‘Celebrating Comeback of the Burning River’ Documentary Wins Emmy Award

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Lower Great Lakes Chapter announced this week the awarding of an Emmy for an Ohio EPA documentary chronicling the recovery of the Cuyahoga River. The 13-minute video, “Celebrating the Comeback of the Burning River,” revisits the June 22, 1969, river fire that gained national attention. The creation of federal and state clean air and water regulations (and agencies) soon followed, marking the beginning of remarkable environmental restorations throughout the country, including those improvements now evident in the Cuyahoga River.

“The transformation of the Cuyahoga River is a reminder of what we can accomplish when we work together to protect our water and natural resources,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “It’s also a reminder of why we must continue to protect and improve water quality across the state.”

The documentary was commissioned by Ohio EPA in anticipation of this year’s 50th anniversary of the fire and will be shown at “Burning River” events in northeast Ohio this weekend and throughout the summer. The video details a story of cooperation between federal, state, and local partners (including industry and community/environmental groups) working together to dramatically improve water quality and restore the river’s natural flow from its headwaters to Lake Erie. The Cuyahoga River is one of 43 Areas of Concern identified by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada, with programs and regulations focused on improving the lives of those both in and near the water.

The Emmy was awarded in the Topical Documentaries category and announced earlier this month at a gala in Cleveland with more than 500 broadcasting industry professionals. The video was produced by Cleveland area talent, including Gay Eyerman and Paul Vogelsang of North Water Productions.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

Get to the
Right Person Faster
Notify us about
Non-emergency Issues