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Weekly Environmental Updates
Severe flooding this week in Texas and Oklahoma resulted in loss of life, displaced hundreds of residents, and ruined water and sewer systems. Nine to 18 inches of rain fell causing widespread damage and hindering motorists. Although the heavy rains brought wide-spread devastation, officials also noted that the excessive rainfall helped to alleviate drought conditions in the area.
The EPA will be releasing a new rule that clarifies ambiguities in the federal Clean Water Act that will result in providing more protection to streams and wetlands. Opponents, which include business groups, farmers, and some local governments, maintain that the new rule will create confusion and give federal agencies too much regulatory authority. The EPA states that 60 percent of streams and wetlands lack protection under current rules.
Treatments designed to clean wastewater may be creating new antibiotics, according to recent research. Chlorine used to treat wastewater is changing the makeup of the antibiotic doxycycline, creating an even stronger antibiotic than the original. Antibiotics found in wastewater come from homes, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies and cannot be broken down via treatment.
Residents of Pittsburg can now check out an air quality monitor from the library and use it to assess their own home. The $200.00 wi-fi device can be borrowed for a few weeks at a time. The developers of the monitor are trying to place it in other libraries across the country.
Over 800 people died this week in India due to extreme heat. Temperatures rose as much as 117 degrees in Allahabad, resulting in an official advisory for residents to stay home from work during the hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Construction workers, the elderly and the homeless accounted for most of the recorded deaths.
Caterpillars may be the next weapon in the war against drugs in Columbia as officials look at using the larvae of coca-eating moths to destroy coca plants. It's believed that caterpillars of the Cocaine Tussock Moth eat an exclusive diet of coca leaves at a rate of 1.5 times their body weight in a day, which may be enough to spoil a coca growers crop. The voracious larvae won't be set loose on the coca fields until a study is completed that confirms no other plants will be harmed in the process.
Roman Hills