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  • Online publication date: December 2014

5 - Chemical Infrastructures of the St Clair River

  • Edited by Soraya Boudia, University of Strasbourg, Nathalie Jas, INRA - National Institute for Agronomical Research
  • Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
  • pp 103-116

Dead life falls to the bottom of the seabed, settles in the mud. Sand and silt slowly gather above. Time passes, sediment presses, seas recede. Under pressure the once live substance waits. Millennia pass, then, in 1858, oil that has lain in the archive of sediment for so long is pulled up into activity by North America's first commercial oil well in Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada. Oil gushes higher than the treetops, slathering the workers and the land, turning the Black Creek black, running into the Sydenham River which then empties nearby into the St Clair River.

The St Clair River forms a natural passage between wide Lake Huron and shallow Lake St Clair. Water then continues to flow south as the short Detroit River, which then empties into Lake Erie. Within the Great Lakes region that straddles Canada and the United States, the St Clair and Detroit Rivers together cut a border between the United States on the west bank and Canada on the east. Water flows from mostly white Sarnia at the top of the St Clair River down towards the ruins of contemporary majority black Detroit. Today, the St Clair is a deep water shipping channel connected to inland shipping laneways leading out to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is crossed by bridges that carry railroads and highways that then go on to traverse continental North America.

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Toxicants, Health and Regulation since 1945
  • Online ISBN: 9781781440353
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