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Monday, June 16, 2008
Making Ugly Pretty: Superfund365
While surfing the web I came across this amazingly pretty website: Superfund365. I love the layout and colors!
The back story, though, is not so pretty. The website explains:
WHAT EXACTLY IS SUPERFUND?
The EPA states that: "The Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country." As of September 2007 there are 1,315 final and proposed sites on the National Priorities List (NPL), but thousands more wait for approval. We would have to run Superfund365 for about three and a half years to cover all the sites that are currenlty listed as NPL.
The authors started in September 2007 and the site changes daily for a year as they travel across the country. I'm most drawn to the colorful wheel that shows everything from the responsible parties, contaminants and acres affected. There's also a key to help sort through it all. The bottom has a timeline that reminds me of old chemistry charts, perfect for this site. And if you have content you can add it to the profiles.
At the same time, as pretty and amazing as all of this looks, it's also heartbreaking! There are so many areas polluted, people affected and still it will take years to clean up. It gets me pretty riled up. Also listed are the top 25 responsible parties that have sites, let's take these companies to task! The list includes Chevron, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, General Electric, General Motors, and many, many more.
I was, sort of, surprised to find my home town listed on the site, day 79:
I can tell you first-hand from growing up there that the water is gross, I wouldn't drink it now but few knew any better for years. I remember it smelling like rotten eggs sometimes when it came out of the spout. This site lists John Baker as the responsible party, don't know who that is and according to the EPA site the contamination is from "an unknown source." Are you kidding me? Maybe it was the old General Products company that, as I've heard, used to take it's waste and dump it down old wells. Classy.
It's so sad because the region is home to beautiful glacial lakes, wineries, forests and has the potential to be a top destination spot. Of course, this is not the only reason tourism hasn't completely taken hold in the area but that is too broad a topic for me to even tackle right now. I hope this site can bring more awareness to these types of situations and help to make sure the responsible parties, well, take responsibility!