Column: Watershed Superfund sites offer important lessons to learn to curb potential future pollution
Riverkeeper's note: This column was written as the second in a two-part story package about a Superfund site in Williamsport. Check out the first post with details of this site by clicking here.
According to philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
That is one of the major fears of Katie Caputo, who recently stumbled onto information about a Superfund pollution site in Williamsport that happened decades ago and very few people remember today.
“More than 30 years had passed since the remedial action plan took effect and the decades seem to have eroded common knowledge of the site,” she shared after researching about AVCO Lycoming, a site where dangerous levels of potentially carcinogenic solvents have infiltrated the groundwater.
Cleanup continues at Williamsport Superfund site decades after issues discovered near aviation company
Riverkeeper's note: This is the first in a two-part story package on Superfund sites in our watershed. Check out Riverkeeper John Zaktansky's column on important lessons to learn from these sites by clicking here.
While searching online for various permits, rules and applications related to her outdoor guide service, Roambler.com, South Williamsport resident Katie Caputo stumbled across a document about pollution related to a local superfund site she knew nothing about.
“I was intrigued by the title, so I began reading,” she said. “The truth is, it felt like I was reading something I wasn’t supposed to find. It also felt like I was reading something I should have already known about.”
As she read over the 152-page report about the site and remediation efforts that continue to this day, Caputo was left with numerous questions and concerns.
Growing up in the “boonies” of Elk County, Travis Wingard savored every moment spent outside.
“I was a Boy Scout, worked on camp staffs. I hunted and I fished,” he said. “Everything seemed to revolve around living and playing in the outdoors.”
However, after majoring in English and pursuing a teaching career where jobs dried up faster than expected, Wingard found himself working in local factories to make ends meet and regretting that he didn’t pursue something that focused on his love of our outdoor resources.
“You look back and kind of want to kick yourself, saying ‘Oh, I should have joined DCNR or the DEP and been out in the field,’” he said. “That is where I was really having a lot of fun.”
River of the Year 2023 vote: Help the Susquehanna's North Branch gain awareness, action via recognition
As Angie Tuttle paddled and fished her way down the North Branch of the Susquehanna River from Howland Preserve to Riverside Park in Tunkhannock, she had a feeling something was watching her and following along.
“I just kept fishing and floating and then I heard cracking branches up on the bank,” she said. “I looked and saw a tiny little fox face looking around a tree at me! That little fox followed me for a while and kept me company.”
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.