Environment

One Year Later
4:18 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

The Smell Threshold of a Chemical Spill

Operation Elk River Spill
Credit West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

One year ago a chemical spill into West Virginia’s Elk River shut down the Charleston area water system for weeks. Scientists are still studying what happened in one of the largest municipal water emergencies in the country… as legal action on the case gets underway.

On the day of the chemical spill, the first clue Charleston area residents had that there was a problem with their water was the smell.  They reported the water smelled something like licorice.

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DEQ Report
4:00 am
Mon December 22, 2014

VA's Waterways At Risk

Credit Creative Commons: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Virginians tired of the cold weather may already be dreaming of summer plans—days on the beach, swimming, fishing, kayaking, jet skiing, or canoeing on favorite waterways.  But in some cases, those plans could get canceled because rising pollution and bacterial levels force temporary closures of those locations. The Department of Environmental Quality’s latest “Impaired Waters” report makes that scenario more likely for a larger number of waterways.

DEQ's Bill Hayden says the impairment is not necessarily due to more pollutants.

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Fighting for Clean Water
7:41 am
Fri December 19, 2014

What To Do With Toxic Coal Ash

Environmentalists are glad to see Dominion Power shutting down coal burning power plants, but they want the utility to do something about the waste left behind when coal is burned.  

At the Chesapeake Energy Center, Dominion has stored tons of coal ash for decades.  Deborah Murray is an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

“They have just simply been storing the coal ash for about 60 years now in unlined pits, and the evidence is very clear, and Dominion’s own records show that it’s contaminating the ground water.”

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Grant-Winning Research on Water Quality
1:23 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Solving Real World Problems

While some high school kids are playing video games or watching movies on their cell phones,  eight students from Charlottesville are trying to solve a serious global problem – how to turn polluted water into something people can drink. 

Last fall,students at St. Anne’s-Belfield School decided to enter the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams challenge – a contest that awards 15 grants of up to $10,000 for research on real world problems.  Bob Troy chairs the high school’s science department. 

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Food For All & Food For Thought
7:34 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Big Hearts and Food A-Plenty! In Floyd

It’s estimated that one in seven people in this country go hungry, but in Floyd County Virginia, there’s “Plenty” to go around.  

In the U.S., many go hungry, even as food is wasted every day.   That’s what led a group of people in Floyd to create Plenty! – an organization that tries to smooth out the curve between too much and not enough.  They first got the idea 5 years ago, when McCabe Coolidge’s partner, Karen Day, had a bunch of left over beet greens.

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