Is the "toxic" NO water being pumped straight into lake Ponchatrain?

From my understanding, the city of New Orleans is filled with a toxic brew of water steeped for a week and a half with gas, oil, PCBs, heavy metals, and numerous other contaminants. Is this water just being dumped into lake Ponchatrain? Is there any attempt being made to clean it up? Will there be later, or is the lake expected to simply replace the Anacostia river as the most-polluted water in the US? I don’t know what kind of ecosystem the lake has, but won’t this mess it up pretty badly?

It is being pumped back in. It is not being filtered. They don’t have time or the means to clean it up. I have heard some weird schemes about pumping it deep in the lake and then cleaning ip up later. Apparently, a lot of the pollutants sink and tend to stay put. To the best of my knowledge, that is not being taken seriously. It is a huge lake a hopefully it will be able to heal itself over time.

I have a suspicion that the “polluted water” angle is being played up quite a bit. Guess we’ll see by and by.

Was Lake Ponchatrain a “clean” lake before? Did people fish, swim, and waterski?

At one time it was very polluted, but in recent years it was an environmental success story, and had become safe for swimming, etc.

So much for that. :frowning:

According to the AP, as quoted in the New York Times the EPA claims the New Orleans water contains at least excessive levels of “sewage related bacteria.”

It’s a brackish saltwater estuary.

There’s recreation and ecology info here:

I may not know what I am talking about but I would guess that sewage related bacteria would just clean up by itself over time.

That’s probably correct. The major concern is the high levels of lead and fuel in the existing floodwater.

On NPR yesterday, a correspondent who had travelled with rescue crews talked about the pollution. There are odd-looking steel islands; these are submerged cars. Each one has a rainbow slick trailing from it as the gasoline leaks out. It’s the same at each gas station, only bigger. During the flooding, you could see sewage gushing out of sewers. Just in the last couple of days, a huge slick of crude oil was spotted next to a pair of big storage tanks at a refinery. The EPA says there’s a lot of lead in the water, too, but they don’t know where it’s coming from.

I heard that, too, but oil and gasoline float. So it seems like you’d have a huge polluted ‘sandwich’ in the lake. Pollutants on top and pollutants on the bottom. Ick.

Both easier to clean than a big bowl of polluted soup though … .

There’s really no way to filter it. The amounts involved are simply too huge, and the material we want out too fine. Pumping it into the lake is a darn sight betetr than the sea. In the lake the thin stuff will eventualy evaporate (though this causes other trouble) and the thick will fall. We can suck out oils and things over time.

I heard a radio talk show host refer to the water in New Orleans as “feces gumbo.”

Now that’s an image that will linger. :eek:

Speaking of gumbo, I’m sure the oysters and shrimp harvested from the waters around Louisiana for years to come will be completely uncontaminated.

Right, guys?


Shrimp and oysters come from out in the Gulf mainly. I don’t think that the hurricane affected the deep waters they live in much (but I could be wrong). I did hear that there was only one shrimp’in boat that survived the storm though. I bet those guys are going to make a fortune.

Up here we have comedians speaking of “Scumbalaya”, “Decayjun”, and the ever-popular “Poo Boy”.

So appetizing, and I like Cajun cooking.

Mmmmm, feces gumbo. Thanks for that image. :eek: :rolleyes:

Quick!!! Call Lt. Dan!!!

Bring chocolate!

I wonder how many headless shrimp they will catch? :wink: