October 18th marked the 46th anniversary of the Clean Water Act being passed. Pollution was getting out of control before the law passed requiring a state-wide clean up. Sometimes it's nice to look back and see how far we've come. The Maine Audubon put together this series of images that were taken of the Androscoggin River in 1973 by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of the DOCUMERICA project. According to the Maine Audubon, the horrific condition of this river inspired Maine Senator Ed Muskie from Rumford to spearhead the passage of the Clean Water Act.

Maine Audubon

Can you imagine seeing the river like this today? Granted, that old-timy sepia tone isn't doing it any favors, but STILL.

Maine Audubon

When you have deposits of sludge just chillin' in your lakes and rivers, it's time to reexamine your environmental protection laws.

Maine Audubon

If you didn't tell me this was the river before the Clean Water Act was implemented, I would think it's a picture of the surface of Mars. Thank God (and the government!) for recognizing the dire state of affairs at the time and taking action to protect our gorgeous natural habitat. Certainly seems topical in today's climate, political and otherwise. Happy Birthday, Clean Water Act!