York Town Square

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Rambo run: One small stream … so much stress

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The ornate ceiling at the York Water Co. rises above cashier Susan Arnold. The water company formed in 1816, in part, because of Codorus Creek pollution. A section of an early log pipe used by the water company can be viewed at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum in York. Background post: York’s Reservoir Hill drips with things to see.
Last post explored the popularity of public transportation even in York County’s rural areas – something that has been lost in this day of the automobile.
Well, another point about our past – water pollution – has been with us since our earliest days. And unfortunately has not been lost, even in rural areas.

Indeed, a reason for the formation of the York Water Co. in 1816 was to provide clean water from near today’s Rotary or Baumgartner’s Woods, near Penn State York. The tanneries and outhouses had taken their tolls. York was able to boast in 1816: “Fresh wholesome water has been conducted into town this summer, in pipes, a distance of two miles.”
By the 1960s, pollution threatened even small waterways in the middle of nowhere – steams like Rambo Run, in southeastern York County.
Dan Meckley writes in his booklet “History of the Rambo Run Club, 1957-2002,” that a farmer caused a kill of thousands of fish in that stream and Muddy Creek Forks in 1960.
The farmer had left the hose of a spray rig in the stream and the siphoning effect drained the chemical into the stream.
In 1975, another fish kill occurred, conjectured to be from pesticides.
And then the county landfill was built near a Rambo Run headwater spring, resulting in stream pollution. That was cleared up by pumping 100,000 gallons of clear water per day from wells into the west branch of Rambo Run.
One small stream. So much stress.
Some things, you’d just love to lose.