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Jing Tao

"Blue River Cleanup" photo by Lara Isch

A part of my job responsibility is to work with local high-risk runoff sites, which are primarily of an industrial nature. The focus is to help them improve their management of site runoff. When I started this work, I quickly noticed the same river appeared adjacent to many industrial companies that I was working with. Within less than a quarter mile from the river course, there is the largest regional power company, pesticide production facility, and scrap metal recyclers; the largest and oldest wastewater treatment plant, the oldest industrial base (over a century old), more than a dozen of auto-related businesses from salvage yards to truck dealerships, concrete and asphalt manufacturers, hazardous chemical handlers, and many more other types of industries. If we expand the scope further regarding high-risk runoff sites, along the river we have the only zoo in the region, multiple golf courses, and multiple solid waste management sites.

While the river provides many amenities to locals, the Blue River is also like a liver, detoxifying a lot of pollutants sourced from its drainage areas including the most densely populated urban center and long-established and heavily industrial bases in the entire metro area. And we have a long road and lots to do to protect Blue River and treasure it as an important organ to this region.

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