(DNAINFO) Leslie Albrecht — John Lipscomb loves boats, open water and the scent of fresh ocean air, but on a recent humid evening at low tide, he couldn’t wait to steer a bathtub-size aluminum vessel onto one of America’s most polluted waterways.
“Shall we?” Lipscomb asked with a hint of glee as he fired up the motor and set a course for the Gowanus Canal, home of water so dirty that humans are warned not to touch it.
Lipscomb is the in-house boat captain for the clean water advocacy group Riverkeeper.
He pilots Riverkeeper’s patrol boat and monitors water quality on the Hudson River and its tributaries. Lipscomb visits the canal once a month to take water samples and hunt for signs of illegal dumping by polluters who sometimes end up getting sued by Riverkeeper and fined by state agencies.