When given a choice of tea bags and hot water, I really consider them all and though Earl Grey is a good name, I hardly ever choose it because the favor just isn't right for me. Lemon and plain old Lipton end up my choice, being what I am most accustomed to since it was the only tea choice available in the stores in west Texas where I grew up. But a glass of cold sweet tea in the summer with plenty of ice, man that certainly can be the answer.
When I learned mining just north of Miami was done underground in an aquifer pumped dry for 60 years, then the pumps were turned off and the mine caverns of course filled up with water. I like to explain that water got bad by how it came to be brewed down there, much like sun tea without the sun, just by sitting there and when it was just right, or wrong, it was going to release itself all brewed perfectly with all the metals still in the mines findable in the water, plenty of lead, zinc, arsenic and cadmium, manganese and sulfur, and iron lots of iron to give it just the right color. That brew of mine water I have called "toxic tea" has been flowing down Tar Creek since 1979, now think about it, do the math, thirty-nine years. How long is a generation? in people years? I always figured in school years, 12 years of school plus 6 years to begin with, but with kindergarten and pre-school, I get closer to 20. So to my reckoning that is almost 2 generations, who never enjoyed a Tar Creek as the Miami city fathers would have had in their early city planning, planting their town between a creek and a river as they did.
The black tea that entered and blended into Tar Creek just a bit ago overtook it's orange tinge and changed the color for the time to true black. We will need to be watchful of our waters as it rolls by for changes in color, bubbles and of course dead fish. The bubbles or foam could be telling you there are nutrients being added to the water.
The other type of tea I have been familiar with is compost tea. Compost tea for gardeners is an extra step many now believe can be over-kill for the garden. It is made by adding water to compost, letting it sit to brew and then adding that water directly to plants. The too much is a good thing can kick in and harm the plants with an overload of nutrients. When manure is one of the ingredients that tea is even more potent.
This potent type of compost tea is what J-M Farms recently revealed was the cause of the fish kill and the black water in Tar Creek. Since it was a pipe involved sending the company's tea down the creek, they have been working on repairs that will prevent this from happening again. I am looking forward to seeing what that fix looks like on their property in a few days. We know that the water in Tar Creek is tested all the time by several entities but it has been getting great attention lately. Almost every day samples are being driven to Oklahoma City to the Department of Agriculture laboratory to be analyzed to determine actions that must be done for continued improvement. I am hoping the results will show our creek is rebounding nicely.
Clean water, we need it, and we have all been waiting for it. There will be a lot more money spent to make this little creek better. Former Senator Ed Muskie of Maine who fought for the Clean Water Act in 1972 asked:
Can we afford clean water? Can we afford rivers and lakes and streams and oceans which continue to make possible life on this planet? Can we afford life itself? Those questions were never asked as we destroyed the waters of our nation, and they deserve no answers as we finally move to restore and renew them. These questions answer themselves.
The Clean Water Act was a no brainer and was passed during the Nixon Administration and parts were made more clear during the Obama Administration on what WOTUS (Waters of the U.S.) means. It covered navigable waters but was vague on how far upstream protections should go to keep those water bodies clean.
We need to pay attention to the small print in what is going on with current EPA decisions because we can lose the protections the Clean Water Act intended. We need also to be watchful for the changes in the water bodies around us and make those calls to the regulators bound to protect them.
Take some time to be by running water, and make a glass of ice cold sweet tea to cool down. Think about how Tuesday afternoon felt like Friday and Thursday like another Monday this week.
What is right is wrong what was orange turned black.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim