Granted, there are some rivers in the nation, and throughout the world, for that matter, that are a bit cleaner than they were in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the decreases in their pollution had nothing to do with the EPA. In most instances it was the loss of certain industries that improved the river's water quality--industries that eventually went to third-world nations where they now pollute their waters. For example, there were several pulp and paper mills in operation many years ago on the Patapsco River's shores in Maryland. When persistent flooding, plus a major shift in the economy put them out of business, that river miraculously was transformed from a slimy gray ditch to a fun place for kayaking.
Many of the nations textile mills, most of which were situated along the shores of rivers, have now been shipped overseas, again to third-world countries, locations where once pristine waterways were quickly converted to open sewers. The EPA had absolutely nothing to do with this. In both instances it was an economic move.
Bethlehem Steel Company, which at one time employed more than 100,000 people from the Baltimore metropolitan area, was a major contributor to the pollution of the lower Patapaco River and Chesapeake Bay. The plant is nearly out of business, there are about 1,200 workers still employed at the Sparrows Point facility, and much of our steel is now imported in the form of finished products. The acid basin, which is situated near the shores of Bear Creek, only has a trickle of effluent emitting from the discharge pipe of the scrubbing plant. Again, the EPA played no role whatsoever in reducing the volume of effluent from Bethlehem Steel--it was the economy that brought about the reduction.
Sure, the EPA has spewed out hundreds of unenforcible mandates, regulations that have brought about the demise of some smaller industries. But most of the major polluters seem to survive.
The Saint Johns River in Florida was, and still is, heavily polluted. Yes, porpoise frequently forage in the river for an easy meal, but there's a reason for that as well.
First and foremost, they follow the schools of herring, Atlantic menhaden, and a host of other forage species upon which they feed. Those species enter the Saint Johns and other major rivers on their spawning runs every spring, then slowly make their way back to sea. They are followed by their offspring, which migrate out of the natal rivers during late fall and early winter. This is something that has been taking place hundreds of thousands of years.
Usually, the porpoise, also referred to as dolphins, exited the rivers shortly after the spawning runs, gave birth to their young, after which time they tended to remain in the shallow coastal waters where their young could feed in relative safety from coastal sharks. During the past half-century, though, commercial fishing for menhaden, herring, and a host of other schooling species has brought about their decline, thus porpoise had to seek food elsewhere. In many instances they returned to the mouths of major, coastal rivers and bays where they could still find sufficient food to survive upon. When they ran out of menhaden, porpoise switched to other species, striped bass, weakfish, bluefish, etc..., species that were readily available until recent years.
So, just because you may be seeing more porpoise frolicking on the surface, it is not an indicator that the waters has been miraculously cleansed by a series of EPA mandates--it's definitely not the case.
Do we really need a watchdog agency to help prevent illegal dumping? Absolutely! Do we need the EPA? HELL NO! The EPA, IMHO, is a politically-appointed, gargantuan nightmare that seems to grow larger at an exponential rate. It regurgitates mountains of useless regulations, the vast majority of which do nothing more than perpetuate the agency itself. If we completely eliminated the EPA TOMORROW, the only thing that would happen is our nation debt would be reduced and an army of bureaucrats would be among the unemployed. And, this would be a bad thing?
In a Utopian world, the waters flowing from the world's wastewater treatment plants would be crystal clear and pure. We don't live in Utopia--this is the real world. I have seen very small, wastewater, treatment plants that discharge water containing very few solids. These are extremely expensive, both to procure and operate, they're few and far between, and they do produce byproducts. Hey, those turd lumps have to go somewhere. You can grind them up, sterilize them, liquefy them, dehydrate them, etc..., but they're still turds--just in a different form. The next stop for them is either landfill or spread on farm fields.
Now, those dried out, pulverized turds, according to state and federal agencies, are essentially hazardous wastes. They still contain many of the chemicals that passed unscathed through the wastewater treatment systems. The list is larger than a small city's telephone directory, and at the top of the list is a chemical cocktail of medicines and drugs that pass through our bodies in the form of steroids, antibiotics, statins, you name it. Fortunately, when exposure to a couple years of Mother Nature's elements will usually reduce the drug and chemical levels to where the fields can be plowed, and crops planted.
Am I anti EPA? You bet! We already have the same type of oversight, watchdog agencies in each and every state. Some are referred to as the State Department of Environment. They do the same things the EPA does--pee down your back and tell you it's raining. In many instances, they are break-away agencies from the state's fish and wildlife agencies. And, like the EPA, they all make the same claims. They claim that if you just give them more power, more people, more money, more of everything, they will create a Utopian environment for everyone. In most instances, those agencies have been around for a half-century or more. I don't know about the other members of this forum, but I, personally, don't have another half-century to wait for them to do the jobs they were hired to do.
Now you know why I no longer write for the world's third largest newspaper--I don't pull any punches. Now I'm old, crotchety, and don't give a damned about the EPAs idiotic, grey-water proposals. I, for one, am not going to retrofit my boat with anything that's not currently onboard, I'm not going to change my boat or boating habits, and I suspect that most everyone on this forum will follow suit. If the rest of the world were as conscientious about waterway pollution as the recreational boating community there wouldn't be a problem.
I has to be 5:00 O'Clock Somewhere!