Aug 19, 2013

Muddy Waters











It's been a tough five years for the Little Lehigh under Donny Cunningham. First, he has remained silent on the drilling of wells at the stream's headwater, to accommodate the bottling industry he shepherded to the valley. Now, The Morning Call has publicized the fact that the Lehigh County Authority (water and sewage) has an on going spillage of sewage into the waterway. Recently, when I criticized Cunningham's Plan to demolish the historic stone arch Reading Road Bridge,  Bernie O'Hare, defended the plan by quoting the "Bridge Doctor", Glenn Solt. Solt is Cunningham's public works director. Solt said that stone arch bridges look pretty, but they're filled with "crap." The Morning Call article quotes Richard Young, Pawlowski's Public Works Director. Young states that the Allentown Sewer Plant, which handles the sewage from the Lehigh County Authority, only intentionally dumps raw sewage downstream from the water plant. He fails to mention that the manhole covers, which overflow during storms, are upstream or just before our water plant. The above photo shows such overflow just west of Schreibers Bridge, which is only a few blocks before the water plant intake pipe. I hope Cunningham and Solt don't see this post. Schreibers Bridge is also a historic stone arch bridge. Built in 1828, it was rehabilitated in 1920 and 1998. Maybe Cunningham should concentrate on what's flowing under the bridges.

photo from The Morning Call
reprinted from July 2010

UPDATE:Some things have changed since I wrote this post in July of 2010, some things have not. Donny Cunningham resigned as County Executive and now heads Lehigh Valley Economic Development.  This blogger has managed to keep Solt from tearing down the Reading Road stone arch bridge.  Schreiber's Bridge, built in 1828, is carrying the load for the 15th Street Bridge, which is being replaced. Raw sewage still overflows from the LCA pipe in Lehigh Parkway,  and the Wildlands Conservancy picks and chooses science to suit their endless pursuit of grants.  According to Wildlands there is no sewage in the Little Lehigh, and the only pollution problem will be solved by removing the beautiful historic dam at  Robin Hood. They  were also silent about well drilling at the Little Lehigh headwaters, and anything else that might negatively impact their revenue stream, which is now partially funded by Nestle Bottling Company.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

You raise an interesting tax question. Should any nonprofit accept corporate funding that opens a door to doubt? Even if the nonprofit is angelic, appearance speaks volumes. Years ago Wildlands was the in-group. Everyone in town wanted to be connected. Not anymore.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the piles of lime poured atop those manholes once the storms ended. Even Allentown couldn't hide the color and smell of lime.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:35, they're such sellouts that they have nestle water people teaching children about water quality at their headquarters. but my concern isn't their hypocrisy per se, but it's degradation of the park system. the riparian buffer zones only succeeds in blocking access and view for the citizens, but doesn't effect the storm water piped directly into the creeks. now they want to improve water quality by demolishing the dams, but ignore the sewer overflow from the LCA pipe. but of course nestle rebottles the LCA water for profit and contributes to Wildlands. for allentown to allow wildland's to dictate policy and change tradition in the park system is sad. i'm glad that at least two council members heard wildland's false claim of no fecal count in the creek.

Anonymous said...

MM -

I think the reality is that many of theses groups
- environmental, economic development, etc, - have become front groups for the Democrat party. They are there to criticize republican elected officials where needed and to provide cover for democrat elected officials. All the while, they provide an excuse for taxpayer money to be circulated through these groups back to elected officials.

I don't mean to offend those who might be involved with these organizations, as there are many people of all political persuasions who care about these issues. But by and large, I think the groups themselves have been co-opted for something beyond their stated purpose.

I don't think the groups start off that way, but they are quickly morphed in that direction when the opportunity arises.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:50, i printed your comment reluctantly. my efforts to protect the traditional park system are non-partisan. i especially want to protect it from generalities which are not allentown park specific. for instance, our storm drainage pipes make the riparian buffers mere tokenism, but deny view and access to the creeks. the dam removals are negated by the sewer pipes and fish hatchery, and would just deny park goers beauty and atmosphere. partisan discussions distract from these realities.

