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The sorry state of NC coal ash-infused water … abetted by government meddling with science …

If you live near a coal ash pond in North Carolina, you might look up the scientific definitions of vanadium and hexavalent chromium.

You won’t like what you find.

Those carcinogens (plus other harmful chemicals) are the residue of coal ash seepage into groundwater and appear in alarming  quantities in hundreds of rural drinking water wells. The state offers assurances that the water remains safe to drink. By ‘the state,’ I mean the non-scientific political portion of North Carolina government. Indeed, earlier this year the state rescinded previously-issued advisories cautioning citizens to avoid the water. Water quality standards were, the state reasoned, too stringent.

The recision came against the advice of two state scientists who monitored water quality for a living. Those two scientists are now gone, in part because they objected to the state action as intentionally misleading residents about the safety of drinking water. The scientists feel the professional rug was pulled from beneath them by political operatives in an election year.

Some, including the editorial boards of some newspapers, have called the state out for ignoring the educated view of scientists who think the overriding public interest needs to be protected when negative water quality headlines make for bad political PR for an incumbent governor, Pat McCrory, who’s up for reelection but lags in opinion polls.

This story isn’t over, and likely won’t be for some time.


Long live the sponge. Literally.

The scientific longevity database AnAge says the Antarctic hexactinellid sponge can live an estimated 15,000 years. Its kin, the epibenthic sponge can live to 1,550 years.

Colder water seas are also kind to other long-living creatures. The ocean quahog, a clam, can live for 500 years. The Greenland shark tops out age-wise at 392 years and one bowhead whale, also an Arctic denizen, lived to the ripe old age of 211 years.


IMG_2025My Friday walk turned up – surprise! – another bagful of litter.

Man, it really gets old doing this. One day I’d love to take a stroll for the sake of exercise and not find any more junk to pick up.

Dream on.

About Dave Bradley (259 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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