12 September 2005
The Big Greasy
Steel Turman throws cold water on the very idea of making New Orleans livable again; what's left behind after the flood water recedes "makes Chernobyl look like a small grease fire in your neighbor's kitchen." To wit:
Katrina flooded hundreds and hundreds of businesses and warehouses. These contained such nasties as solvents used in cleaning, degreasing, the manufacture of plastics, the computer industry, the making of paints and creation of other solvents. They also contained chemicals like sodium hydroxide (lye), potassium hydroxide (potash), dioxins found in older electrical transformers in the form of PCBs, chromic acid used for a myriad of applications llike rechroming, sulphuric, hydrochloric, nitric and ascorbic acids. So too, will be tons and tons of chemicals like carbon tetrachloride, tri-chlorethane, tri-chlorethylene, hexachlorophene and several others whose general use was banned in the early 1970s. Trust me, when they were banned, many enterprising folks stockpiled them. New Orleans is home to one of only a couple of plants where ethelylene glycol is made. That would be anti-freeze to you. The flooded hospitals will cough up radiological agents like strontium 90, plutonium and cesium all used for xrays. They will also yield many many biohazard critters like HIV AIDS, tuberculosis, streptococcus, staphlococcus, an assortment of exotic tropical disease samples and formeldahyde. It is impossible to imagine how many fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other agricultural chemicals were innudated. There will be entire vats of tannic acid used in tanning, zinc used in galvanizing, 'liquor' from pulp facilities, alcohol, paint, a wide gamut of petroleum products, ether, MBE, mercury, chlorine, fluorine, a veritable pharmacopia of drugs and hormones from the health industry and assorted rare earths, salts and obscure heavy metals.
And that's just the inorganics:
There will be thousands of tons of human and animal waste, same for decaying flesh and plant matter. And then there's the bacteria. Just stop a second and consider the huge variety of bacteria to be found in sub-tropical New Orleans. And all of this organic material will LOVE all the vitamins and growth stimulants and nutrients in this slop. It will BLOOM.
Clean it up? Forget about it:
In any other place with even one 100th of this level of contamination, the topsoil would be scraped to a depth of 18 inches minimum and that soil would be incinerated. But the sheer size and scope of the affected area almost precludes that.
I think this would probably discourage me from Mardi Gras for a while.
(Via Daily Pundit.)Posted at 1:53 PM to Dyssynergy