Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nasty Neighbors

I'm going to do a series of opinion pieces regarding clean water. This is the first.

Constant criticism emanating from Spokane regarding the legacy of pollution from the Silver Valley finally got to me. As generations of people, both political and of the media die and others take their place, history becomes revised. Why? Because nothing to this generation is newsworthy unless they can touch it, feel it and taste it.

I call it generational blindness. Few today realize that Spokane would be about the size of Ritzville were it not for the mines in the Silver Valley. The forefathers that built the city and surrounding areas Owned the mines that were blamed for eventually polluted the Spokane River. Most of the wealth in all surrounding areas came from the riches of the mining district.

God. Yes God created more pollution from the Mountains surrounding the mining district than did miners. As nature cut channels for the areas rivers, rock containing all of the minerals found in the area was ground to dust, thence floated down the river.

We speak of heavy metals. Aptly named. You see things that are heavy don't float. These heavy minerals such as gold, silver, lead, etc. that are too dense/heavy to float. What they do, is that when flooding occurs, the gravels and sand that contain them edge down stream very gradually.

Thousands of years after these elements are deposited in water, they eventually reached the glacial lake called Coeur d'Alene. A few more thousands of years, along the natural channel of the river, they edged closer, then finally flowed either over the falls at Post falls or settled out in the bed of the lake.

A few hundred years of flooding in the Spokane River leached some of these minerals on down the river for people centuries later to blame on others. Heavy minerals when later discovered and mined were of value. While some escaped, the purpose of the mining and milling was to capture these elements, not to allow them to escape down stream where they could then again be blamed on reckless Mining Robber Barons.

Try throwing a rock into the River at Enaville. Then imagine how long it will take to reach Post Falls, if ever. That rock is lighter by many times than Lead.

1 comment:

Bill McCrory said...

Now why would anyone go to Enaville to throw a rock in the river? Everyone knows you go to Enaville to eat at the Snake Pit!