That Lucky Chicago River is the Only Acceptable “Green” Water


That Lucky Chicago River is the Only Acceptable “Green” Water

by Amy Lignor


Just a few days ago the luck o’ the Irish was seen on St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago when the water of the Chicago River was dyed a stunning shade of green.

Green Water, St. Patrick's Day, Chicago River, Irish heritage, American shorelines, WaterSense, clean water

Chicago River on Saint Patrick’s Day


Historically, back in 1961, Stephen Bailey, business manager of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local 110, was approached by a plumber clad in overalls that had been stained almost a perfect shade of green. When Bailey asked how they got that way, it was found that the dye plumbers used to detect leaks going into the river turned green. Well…it was because of the population of the Irish growing larger each day in Chicago, from the mid-1800s on, that the lucky St. Patrick’s Day color finally took hold of everyone. A parade was held, beginning in 1956, and the river started flowing green five years later. Since this dye didn’t cause any harm, or infect or pollute the water in any way, the river went green every St. Patrick’s Day starting in 1962, when a hundred pounds of dye was poured into the river. This actually turned it green for a full week. Now, with 40 pounds of dye used the river’s Irish green lasts for about five hours.


However, that is the only exception when it comes to visibly “green” water being a good thing. People strive to live healthy lives in healthy, green homes, but most do not know the damage a single leak of a faucet can make. From that leak, each drop contributes to the one trillion gallons of water leaking from toilets, faucets, and other plumbing in U.S. homes each year. This is only one reason why the Environmental Protection Agency is advocating for people to be more wise and proactive when it comes to their water usage.


The protection of all natural water sites is crucial to the health and well-being of the world. Natural shorelines must be kept clean and green. If not, if people do not police their own homes, the American shorelines will look just as bad as the Olympic water in Rio does; water that we are actually asking our men and women to dive into in order to earn a medal.


If a natural shoreline is polluted, there is no protection for the fish and wildlife. Polluted runoff can easily enter the water producing algae growth that directly affects aesthetics and recreation possibilities. Homeowners, as well as developers who are trying to build homes and increase the real estate industry, must study and then implement all the ways in which they can protect shorelines. The EPA suggests reducing the sizes of lawns, as well as stopping the use of pesticides for lawn and garden maintenance. Installing native vegetation, especially right along the shoreline, is also a good way to keep that water green and clean. Native trees and shrubs with deep roots immediately help stabilize shorelines and provide a natural “wall” against any pollution that may be entering the water. This “wall” will also improve all habitats for fish and wildlife.


A trend has begun in the real estate world that hopefully will grow and end up reaching all states. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created the WaterSense® Program, similar to its ENERGY STAR program, but with a focus on making a home water-conscious.


WaterSense wants to slash water consumption and costs. Seeing as that each American uses an average of 100 gallons of water per day, a majority of states are anticipating water shortages, which means using your head when it comes to managing water in the home is now more than critical. By reducing water consumption, the stress on water infrastructures are also reduced. This will delay the need to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities, avoiding those heavy costs that do come back on the homeowner. The EPA, teamed with several builders, is constructing new WaterSense homes that will end up saving approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year and at least $100 on the homeowner’s water and energy bills.


In 2016, efficiency is a must. Saving water – making the water clean and green – is also a must. The more headlines that appear in regards to pollutants entering the water system and putting an entire town, like Flint, Michigan, at risk will become more numerous.


In the end, the only water that should look green remains in Chicago, on the one day when the luck o’ the Irish is rightfully celebrated.

Source:  Baret News


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