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Clean Water: The Next Act - A Radio Special

Dec. 27, 2012 | EarthFix
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  • Researchers gathered runoff from a highway in Seattle to study the impacts of and possible solutions to stormwater runoff. The darker colored carboys contain straight highway runoff. The lighter ones contain runoff filtered through soil columns. credit: Katie Campbell
  • William Ruckelshaus was the first administrator of the EPA under Nixon and oversaw the initial implementation of the Clean Water Act. This photo was taken May 1972. credit: Courtesy of The U.S. National Archives
  • Paul Gilliland is the mayor of the Eastern Washington town of Harrington. The town of 420 residents has struggled to meet the Clean Water Act's requirements for sewage treatment. credit: Courtney Flatt
  • Much of the pollution on Seattle's Duwamish River comes from decades ago, but Seattle Iron and Metal, a metal recycler, is one of the ongoing present-day polluters of the river. credit: Katie Campbell
Researchers gathered runoff from a highway in Seattle to study the impacts of and possible solutions to stormwater runoff. The darker colored carboys contain straight highway runoff. The lighter ones contain runoff filtered through soil columns. | credit: Katie Campbell | rollover image for more

This one-hour radio documentary special is a collaboration between EarthFix and PRI’s Living On Earth. Steve Curwood is the host and executive producer of Living On Earth. The program was co-produced and co-hosted by EarthFix journalist Ashley Ahearn.

The Clean Water Act is now 40 years old. Join us as we take a look back at the time of the creation of the Act in 1972, the water quality challenges we face today and the future of the Clean Water Act.

The one-hour special will broadcast on stations across the country that carry Living On Earth as well as EarthFix partner stations in the Pacific Northwest. Below you can listen to the documentary in three parts as well as visit related content. In addition, we’ve got some web-only content about the Clean Water Act and environmental justice.

Visit our Clean Water: The Next Act page to see more of our multimedia content produced as a collaboration between EarthFix, Ecotrope and InvestigateWest.


Clean Water Act, 40 Years Ago

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William Ruckelshaus was the first administrator of the EPA under Nixon and oversaw the initial implementation of the Clean Water Act. He is still active in environmental policy, having recently wrapped up work as part of an ocean acidification panel in the Northwest.

In part one of our special, Ashley Ahearn caught up with Bill Ruckelshaus, who now lives in Seattle.



Exploring Today’s Challenges

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In part two, we take a look at the challenges facing clean water in America today. Ashley Ahearn visits one of the Northwest’s most contaminated sites on the Duwamish River to see the ongoing problems with permitted industrial pollution. Robert McClure, from InvestigateWest joins in to talk wastewater, agricultural runoff, emerging chemical contaminants and stormwater runoff.



Related stories:





Looking To The Future Of Clean Water In America

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In the final segment of our special program, we look to the future of clean water in America. Ashley Ahearn reports on emerging contaminants that are slipping through our wastewater treatment plants and may be feminizing fish. Then, host Steve Curwood turns to Katherine Baer, senior director of the clean water program at American Rivers, for a look ahead at the Clean Water Act in the next 40 years.

Related story:



Clean Water Act And Environmental Justice

In this web extra, meet Colin Bailey. He is the executive director of Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. He took EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn to the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers to talk about the Clean Water Act and environmental justice. “Without the Clean Water Act there’s no doubt that we would not be as effective in our work,” he says. “It is an important tool for the communities that we serve.”



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