Solidwaste Magazine has posted an excellent article about the leeching of highly toxic chemicals into the floodwaters: Katrina: “Love Canal-type landfill” submerged in floodwaters:
Overlooked in many news reports about the unfolding storm disaster in the southern United States, especially in the City of New Orleans, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, is a potentially dramatic pollution issue related to a toxic landfill that sits under the flood waters right in the city’s downtown, according to map overlays of the flooded area. The situation could exacerbate the already dire threat to human health and the environment from the flood waters.
The Agriculture Street Landfill (ASL) is situated on a 95-acre site in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. The ASL is a federally registered Superfund site, and is on the National Priorities List of highly contaminated sites requiring cleanup and containment. A few years ago the site, which sits underneath and beside houses and a school, was fenced and covered with clean soil. However, three feet or more of flood waters could potentially cause the landfill’s toxic contents – the result of decades of municipal and industrial waste dumping – to leach out.
What a terrible, terrible fucking mess.
I’m watching them pump this water back into the lake and listening to folks talk about moving back in and rebuilding the city… the stupidity and ignorance is overwhelming. It’s all reaction and no thought which really reflects the way our society deals with reality. It is not rational. We continue to create and dump these terrible toxic chemicals and eventually we will pay the price. New Orleans will be a dark, miserable example of what awaits us if we continue our current path.