Environment

Crews begin tearing down a portion of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 2. They drench the debris to prevent the spread of lead and arsenic contamination to the surrounding neighborhood. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Lauren Chapman

Demolition began Monday afternoon on East Chicago’s West Calumet Housing Complex, but the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site still leaves former residents concerned for their future.

An excavator slowly tore down a duplex at the corner of Magnolia Lave and Aster Avenue as water canons sprayed onto and surrounding the building to prevent any contamination.

 

From the facilities that sanitize sewage to the pipes that deliver drinking water, Indiana needs billions of dollars in urgent water infrastructure repairs. Some of that infrastructure is more than a century old.

According to Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), Indiana was wooden pipes, lead pipes, pipes that have been in the ground for 140 years.

“The best of the best utilities are on a replacement cycle of something like 140 years,” he says.

in.gov/greggforgovernor.com

A leading Indiana environmental organization won’t endorse in the gubernatorial race because it doesn’t have “enthusiastic support” for plans put forward by either Republican Eric Holcomb or Democrat John Gregg.

Steve Francis is the political chair of the Hoosier chapter of the Sierra Club. He says Indiana’s environmental issues – for instance, its reliance on coal and health issues created by poor air quality – have been ignored by the current administration.

Judy Palermo/Indianapolis Zoo

Voluntary conservation farming practices are measurably decreasing nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin, and this good news: from the Midwest, all the way down the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Nick Janzen reports, the Indiana trend in conservation is reducing the pollution that creates harmful algae blooms and the gulf’s dead zone.

The Indianapolis Zoo, as part of the dolphin exhibit, has a video of dolphins swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re swimming near a boat, pushing air through their blowholes.

Daniel X. O'Neil / https://www.flickr.com/photos/juggernautco/

Purdue research showing that during some months, residents along the Wabash River use an amount of water equal to the river’s entire volume has raised questions about a new problem – tracking all that h2o. A study from the university’s school of civil engineering shows a huge lack of cooperation among county, state and federal agencies when it comes to reporting water usage.

International Society of Arboriculture

In a university town, September usually means one thing: college football. But there’s another sport at Purdue you probably won’t catch on the Big 10 Network. Every fall, arborists from across the country immerse themselves in the world of competitive tree climbing.

Yes, it’s an actual thing. The winner of Indiana’s championship gets a lot of aboriculture swag – a fancy water bottle and a handsaw is included in the prize package – and a chance to compete at the international tree climbing finals next spring.

Indiana To Ban All Microbead Products By 2018

Aug 11, 2015
Melly Kay / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lessapathymorecake/

Indiana is one of at least seven states to ban a substance found in toothpaste, face soap and other personal items.

Plastic microbeads act as an abrasive to provide scrubbing action. But Tim Maloney with the Hoosier Environmental Council says their tiny size poses a risk to fish and wildlife after they go down the drain.

Indiana Biz Leaders Cheer SCOTUS Pollution Ruling

Jun 29, 2015
Alan Berning / https://www.flickr.com/photos/14617207@N00/2621375759

The Supreme Court has sided with Indiana and 22 other states in throwing out a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation of coal-burning power plants.

Separate coalitions of states and businesses sued over a new mercury emission standard. A 5-4 Supreme Court agreed with their argument that the EPA unreasonably ignored the cost of compliance in drafting the rule.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar contends the regulation would impose crippling costs on utilities for very little gain in air quality. And he says other businesses would see electric bills soar.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

“Worse than doing nothing” – that’s how critics describe Indiana’s new energy efficiency effort crafted by Governor Mike Pence and the General Assembly. 

Environmental and consumer advocacy groups say the new energy efficiency program is going to drive up costs for residential consumers. 

Under the approved legislation, each utility company must develop its own energy efficiency program…and they can raise rates to cover any revenue they lose because of decreased energy usage. 

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Think about the last delicate package you received. When you opened the box, there’s a good chance it was also full of packing peanuts – huge numbers of which go to landfills each year.

But Purdue researcher Vilas Pol sees another use for the ubiquitous packing material. He envisions a time where instead of decomposing, the packing peanuts are helping to power electrical devices.

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