National Geographic : 1978 Jan
was going into the river," IP mill manager Richard O'Brien admitted as I toured his plant at Corinth. I watched enormous logs of spruce, red pine, and poplar, trucked from within a hundred-mile radius, shoot down water-filled sluices and disappear into de barkers and grinders. More colossal equip ment bleached, squeezed, dried, and ironed the high-quality publication paper. Clay, dyes, and titanium dioxide flowed into the vats, providing filler, color, and coating. Residues used to go directly into the Hud son, together with 24 million gallons of waste water daily. Now the mill has cut water use by nearly two-thirds and begun treating waste-laden water in its own three-million dollar plant. Still, four thousand pounds of wood and clay particles, plus traces of chemi cals, flow into the river every day. Mr. O'Brien adds: "It will cost another twenty million to reach zero discharge by 1985-if it can be done at all." Is the river any cleaner? Weekend sailors think so. And the waiting list for slips in the river's sixty-odd marinas grows longer. Swimmers agree, discovering as I did the Floating trash truck, the Army Corps of Engineers' Driftmaster (above) scoops debris from New York Harbor. Cleanup is unending and complex. Junked cars headed for recycling are stored at riverside in New burgh (right)near natural-gas tanks, creat ing this eyesore.