Anonymous said...

MM -

I reluctantly wrote the comments at 7:50.

I wish I could come up with a better explanation as to why Allentown City Council and the Wildlands Conservancy continues to ignore or oppose the common sense suggestions you and PEOPLE of all political parties make regarding our once nationally recognized park system.

Maybe there's a better explanation, and I'm open to considering it, but for now their actions simply baffle me.

While I'm happy to agree with you issue-by-issue, I'd also like to get to the root of the problem. I don't believe that those on Council or guiding the Wildlands group are stupid or even that out of touch.

I think there is a motivation beyond what's on the surface, and I'd love to confirm what it is. If we could find that, I don't think we'd be dealing with so many issues.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:36, my take is that they're applying popular ecology concepts, but ignoring allentown specifics, which negate and override their value. also remember that wildlands is now a big business. check the financial page on their website; these projects involve many agencies, salaries, public relations, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

There is no mention of me with my Hole house filter atallentowns counsil meeting¿ Just a thought MM, but if said filter was to be tested what would the fecal count be in water delivered to allentown homes¿
redd

michael molovinsky said...

redd, i certainly hope it would be zero, that's the purpose of the filtration plant on MLK drive. i raised the issue because the wildlands denies it's presence, although both the EPA and facts say otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Both parties have helped degrade the Parkway.
Heydt did more than his share, and so has this bunch.

Anonymous said...

5:08 - really? What kind of alternate universe are you living in?

Heydt put up a temporary seasonal display that is easily dismantled when not needed.

Pawlowski has paved natural areas (Cedar Parkway), gutted the Parks Department staff and neglected the WPA structures to the point where they will be lost. He is allowing the permanent removal of dams that date back to the Trexler era.

Pawlowski has also tried to fence the Fish Hatchery, commercialize the Rose Garden, and log South Mountain. In a sane city, he would have already been run out of office, and advocacy groups would have led the charge.

Instead, in Allentown, supposed advocacy groups like the Wildlands Conservancy partner with him in the willful destruction of our finest parks.

michael molovinsky said...

i would ask readers to keep partisan politics out of this effort to save the dam, because city council is all of one party. furthermore, i have been led to believe that the ultimate decision might rest with pawlowski, so i ask for an atmosphere where he can receive some accolade for defending this important park feature.

Guy Williams said...

I have a lot of respect for the work being done by the Poole and Rodale foundations.The same goes for the overall work of the Wildlands group however am dismayed at there way or no way attitude.Most of our parks have become an inner city type and since land is at a premium it doesn't seem to fit an organic style. Can you imagine NY Central Park going passive organic. Maybe the parkway south/west of the hatchery could go organic but for God sake leave the robin hood area as it was and intended. Groomed.For years the Trexler Trust called the shots concerning our parks.What happened that they have stepped aside leaving the wildlands to make these park changing decisions.

Anonymous said...

What I can't imagine Guy,i s our parks managed with anything approaching the same intelligence NYC CENTRAL PARK is managed. And from your confused response, it looks like you can't either.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect,much of Central Park is not groomed and the entire NYC Park system is managed at the very top by conservation, not recreation types.
Allentown did the pave and play hard scape thing at Ceder Beach and it pretty much sucks. This talk of "going organic" is just plain silly sir.

Guy Williams said...

Beg to differ the landscaped and public areas including the great meadow are groomed.The wooded areas are not. Considering the amount of usage NYC does a decent job of upkeep and provides recreation. Obviously the conservation leaders have to balance their approach. Instead of turning off park goers why not find a way to bring back the fisherman along the little Lehigh.Just think they would be mostly out of towners. Getting gas,stopping at our stores etc.My point is that the conservation efforts are not wrong,just not a balance with those of us who like the park as it was.

Anonymous said...

Point is, there is a healthy mix Guy----and it works.