Toxic waste in New Orleans


It is already certain that there will be a need for widespread toxic waste abatement in New Orleans. The city is covered in a poisonous toxic brew, and not all of it will be pumped out. Fortunately, America has developed an entire industry comprising a wide range of firms which design and implement solutions to clean up all kinds of pollution, and render land suitable for re—use.

But engineering these solutions takes time. Once the engineering specs are done, large amounts of construction machinery (called "yellow metal" in the trade) and a wide range of labor and management skills will be needed. This will all take time, and it will be expensive. I know a little bit about the industry because I am on the board of directors of a firm in this business. Our company, whose closest facility is in St. Louis, may well be called in for work. We'll see.

As the inevitable debate takes place about what parts of New Orleans to rebuild, keep in mind that the lowest—lying areas have been under water longest, have had more solids settle out, and the most pollutants seeping into the soil. They will have the worst pollution problems, and will cost the most to clean—up. And I understand they include many of the poorest areas of the city.

Thomas Lifson  9 06 05