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Heartbeats in the MuckThe History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, Revised Edition$
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John Waldman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823249855

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823249855.001.0001

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The Medium: Sewers, Sludge, and Other Forms of Water Torture

The Medium: Sewers, Sludge, and Other Forms of Water Torture

(p.52) 3 The Medium: Sewers, Sludge, and Other Forms of Water Torture
Heartbeats in the Muck

John Waldman

Fordham University Press

With the great immigrant waves at the end of the nineteenth century New York's population swelled, but with no sewage treatment, all human wastes entered the Harbor's waters in raw form, overwhelming its ecology. In some places raw sewage was as much as ten feet thick. This ecological and human health crisis led to slow actions and improvements in controlling pollution, but none more so than the Clean Water Act of 1972. One irony is that the foul waters protected the Harbor's piers from marine borers, which became a problem as water quality rebounded. However, dead end systems such as Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek still suffer substantial water quality degradation.

Keywords:   Sewage, Pollution, Clean Water Act, Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek

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