Cedar Rapids Marks 40th Anniversary of Clean Water Act with New Project
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Thursday marks 40 years since the Clean Water Act became law.
The legislation was passed to help fight water pollution in the United States. The act led to environmental changes, including setting standards for water across the country. While the anniversary marks a milestone in fixing water problems, there's still a lot of work to be done.
The City of Cedar Rapids is kicking off a new project as the 40th birthday rolls around. City workers and volunteers will begin putting storm drain markers in the area surrounding McLoud Run on Saturday.
McLoud Run is the only urban trout stream in Iowa, and it flows near Interstate 380 on the north side of the city. The markers remind people not to dump trash in the area.
"We’ll go out into the neighborhoods, which includes roughly 4.5 square miles that go to this stream,” said Public Works Maintenance Manager Craig Hanson.
City Storm Water Manager David Scanlan said fish are highly sensitive to pollutants in the water.
Garbage thrown out the car window or leaves swept into the street often washes down storm drains, flows through the storm sewer system and into the stream.
"The bacteria thrive on that kind of organic material in there, so when the bacteria thrive they use up the oxygen the fish need, so there's competition between the fish and bacteria on the oxygen,” Scanlan said.
Hanson said the country and Cedar Rapids have come a long way since the passage of the Clean Water Act.
“If you look at other parts of the country we had globs of oil wash up on the beaches down in South Padre, or you had ship channels cut through the mouth of the Mississippi or if you go to the beaches on the east coast or west coast you had problems back in the 60’s,” Hanson said. “You had a fire on the river in one of the Midwest cities. Here in Cedar Rapids the Clean Water Act has meant that we’ve had changes to our water pollution control, we’ve expanded out outreach programs such as this one with the markers.”
Volunteers can get involved by going to the pavilion in Noelridge Park at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. That’s when people will venture out to apply the storm drain markers. The markers are expected to stay on the drains for years. This is the first time the city has embarked on a campaign with the colorful markers.
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