Areas along the White River and its tributaries in Indianapolis are affected by pollution from the city’s combined sewer system. View these sites and learn how the city and its residents are responding to the situation today.
Voice Over: Evan Dulaney, Agghilah Nadaraj. Contributors: Allison Baker, Kyrra Clevenger, Evan Dulaney, and Natalie Smith, IUPUI Museum Studies. Produced with Talking Eyes Media
Legal and illegal dumping in Indianapolis have polluted the White River for over a century. See what the problem looks like today and how one local group is working to address it.
Voice Over: Evan Dulaney, Coach Greg Harger. Contributors: Allison Baker, Kyrra Clevenger, Evan Dulaney, and Natalie Smith with IUPUI Museum Studies.
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. Produced with Talking Eyes Media.
Current and historical pollution of the White River disproportionately impacts low-income and immigrant neighborhoods on the west and south sides of Indianapolis. Decades of poor waste management from former industries near the river affects residents today. A sewer system from the early 1900s combines wastewater and storm water in a single pipe that overflows into the river.
Industries valued real estate near the river for access to its fresh water and energy. In the late 1800s, pro-business legislation and practices allowed industries to dump their waste in the river. Discriminatory housing practices and disinvestment created neighborhoods that had few resources to advocate for change.
The Kheprw Institute (KI) is one grassroots organization empowering citizens to address current and future pollution. KI convenes the Environmental Justice Assembly and collaborates with community partners on citizen science projects to educate residents in environmental justice and advocacy.
1925: The Washington St. Bridge carried workers over the White River to industrial jobs and home.
Courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.
2019: The bridge is part of the White River State Park that replaced preexisting communities and industries.
Courtesy of Jacqueline Rooksberry.