It’s a cleaner harbor, with fewer spots to enjoy it

We are at the dawn of another summertime in the city, and along Boston’s sparkling waterfront, ferries dodge porpoises and sleek boats glide through sparkling water and head for moorings in a harbor that once was — quite literally — an open sewer.

If he closes his eyes, Peter Shelley can easily conjure up those bad old days. How could he not? For a half of his lifetime, as a lawyer for the Conservation Law Foundation, the fight to clean up America’s dirtiest harbor was the engine that propelled him.

He remembers the crumbling sewer pipes. He can tell you the name of the man who once, while strolling along Quincy’s Wollaston Beach, stepped in human excrement, the byproduct of a sewage plant broken beyond repair. He was a witness to the astonishing betrayal by public officials who let it all happen.

Those bad old days are gone.

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