This blog started out as an anti-biosolids piece of art (LOL), and although it has evolved to encompass a wide range of topics of national and international concern, I still proudly think of myself as a gutter grunt.
My career as a gutter grunt began back about 1970 when I got my first taste of sludge, literally. I was working as a pollution abatement peon in the Ohio Dept. of Health’s wastewater engineering division before there were any environmental protection agencies. When the Ohio EPA was born I was transformed from a Dept. of Health peon to an OEPA peon earning the same amount of money and still pulling filthy, smelly, oily water samples out of various Ohio orifices, such as sewers emptying into the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland where US Steel and about 1000 chemical plants were dumping every nasty thing you could imagine straight into the river. It was crawling back up into industrial sewers to collect samples that led to the sobriquet “Gutter Grunt.” It has stuck — both the memory of the smell as well as the name.
The Cuyahoga soon after became internationally famous for catching on fire, but I swear it wasn’t my cigarette that lit the river up. Really. I don’t even smoke.
Decades later, here I am, schlepping around in the poo again — political poo, this time. Just as bad. Just as smelly. But at least you can’t torch a river with it.
And so I remain,
Denis O’Brien, the Gutter Grunt