Chicago: the greenest city *snicker*

Based on the frequency of news coverage about polluted soil or buildings in Chicago, you might think there really isn’t much of that here. After all, only a single EPA National Priorities List site exists in Chicago. But it was tough to get listed because the city would rather not have those blemishes on its record.

And cleanups of pollution happen all the time, all over the city, as the map below shows when you zoom into Chicago. Have there have been any near your house or workplace in recent years? The key below explains the different colored pins.

BLUE: Federal CERCLA (“Superfund”) sites in Illinois that are on the National Priorities List. There is only one NPL site in Chicago, at Lake Calumet on the far south side. (Note: Except for the location of the Lake Calumet site, these pins are approximations based on the city associated with the listing.)

YELLOW: CERCLA cleanups that are NOT on the NPL, whose city is listed as “Chicago.” Exact addresses were used in this case. These cases, as you’ll read below, are interesting.

TURQUOISE: “Non-voluntary” (usually court-mandated) cleanups performed or supervised by Illinois EPA. Again, exact addresses used.

A few disclosures after the break…

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Best of Twitter 4: My own green thoughts

Flickr CC photo from Jim Linwood.

Flickr CC photo from Jim Linwood.

Blogging about Applied Sciences, Inc, the world’s third largest producer of carbon nanotubes – tech that could double the Volt car’s milage. 4:32 PM Feb 12th

If it’s true that the first passive solar building stateside will be in Yellow Springs (near here), I’m on it like weatherstripping. 8:51 AM Feb 19th

If we kept all compostables from landfills, they’d be smaller but have more concentrated toxicity. & do compostables help break down toxics? 3:46 PM Feb 21st

I’m passionate about the “triple bottom line,” AKA “People, planet, profit.” I love responsible companies. 10:57 AM Feb 25th

I literally just smuggled home glass bottles from my in-laws’ trash can in order to recycle them. My wife would be appalled: “Recycle Nazi!” 6:19 PM Mar 15th

I made a narrated slideshow about a company whose carbon nanofibers double the capacity of any li-ion battery. 2:01 PM Mar 26th (See next tweet, also)

Yes, that’s right – capacity doubled for electric cars, trains, laptops, everything. Don’t know why this hasn’t hit the NY Times front page. 2:04 PM Mar 26th

Which is greener to store and ship food: recyclable cans, recyclable glass jars (not reused), or non-recyclable Tetra Paks (trademark)? 5:15 PM Mar 26th

Are there Superfund sites near you? Could they still hurt you and yours? Find out: 11:39 PM Mar 28th

Looking for green organizations, whether media, literary, academic, causes, or products? Check out who I follow- I’ve tried to be selective. 1:15 PM Apr 2nd

Ever wondered what companies or gov’ts in your area have permits to pollute waterways? It’s as easy as a zip code: 39:33 PM Apr 4th

I had been thinking about switching to a straight razor because a single blade can last 7-10 years. Lotta waste saved! #ecomonday 10:08 AM May 4th

Green bloggers out there: plan to attend the Investigative Reporters and Editors ( conference next year. This year’s was rockin’. 10:59 AM Jun 16th

Superfund multimedia extravaganza!

Or at least, that’s what I call my textual-visual-auditory, multi-platform news story about the nearest Superfund site to me, Lammers Barrel Factory.


The old (and toxic) "Lammers Barrel Factory" is next to a residential subdivision.

In case you didn’t get to see the TV news package a couple weeks ago, here it is again. (If the video’s still squished, pardon me. The fix is on the way.)

But now I have more for you. Much, much more.

I’ve written a web-magazine format story with all the juicy details I haven’t included elsewhere before.

Here’s a really cool feature: a video of the actual 1969 fire that released all the pollution. It was shot by a Beavercreek fireman with a Super 8 camera. Since the video itself didn’t have sound, music was inserted into the background when the footage was digitized a few years ago. Kip Smith, currently Battalion Chief with the Beavercreek Fire Department, was kind enough to narrate the 15-minute long video. (He was at the fire, too.)

Last but not least, you can view a slideshow of pictures I took about a month ago at the site itself. I know you’ll be curious about this place, so spare yourself from getting the cancer-causing chemicals on your shoes and look at the pictures I took.

TV news pollution report

I produced this TV news package for a newswriting class this semester. I’m currently working on a full-blown cross-platform version of this story. That’ll include a web (text) version as well as three radio stories, a slideshow, SMS updates, PDF copies of official documents, extended “directors cut” interviews and more.

Sadly, until I can render a version of the video above in a less-compressed format (I did it in AVI), it looks like Youtube will play it squished. Even though I followed all directions about aspect ratio, the site scrunches my video in from both sides, killing the native 16×9. I don’t like it as-is, but it’s still viewable until I have more time to re-render.

The “anchor” is played by my friend Chris P. Powers, and he also did all the Adobe Premiere work involved, plus the graphics. The research took a long while, but his work really makes it look professional. Thanks, Chris!