Like myself, New Bedford Light columnist Jack Spillane has been around awhile. He has worked in New Bedford for many years and during that time we have observed the often painstakingly slow cleanup of New Bedford Harbor.

During a visit this week to Townsquare Sunday, Spillane and I talked about that long history, and who was to blame.

Over a 25-year period ending in the late '70s, businesses like Aerovox and Cornell Dubilier dumped their manufacturing waste into the Acushnet River and various dump sites around the city.

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The waste contained PCBs, used in the manufacturing of capacitors, and is believed to cause cancer in humans. Four decades later, with about $1 billion expended on the cleanup, the work is still not finished.

The Environmental Protection Agency came to New Bedford several weeks ago to announce there was $73 million available to finish the cleanup, and they expected the work would be done in 2023.

Spillane also touched on a state law that would allow an arbitrator to resolve disputes over health insurance involving municipal governments and their unionized employees.

Other communities around New Bedford have adopted the provision and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance costs. Mayor Jon Mitchell requested the New Bedford City Council take action, but Ccouncilors recently refused to even discuss it in the council's finance committee. 

Finally, the New Bedford Light is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month. Modeled after the public broadcasting approach, the Light uses donations to publish an online newspaper reporting stories that matter about New Bedford and surrounding communities.

Congratulations to Jack Spillane and the entire staff on a successful first year. Here's hoping there are many more!

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program, heard every Sunday morning at 6 and 11 a.m. on 1420 AM and 99.5 FM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations seeking to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

Your Complete Guide to Outdoor Dining on the SouthCoast

We compiled a list of all of the restaurants on the SouthCoast that offer outdoor dining. That's right. We did all the legwork for you. Now all you have to do is pick one and call to make that reservation so you can dine al fresco tonight.