Not usually one for hit-and-run linkage posts, but here goes:
The floodwaters covering downtown New Orleans are apparently highly, highly contaminated. There have been rumours of rescue dogs dying after drinking the water, and I wouldn't be shocked if the same nasty fate befell some of the stranded survivors waiting to be rescued. Some of us saw a news report the other day in which a reporter held up a bottle of the stuff, and it was black. Like Coke. So someone asked me, why is the water so badly polluted?
"Floodwater in the city became contaminated as it cascaded through streets and into more than 160,000 homes and businesses. The torrent split open containers of household chemicals, overturned automobiles and cracked their gas tanks, and disturbed underground gas and oil tanks. ... Experts believe the majority of the contamination in New Orleans floodwater comes from ordinary household chemicals and oil-based products." according to preliminary tests that have been done. Nevertheless, you'd think 20 billion gallons or so would provide a lot of dilution, especially for odd things like lead.
Unless there's an equally large source somewhere, right? Hasn't gotten much mention (until about an hour ago, anyway), but there was an old toxic waste landfill practically underneath one of the levee breaks.