This NEVER would have happened if...

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This NEVER would have happened if... Empty This NEVER would have happened if...

Post by T on Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:54 am

This NEVER would have happened if Trumpery, LePig, and all other Tea Party types were in charge.

Clean Water Act has transformed Androscoggin River over past 45 years

Watch the Androscoggin River today as it flows down from the Great Falls at Lewiston-Auburn and it seems scarcely believable it was once little more than an open sewer, full of toxic chemicals, a channel for every throwaway thing that could be swept to the sea.

Half a century ago, state fisheries biologist Dick Anderson got the “revolting task” of surveying the reeking waters between Bethel and Brunswick to see whether any game fish remained.

With the exception of a few reasonably pristine tributaries, he said he found only “billows of foam floating here and there” and pipes pouring foul gunk into the water. He didn’t find fish, but he learned that ducks and muskrats love sewage.

Anderson said he could tell the color of tissue paper one paper mill in Mechanic Falls was pumping out each day because the river beside it would take on the same shade from the excess dye. One slaughterhouse would flush all of its waste  into the river at the end of each working day, he said.

That all changed when U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, who grew up in Rumford and knew the river’s stench intimately, spearheaded passage of the Clean Water Act 45 years ago, building his case to stop the pollution he’d witnessed on the work of people such as Anderson who gathered the facts to undergird his argument.

Adopted on Oct. 18, 1972, after Congress easily overrode President Richard Nixon’s veto, the landmark law barred any discharge into any navigable waters of pollutants from a point source, such as a factory pipe, without a permit. That meant people could no longer simply dump gunk into America’s rivers.

Davies said she walked along the river during a visit back to Maine this past summer, noting the “huge difference” from the way it looked when she was young, begging a senator for help.

“It’s much cleaner. It’s like real water. It’s moving,” she said.

As he scanned the river from a Lewiston park, Anderson said its transformation from the revolting waterway of his younger days is hard to believe. He also took pride in his role in making it happen.

“We inherited this mess, this disgusting mess, from the people before us and we worked our butts off” to improve it, Anderson said. “This generation, the people who live here now, have cleaned it up.”

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