CAFOs: The Scary New Math of Factory Farm Waste

photo: open-air lagoon for waste processing at a concentratedd animal feedlot operation (CAFO)

CAFOs often store animal waste in massive, open-air lagoons, like this one at Vanguard Farms in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Bacteria feeding on the animal waste turns the mixture a bright pink. picstever / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property … [more…]

Record-setting rain has created a biosolids problem for sewage treatment plants

photo: Biosolid treatment by-products use stalled due to heavy rains

Photo: Record-setting rain in the D.C. area has caused problems for local sewage treatment plants. (Robert Miller/The Washington Post)

Sewage treatment plants throughout the Mid-Atlantic are dealing with a smelly problem: The farmland that typically uses the material that remains after the treatment process as natural fertilizer is saturated from last year’s heavy rains.

That means utilities have to store the biosolids until the farmland dries — and some of

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California’s New Governor Calls for a Tax on Drinking Water

photo: California governor Gavin Newsom proposes tax on drinking water

Communities throughout the state struggle with dangerous pollutants in their supply, but opponents of the suggested tax say there is no need to tax residents in order to solve the problem.

California’s new governor has wasted little time continuing the state’s seemingly limitless expansion of government. Governor Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, published last week, suggests instituting a tax on drinking water in the name of cleaning up California’s water … [more…]

On Water Problems, Governments Actually Work Together

photo: wildlife is affected by algal blooms. On Water Problems, Governments Actually Work Together

Photo: Algae blooms are a frequent problem in Lake Erie. (AP)

When it comes to dirty lakes and rivers, governments have learned how to cooperate.

The greatest lubricant for intergovernmental harmony may well be water. I know that sounds odd, but the nation’s largest bays and lakes offer compelling examples of how multiple states can work with each other — and also with towns and cities, federal agencies, universities, nonprofits, … [more…]

Clock Ticking on Florida’s Mountains of Hazardous Phosphate Waste

photo: pile of waste after fertilizer manufacturing. The Clock is Ticking on Florida’s Mountains of Hazardous Phosphate Waste

One of the largest fertilizer manufacturing plants in the world sits about six miles southwest of the Polk County hamlet of Mulberry, with its entrance in walking distance of the Hillsborough County line. About 800 employees work there, turning phosphate rock into nearly 4 million tons of fertilizer and animal food ingredients every year. They also produce a lot of waste.

That’s not unusual for the phosphate industry. Drive through … [more…]