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Old 02-29-2008, 02:10 PM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,550
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Steamboating colleagues:
Alan's thread GARBAGE DISPOSAL and Val's follow remined me that those my age and older can vividly recall the condition of the Ohio River here. As kids at old Coal Haven Landing I saw the incredible effluent, filth, debris that existed in the river then in the main course and tributaries. Every neighborhood, town, city had massive brick or stone sewers dumping directly into the river. Flood time brought down incredible rafts of drift wood mixed with trash, barrels, lumber, paper and dead animals. These massive rafts were caught out on shore. Fires were set in them which often smoldered for days or weeks unchecked. They swarmed with the biggest river rats you ever beheld making for great pellet gun practice. Typhoid Fever was still a threat until the early to mid 1950s and still may be.

In 1948 ORSANCO [Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission] was formed to address these mounting needs and dangers in the Ohio River Basin. As kids in school not long after that we were treated to talks, displays and trips to the river to see and learn in heavy doses. It was revolutionary in its day and not without critics. Their present offices are now housed in a fine center at 5735 Kellogg Ave. one mile west of I-275. For more history and current program just type in ORSANCO and hit 'Go.'

Those memories of garbage from the DELTA QUEEN are legendary. Seems I also recall one in which somebody from the boat was caught burning a pile of boat debris on the bank. My memories are dim but it seems to me that the last ISLAND QUEEN had more than one out-fall pipe from the boat's lavatories that dumped directly into the river. Frank Prudent may be able to enlighten us. Anyway as a kid I was scared of that one lavatory looking down the pipe and seeing light and the river rushing by. Another fixture here has been the legendary 'Smoke Abatement Office' which often posted men on Cincinnati bridges to watch the transit of boats for excess smoke. Same went for the steam trains then rolling by my old neighborhood. They kept their eyes on the DELTA QUEEN and AVALON here and I belive Jim Reising can recall that.

Cheers,
R. Dale Flick
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