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Sunday, July 12, 2015

And We Wonder Why...

...the Susquehanna is having its problems?
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I spent a few minutes yesterday morning looking at websites dealing with the history of the Wyoming Valley (PA-USA) when I stumbled across the first pic below...from 1931.
I immediately noticed the obvious discoloration in the water downstream from the Market Street bridge. I zoomed in on the next two pics.

Being familiar with that exact spot, I knew that was raw sewage dumping into the Susquehanna. Anything and everything flushed down toilets, dumped into sinks or washed into sewers by rain storms went directly into the Susquehanna and its tributaries.
Here's a quote directly from the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority's website:
"Before the sewage treatment plants were built, all sewage and storm water was discharged into the nearest body of water."
According to their website, the WVSA was formed in 1962.
Prior to that? Well, here's a snippet from a report from the PA Commissioner of Health in ~1906:
The degradation of the Susquehanna and its watershed began when the lumber industry started taking down the forests. Then came the coal mining industry. And once the population boom kicked in and cities started to grow, we used our streams and rivers as sewers; expecting everything would just be washed away and diluted and all would be fine. 
We still do this today.
So when someone tells you that they have a solution to clean up the Susquehanna, think about how long it's taken to get here, and even cutting that number of years in half, the reality is that most of us will not live to see that day.

For the record - based upon recent decisions, I now have zero faith in our current crop of elected officials, including the team our new governor has assembled.
Experts indeed...


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