Coal Ash in the Dan River: Counting the Costs

A pipe that ran under a coal ash pond at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station in Eden, North Carolina ruptured on February 2, 2014. It sent coal ash gushing into the Dan River.  That’s barely a month after a … Continue reading

Benjamin Franklin’s battle against water pollution

Some time ago I came across a web page that claimed Benjamin Franklin as America’s first environmentalist. To begin with, Franklin petitioned the local government in 1739 to forbid tanneries to dump their wastes into the Delaware River. Unfortunately, the … Continue reading

Hazardous household wastes: Do you know what you can’t throw out?

Imagine you teach an introduction to chemistry. One of your students proposes an experiment: mix together all the used oil, unneeded paint, expired prescription medicines, pesticides, and all the various products that accumulate under the sinks in a typical house … Continue reading

Waste management from dumps to landfills

Humans have always produced a lot of waste. From prehistoric times until fairly recently, people who lived in towns just dumped the waste somewhere. Now we have the sanitary landfill. What’s the difference? Have we found an adequate solution? Dumping … Continue reading