Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.
The Grand Calumet River system winds for 13 miles through a Northwest Indiana industrial landscape that could almost be described as post-apocalyptic.
Alongside the several branches of the slow-moving waterway, a steel mill, gypsum plant and other heavy industry spew plumes of steam into the air while vines and shrubs grow inside vacant crumbling brick buildings. A fragment of the partially demolished Cline Avenue bridge still stands, twisted rebar and chunks of concrete hanging from each end. A rusty abandoned motorboat bobs half-sunken next to a soiled brown floating absorbent boom.
The Grand Calumet has long been known as one of the nation’s most polluted rivers. It is one of 43 federal Areas of Concern targeted for remediation in the Great Lakes region. For many decades before the 1972 Clean Water Act, countless industries dumped contaminated waste into the river with abandon. Gary, East Chicago and Hammond discharge untreated sewage and storm water into it.