Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017

Double trouble

1 absent EPA climate report, 2 flooded Superfund sites

Floodwaters from last month's storm ripped apart fences and flooded Interstate 10 east of Houston. The San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund site is just on the other side of the road.
(Rebecca Hersher/NPR)


NPR, Houston Public Media & Associated Press

Hurricane Harvey flooded more than a dozen Superfund toxic waste sites when it devastated the Texas coast in late August. An EPA report predicted the possibility of climate-related problems at toxic waste sites like those in Texas, but the webpage detailing the report was taken down before the storm. For experts who draft cleanup plans for hazardous waste sites, those documents serve as vital reference material. The absence of this report may now be playing out in Texas, where compromised Superfund areas may prove to be a lingering threat.


Lake Okeechobee hits highest level since 2005

WINK Fort Myers & Naples Daily News

Water in Lake Okeechobee is at its highest level since 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday. The Corps is releasing water into the surrounding rivers and performing weekly inspections on the Herbert Hoover Dike, spokesman John Campbell said. The combination of rainfall, hurricane runoff and Lake Okeechobee releases have driven freshwater miles into the Gulf of Mexico and has made the Caloosahatchee estuary virtually disappear.


Do sediment diversions help or hurt Louisiana?

WVUE New Orleans & The Lens

In 1862, in Cubit's Gap, Louisiana, an oysterman carved an opening in the river bank. Sediment that poured into the bay created miles of land in less than a century and continues to do so today. But when Katrina hit in 2005, it wiped out most of that land in hours. Some researchers think Cubit's Gap is key to Louisiana's plans to build more land with man-made sediment diversions. Others, however, think the diversions worsened Katrina's storm surge. Who's right?