Green Buckeye RN

Louisville Courier-Journal: Ohio River Is Cleaner and Healthier
April 26, 2010, 10:19 am
Filed under: News

By James Bruggers • • April 21, 2010

Once an open sewer for industry and the bathrooms of millions, the 981-mile-long Ohio River is, by all accounts, cleaner and healthier than it was 40 years ago when Americans observed the first Earth Day.

Cities along its banks and within its 204,000-square-mile basin now disinfect or remove most of the dangerous bacteria and other contaminants from sewage before treatment plant effluent is released in the river.

A stench from improperly treated sewage has mostly gone away.

Industries no longer indiscriminately dump toxic chemicals in the water, and fish and boaters have returned.

Yet much of that cleanup happened in the first 20 years after the first Earth Day, when 20 million people rallied in the United States on behalf of Mother Nature, prompting Congress to pass the Clean Water Act in 1972.

In recent decades, progress has slowed — and health authorities still recommend that anyone swimming in the river take a shower afterward and don’t overdo how much of the fish they eat.

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