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Unintended Consquences of the Clean Water Act of 1972

Cleaning up our lakes, rivers, waterways is a good thing.  But do you have any idea why this good thing is causing the New York City shoreline to collapse?

We first learned of this fascinating and stunning piece of information when we heard it on Stephen Dubner’s (of Freakonomics fame) podcast, Tell Me Something I Don’t Know at the beginning of February 2017.  It’s an interesting podcast, check it out.

Basically, because the water is now clean, marine life are now thriving and are eating away at bridges, piers, shoreline that have been built out on timber.  This isn’t something new, it’s been happening for at least a couple of decades.*  Since the problem isn’t going away, officials are trying to figure out a way to save the harbor’s structures.  So far, the ideas are very costly.  Obviously the solution can’t be to go back to pre-Clean Water Act times (as if that were even possible).  Read more about the problem on your own.**

*http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/28/nyregion/pest-is-eating-at-city-s-edges-a-cleaner-harbor-gives-new-life-to-marine-borers.html

**http://gothamist.com/2016/09/20/brooklyn_bridge_park_borers.php

 

 

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