The U.S. had a pretty toxic and deadly week in landscape reads. We learn how, remarkably, tourist poop is flown by helicopter out of national parks, how Silicon Valley exports toxic waste all over the country, how poison lurks in old televisions, and how the land can just fall away in the form of Washington’s deadly mudslide.
A Massive, Devastating Mudslide in Washington State
The earth fell away in Washington this weekend. Weeks of rain helped a river undercut a remote slope, triggering a massive mudslide that has led to 14 confirmed dead and 108 people still missing. Unfortunately, landslides like this are part of the Northwest’s geological heritage. “The glaciers that sculpted our landscape and created high bluffs also left behind the sandy, crumbly soils that make slopes prone to collapse,” writes Sandi Doughton. [Seattle Times]
The Toxic Legacy of Silicon Valley’s Superfund Sites
Back in the days when Silicon Valley got its name — back when it actually created hardware — the chemicals used to make computer chips leached everywhere into the ground. This toxic waste is the reason for the Valley’s concentration of Superfund sites. Unfortunately, Superfund cleanup spews its own toxic trail across the country, as the chemicals are trekked from California to as far away as Pennsylvania. [Center for Investigative Reporting]
Tourist Poop In National Park Removed by Helicopter
I’m sure that you, like me, have happened upon a remote bathroom in the wilderness and wondered, do these bathrooms ever get cleaned? Well, they do — once or twice a year, it turns out, at Zion National Park, at least. Last month, the park closed for its most recent “helipoo” operation, as a helicopter flew twelve 500 lb drums of tourist poop out of its remotest bathroom. [KUTV]
Do We Need a Toxic Waste Site Just For Old TVs?
Remember CRTs, those bulky old TVs we all had in the 1990s and before? Those old TVs (and computer monitors) were so heavy because they were full of leaded glass, which you can’t just put in a landfill. Even recycling companies don’t want to deal with the toxic metal anymore, which means this could be an environmental disaster waiting to happen. “We need a Yucca Mountain for all our CRTs,” writes Robert McMillan. [Wired]
Top image: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren