The Watering Hole, Tuesday February 3, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Politics – Rural Water

Scientists have studied the water. Rural water (mostly).

The studies come amid new evidence that even low doses of arsenic may reduce IQ in children, in addition to well documented risks of heart disease, cancer and reduced lung function.

“”Arsenic is the biggest public-health problem for water in the United States—it’s the most toxic thing we drink,” said geochemist Yan Zheng, an adjunct research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who coedited the special section and coauthored some of the articles. “For some reason, we pay far less attention to it than we do to lesser problems.”

It’s in the water, mostly rural water, and you know who lives there (mostly).

America’s Worst Unknown Environmental Disaster

Three days before Christmas, a barrier broke and toxic sludge spilled across 300 acres in Roane County, Tennessee.  Now much of this land is under six feet of sludge. This Tennessee coal plant created, for the United States, the largest environmental disaster.

A forty-acre pond containing toxic coal ash has collapsed, spilling out millions of gallons of coal ash. Environmentalists say the spill is more than thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez, but the story has received little national attention.

2.6 million cubic yards of coal ash spilled out of the retention pond, burying homes and roads.  The sludge has flowed into the Emory River, a tributary of the Tennessee River, which provides drinking water to millions of people downstream in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.

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New Yorkers Sue for Toxic Waste Cleanup


Fed up with years of inaction by city and state, residents seek justice.  Lead is one of the contaminates leaking from the landfill, which children generally absorb a higher percentage than adults do.  This is particularly alarming considering there are four schools close by.  One of the side effects is reduced cognitive abilities.

Staten Island residents are going to court to force the cleanup of an abandoned toxic waste dump in the Great Kills section of the borough.

The public interest law firm Earthjustice filed a lawsuit today in federal district court in Manhattan on behalf of the Northern Great Kills Civic Association. The association represents residents living near the 272-acre Brookfield landfill.

Between 1974 and 1980, tens of thousands of gallons of toxic industrial waste were dumped illegally at the landfill, intended only for municipal solid waste. It was one of five city landfills involved in a 1982 federal investigation into illegal dumping which sent a city Department of Sanitation official and a hauling operator to prison.

“Those convicted of dumping this toxic waste have long ago served their time. But 30 years later, their poisonous legacy remains,” said Earthjustice attorney Keri Powell. “We’re filing this lawsuit to make sure this mess is cleaned up and the residents of Great Kills can reclaim their community from contamination.”

Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro, who has long called for the landfill’s cleanup, expressed support for the litigation.

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