed from the river this month, leaving the river free flowing for the first time since the 1820s. https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/08/brecksville-dams-removed-cuyahoga-river-flowing-freely-between-cvnp-and-cleveland-for-first-time-in-nearly-200-years.html One of the most joyful narratives of my life has been watching the lake and river become cleaner and more vibrant.
We just took the grandson there last week to see history, then to Brecksville Reservation to show him the WPA pavilion.
I boated on the Cuyahoga near the lake often in the 80s and 90s, and the amount of gunk I had to scrape off the boat was less in successive years. This is another 2020 gut punch.
I spent a stint in the late 70s working in the EPA’s Water Quality Division out of Cleveland (the Michigan-Ohio District Office was weirdly in a shopping mall in Westake). About as rewarding a job as I’ve ever had, though the cleanup of the Cleveland-area waterways (including Lake Erie) looked impossible at the time.
When you visit American city
You may find it very pretty
Of just two things you must beware
Don’t drink the water and don’t breathe the air
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