Is lead contamination ancient history?

Lead's use may be – but we still have a lead problem, especially in urban areas. The first extraction of the metal lead from ores was ancient – around 7,000 BCE. In the millennia since, Egyptians have used it in cosmetics, Romans in their pipes, the British in their ammunition, and now every society in … Continue reading Is lead contamination ancient history?

What’s being done to restore wetlands?

Wetlands are fun places to get muddy, enjoy the outdoors, and listen for birdsongs. They provide important habitat for wildlife, and for recreation. You’ve likely seen wetlands on the fringes of lakes, on river floodplains, along the coast, and anywhere else where water accumulates on the landscape. Wetlands are found at the intersection of earth/soil … Continue reading What’s being done to restore wetlands?

Determining the impact of Deepwater Horizon’s spill on soil

Immediately after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill some immediate questions posed were: how bad is the spill in terms of coastal pollution; and,what new technologies could be brought to bear for environmental quality assessment? To evaluate these questions engineers and spill responders were brought in. Their job was to evaluate new and innovative technologies that … Continue reading Determining the impact of Deepwater Horizon’s spill on soil

How did Deepwater Horizon’s spill affect the coastal soils and wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico?

April 2020, is the 10th anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We are dedicating this months’ Soils Matter blogs to the topic of the wetlands and soils, how scientists helped determine and solve some related issues – and where the wetlands are in their recovery. British Petroleum’s Deepwater … Continue reading How did Deepwater Horizon’s spill affect the coastal soils and wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico?

What is phytoremediation?

What could be greener than using plants to clean up polluted soil? Phytoremediation, the use of green plants to repair unhealthy soil, has sparked the curiosity of scientists and plant lovers for decades. Plants can do things that people can’t, like pull pollutants out of soil while leaving the soil in place. Why worry about … Continue reading What is phytoremediation?

Why are petroleum, chromated copper arsenate and radon bad for the soil?

As outlined in our February 15, 2019 Soil Matter blog, natural soil is uncontaminated. Use by humans, especially in cities, can cause some unintended consequences. Long-term exposure to items like petroleum products, chromated copper arsenate and radon can cause problems for humans – and other plants and animals dependent on healthy soils. Petroleum The most … Continue reading Why are petroleum, chromated copper arsenate and radon bad for the soil?

Dealing with the fallout in Fukushima – Part 2

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the unprecedented Tohoku earthquake. It was the largest in Japan’s history, and created a massive tsunami that impacted Japan’s northeastern coast. A result of the earthquake and tsunami was the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This meltdown had immediate and long-term impacts on the area. The … Continue reading Dealing with the fallout in Fukushima – Part 2

Dealing with the fallout in Fukushima – Part 1

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the unprecedented Tohuku earthquake. It was the largest in Japan’s history, and created a massive tsunami that impacted Japan’s northeastern coast. A result of the earthquake and tsunami was the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This meltdown had immediate and long-term impacts on the area. This … Continue reading Dealing with the fallout in Fukushima – Part 1

What is “soil friendly” eating?

There you are at your local grocery store. Maybe you have a shopping list and maybe you don't. Perhaps you're already hungry or are pressed for time. Maybe someone in your household has a food allergy or is on a special diet. The store may be offering promotions or featuring particular products. These are just … Continue reading What is “soil friendly” eating?

The Irish Potato Famine – could it happen again?

Ireland wasn’t always dependent on potatoes, but in the decades leading up to the famine, more farmers started growing potatoes. As a crop, potatoes are inexpensive and high-yielding. As a food, they are packed with calories and nutrients. The Irish potato famine occurred in the mid-1800s, the result of a fungal disease. Let’s look at … Continue reading The Irish Potato Famine – could it happen again?