Friday, January 3, 2014

Who Dumped Raw Sewage Into the Bay?

Old Time Erie City Sewer Outlets.
I did a double take when I saw this page in the 1902 Erie city directory. Take a close look at the highlighted area and you'll see why. This chart shows the length of the sewers emptying into the bay. Raw sewage was dumped into creeks which flowed directly into the bay, polluting Lake Erie. Yuck! Forget about the Good Old Days. These were the Not So Good Old Days.

Fifty-six miles of streams and creeks carried raw sewage and storm runoff into the bay. The outlets included Little Cascade Run; the Canal sewer; Peach, French and Holland Streets; Mill Creek, Garrison Run and Light House Run. After reading this, I don't think I'll complain about paying my sewer bill anymore. In fact, I'd like to take a moment to thank the workers at the City of Erie Bureau of Sewers and the Erie Wastewater Treatment Plant for a job well done.

In the early 1900s, creeks and streams ran wild throughout the city. Now, most of them run through concrete tubes under the streets and sidewalks, marked only by blue rectangular signs marked with their names. Cascade Creek, one of the exceptions, runs freely through Frontier Park on Erie's westside. Mill Creek is visible near the Erie Zoo and along Glenwood Park Avenue south of Norman Way. To learn more about positive ways to interact with the environment, check out GreenERie.

Enjoy more odd and obscure facts about the history of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie.

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