Decades after the nation’s capital began its historic cleanup, sanitary sewage still occasionally swamps the Potomac River. Are sewage systems also dumping human waste and other pollutants into waterways near you? This week’s TipSheet has the background on the problem of combined sewage overflow, as well as resources for finding out what’s happening near you.
Water & Oceans
"Texas has a dirty secret. Its industries are routinely violating environmental laws by dumping excess chemicals and human waste into its rivers and bays, often without consequence."
"The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians of southern Louisiana have been called America’s first climate refugees. But two years after receiving federal funding to move to higher ground, the tribe is stuck in limbo, waiting for new homes as the water inches closer to their doors."
"HANGA ROA, Easter Island — The human bones lay baking in the sun. It wasn’t the first time Hetereki Huke had stumbled upon an open grave like this one. For years, the swelling waves had broken open platform after platform containing ancient remains."
"Flood risk, a perpetual concern in porous, low-slung South Florida, is far worse here and across the continental U.S. than now projected under Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps used by homeowners to decide where to buy insurance, according to a new assessment."
"A picaresque tour of infrastructure reveals a struggle for control all along America’s great river, full of questions about what it once was, doubts about what it will become and who will pay for any of it."
"The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water after a new analysis of some of the world’s most popular bottled water brands found that more than 90% contained tiny pieces of plastic."
"Documents show that Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Scott Angelle has spent more than 98 hours meeting with oil and gas lobbyists and executives since he began the role last May. In contrast, during this same time he only spent 1.75 hours with NGOs."
While environmental themes were less prominent at the Sundance Film Festival this year, our correspondent JoAnn Valenti unearthed ecological messages from documentaries that explore the emergence of climate change refugees in the face of sea level rise, the escape from modernity into wilderness and the confrontation of environmental threats by young innovators.
Coal ash can contaminate surface and ground water with toxic heavy metals. But as this week’s TipSheet reports, Trump deregulation aims to loosen EPA rules on its disposal. That may mean a big local pollution story. If journalists can find the data, that is. The latest on the new rules, plus resources for coverage.