The book, A River Again, by Chari Towne focuses on the environmental cleanup of the Schuylkill River in the 1940s and 50s.
The books are available for sale from the Schuylkill River Heritage Area for $21.95 and can be purchased by calling 484-945-0200. They are also available as a free download from www.delawareriverkeeper.org
In the mid-20th century, the Schuylkill was one of the nation’s dirtiest rivers.Throughout the Industrial Revolution, its waters served as a dumping site for factory pollutants, raw sewage and, perhaps most damaging of all, coal waste, known as culm. By 1945 an estimated 38 million tons of culm had accumulated in its channel.
The Schuylkill was on the brink of becoming a wasteland until, in 1945, the state of Pennsylvania agreed to undertake the Schuylkill River Project. It was the first major government-funded environmental cleanup, and it dredged millions of tons of coal culm from the river. That story, the events that led up to it, and the impact that it had, are the subject ofA River Again
Towne is a former Olympic rower who trained on the Schuylkill, and today works as the Schuylkill Watershed Specialist for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Science degree in Natural Resource Planning. The book was funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources administered through the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. Other funders include The Jerlyn Foundation and The William Penn Foundation.