When Canada and the United States approved the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972, the running joke in Cleveland was that anyone unlucky enough to fall into the Cuyahoga River would decay rather than drown.
The Cuyahoga, which meanders through the city before reaching Lake Erie, helped inspire the cleanup initiative by literally catching fire three years earlier. The lower end of the 112-mile-long waterway was a foul brew of oil, sludge, sewage and chemicals. It made embarrassing headlines when its surface flamed for about 30 minutes.
|Cuyahoga in Flames