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Boston Cleans Up Famous Harbor With New Sewage Tunnel

Aired September 7, 2000 - 2:20 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: It became a source of national embarrassment during the 1988 presidential campaign. Now Boston is cleaning up its famous harbor.

CNN Boston bureau chief Bill Delaney with our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL DELANEY, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): In Boston Harbor, cleansing historic waters, where a lot more than tea's been dumped for generations: the opening of a nine-and-a-half-mile tunnel, the longest of its kind in the world, to gush treated waste water, along with other refuse, way out in the Atlantic Ocean, no longer right into the harbor.

ROBERT DURAND, MASSACHUSETTS SECY. OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: It's going to enhance the harbor, it's going to enhance the Boston Harbor islands, critically important, the last great urban wilderness, providing great opportunities for our children and their children. And that's what it's all about.

DELANEY: The tunnel's generally supported by scientists and environmentalists, who predict a harbor clean enough to swim in, and that waste water and refuse so many miles out to sea will disperse. Detractors, though, fear red tide algae blooms and other unpredictable effects from so much new sewage where it's never been before.

Still, transformation for a harbor George Bush Sr. used in negative advertising back in 1988 to successfully befoul the environmental record of his opponent for the presidency, then Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

Three workers died since construction on the $390 million tunnel began in 1991. Twenty-four feet wide, embedded in bedrock on the ocean floor, it will carry an average 320 million gallons a day, and can carry 1.2 billion gallons a day, as the harbor the country sprang from now, again, springs to life.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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