The myth of the Richmond Vampire, and the reality of water pollution

environment vaRichmond is no stranger to things that go bump in the night. Our own Hollywood Cemetery is home to the notorious Richmond Vampire.  Said to be the undead William Wortham Pool, the vampire was first seen clawing his way out of a tunnel in 1925 after a railroad collapse, and has been spotted roaming the shores of the James since then. Those who have seen the creature say he has jagged teeth, a blood stained mouth, and decomposing flesh. The Richmond Vampire has been seen creeping back to Pool’s mausoleum overlooking the James, the perfect place to sleep all day, and hunt all night.

Whether or not the Richmond Vampire truly exists is up for debate, but the scary pollution of our water is no myth. Right now Richmond’s waterways are polluted with bacteria such as e-coli, industrial wastewater from factories bordering the river, and coal ash from dirty power plants. These contaminants can be legally dumped into streams that provide drinking water for over 2 million Virginians. This is why The Clean Water Act is vital to the health of our waterways.

Until recently, Virginia’s waterways, including the multiple streams and wetlands that flow into the James, weren’t protected under the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reenactment of the Clean Water Act meant closing loopholes from Supreme Court decisions from 2001 and 2006 that gave polluters the power to continue contamination our water. With closing the loophole, over 28,737 miles of Virginia’s streams will be protected, thus shielding the drinking water for 2.3 million Virginians from harmful pollutants.

Unfortunately, in early October, polluters succeeded in having a hold placed on the rule, temporarily removing it from effect. In the face of all the opposition from the polluters, it’s critical that all Virginians who value clean water make their voices heard. This fall, we’ll need Senator Warner to side with clean water over the polluters, so that all of Virginia’s lakes and streams remain protected by the Clean Water Act.

– By Frances Klein/Environment Virginia

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