Compost Tea on Clay Soils

Humic acid is a component of many different soils and is readily found in natural soil environments. I am also pretty sure this is forming in my composter, since the thing is literally leaking compost tea. Or maybe that’s because I put in too many coffee grounds and it is leaking weak coffee… That’s not important. What is important is that humic acid positively affects the ability of plants to uptake critical nutrients from the soil. Because of this, it is readily available for purchase. Soil comes in a lot of different varieties, but they are mixes of three essential

Won’t Someone Please Think of the Sushi?

A friend picked up the kids from the bus stop last night and I met up with them for dinner at the neighborhood sushi restaurant. See, they love sushi. Ducky is 5 and her favorite food is salmon roe, which she calls “bubbles.” She also loves some raw tuna. Chase is 8 and his first solid food, literally, was raw tuna, which he pulled off my plate and started gumming. Now, why I am talking about this. First, tuna is an apex predator. It eats everything…including things that eat other things. And tuna is so very fatty…that’s what makes it

Climate Change Will Make Chemical Spills Worse

Henry’s law constant (HLC) for a given chemical is the concentration of a chemical in air / concentration of a chemical in water under defined test circumstances. That is interesting, but the important part is that it also describes the volatility of a chemical. The more volatile a chemical is, the more likely it is to vaporize into the air. We’ve all heard the term volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which includes gasoline and tetrachloroethylene, sometimes used in dry cleaning. Those VOCs are those that easily and quickly disperse into the air. But dispersion also affects the environmental fate of the

Music Festival Pollution Prevention

I found the sustainability report for Bonnaroo, the music festival featuring U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a bunch of other bands I am too old to recognize. These music festivals are often thought of as long on talk, but environmental train wrecks producing an insane amount of trash and human waste. So I thought this would be a bit different from, say, another $100 billion manufacturer, like, say, IBM. On the other hand, Bonnaroo is talking to a different audience, so some of the details are presented differently. Bonnaroo does not lay out a defined environmental policy either

The Implementation of the Clean Water Act

The federal Clean Water Act is a collection of laws passed by Congress that together form the principal federal law on preventing water pollution. This includes permanent lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and other nonintermittent bodies of water. Passed in 1972, over the veto of President Nixon, the act was later amended in 1977 and 1987, and is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, who has rulemaking and enforcement powers under the Clean Water Act. The Act addresses surface water contamination, focusing on wastewater treatment and pollution sources affecting navigable waters of the United States. The Act encourages the EPA to

Some Hurricane Science

Hurricanes are the topic of choice this year given Harvey’s record breaking destruction of the Texas coast and the unusual position of three concurrent North Atlantic hurricanes tracking as I write this. Given the circumstances, some are left wondering why this year is unusual. Not since 2005 have see so many powerful hurricanes. And even 2005, those were weaker compared to this year and less frequent. Some of us point to the dangers of climate change, though that is apparently up for debate. In order to understand the role of climate change, it helps to understand a bit of the