Skip to main content

Making America Polluted Again

  • October, 1973: Mary Workman holds a jar of undrinkable water that comes from her well near Steubenville, Ohio and has filed a damage suit against the Hanna Coal Company. She has to transport water from a well many miles away.

    October, 1973: Mary Workman holds a jar of undrinkable water that came from her well near Steubenville, Ohio. She has to transport water from a well many miles away, and she has filed a damage suit against the Hanna Coal Company.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • Abandoned automobiles and other debris clutter an acid water- and oil-filled five-acre pond near Ogden, Utah in April 1974. It was cleaned up under EPA supervision to prevent possible contamination of Great Salt Lake and a wildlife refuge nearby.

    April, 1974: Abandoned automobiles and other debris clutter an acid water- and oil-filled five-acre pond near Ogden, Utah. The pond was cleaned up under EPA supervision to prevent possible contamination of the Great Salt Lake and a wildlife refuge nearby.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • December, 1974: Miner Wayne Gipson, 39, with his daughter Tabitha, 3. He has just gotten home from his job as a conveyor belt operator at a non-union mine.

    December, 1974: Miner Wayne Gipson, 39, sits with his daughter Tabitha, 3. He has just gotten home from his job as a conveyor belt operator at a non-union mine.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • Chemical plants on shore are considered a prime source of pollution for Lake Charles, Louisiana in June 1972.

    June, 1972: Chemical plants on the shores of Lake Charles in Louisiana are considered a prime source of the lake’s pollution.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • October, 1973: Floyd Lamb holds waste ash that has been shipped from Cleveland and dumped in some of the strip pits off route 33.

    October, 1973: Floyd Lamb holds waste ash that was shipped from Cleveland, Ohio, and dumped in some of the strip pits off of Route 33.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • July, 1973: Clark Avenue and Clark Avenue Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio, obscured by smoke from heavy industry.

    July, 1973: Clark Avenue and Clark Avenue Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio, are obscured by smoke from heavy industry.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • August 1972: Children play in yard of Ruston home, while a Tacoma smelter stack showers the area with arsenic and lead residue in Ruston, Washington.

    August, 1972: Children play in a yard while a Tacoma smelter stack showers the area with arsenic and lead residue in Ruston, Washington.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • Smoke and gas from the burning of discarded automobile batteries pours into the sky near Houston, Texas, in July of 1972.

    July, 1972: Smoke and gas from the burning of discarded automobile batteries pours into the sky near Houston, Texas.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • Day becomes night when industrial smog is heavy in North Birmingham, Alabama, as on this day in July of 1972. Sitting adjacent to the U.S. Pipe plant, this is the most heavily polluted area of the city.

    July, 1972: Day becomes night when industrial smog is heavy in North Birmingham, Alabama. Sitting adjacent to the U.S. Pipe plant, this is the most heavily polluted area of the city.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • Water cooling towers of the John Amos Power Plant loom over Poca, WV, home that is on the other side of the Kanawha River. Two of the towers emit great clouds of steam.

    August, 1973: The water cooling towers of the John Amos Power Plant loom over a Poca, West Virginia, home that is on the other side of the Kanawha River. Two of the towers emit great clouds of steam.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • From the National Water Quality Laboratory, a June 1973, photo of the severely deformed spine of a Jordanella fish, the result of methyl mercury present in the water.

    June, 1973: From the National Water Quality Laboratory, a photo of the severely deformed spine of a Jordanella fish, the result of methyl mercury present in the water where it lived.

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • February 1973: Burning garbage at an open dump on highway 112

    February 1973: Burning garbage at an open dump on highway 112

    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

More Slideshows

Protecting Endangered Caribbean Corals

Excessive algal growth is threatening the health of Caribbean reefs, choking out corals and degrading the habitat that other reef creatures depend on. Fish, especially parrotfish, which graze on algae around coral reefs, play a key function in providing suitable habitat for corals to settle and build those reefs.

Images of Mountaintop Removal Mining

Mountaintop removal coal mining, often described as "strip mining on steroids," is an extremely destructive form of mining that is devastating Appalachia. In just a few decades, more than 2,400 miles of streams and headwaters that provide drinking water for millions have been permanently buried and destroyed.