Adding More Plastic to Our Oceans Could Clean Them Up

Read the full story in Wired.

Chemist Abby Knight has created plastic microbeads that grab onto toxic metal in contaminated groundwater. She douses the balls in a dye to see how much metal they’ve absorbed.

For U.S. Tribes, a Movement to Revive Native Foods and Lands

Read the full story in Yale Environment360.

On ancestral lands, the Fond du Lac band in Minnesota is planting wild rice and restoring wetlands damaged by dams, industry, and logging. Their efforts are part of a growing trend by Native Americans to bring back traditional food sources and heal scarred landscapes.

Massive cleanup plan emerging for U.S. Steel site in Duluth

Read the full story in the Duluth News Tribune.

After years of neglect, the site of the long-closed U.S. Steel Duluth Works may be be on the verge of revitalization.

Following decades of steel and cement production, the industrial property along the St. Louis River in western Duluth has the unfortunate distinction of being the most widely contaminated site to be identified in all the Great Lakes Rust Belt, according to Erin Endsley of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

New study shows how nanoparticles can clean up environmental pollutants

Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Many human-made pollutants in the environment resist degradation through natural processes, and disrupt hormonal and other systems in mammals and other animals. Removing these toxic materials — which include pesticides and endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A (BPA) — with existing methods is often expensive and time-consuming.

In a new paper published this week in Nature Communications, researchers from MIT and the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil demonstrate a novel method for using nanoparticles and ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly isolate and extract a variety of contaminants from soil and water.

Siting Renewable Energy on Potentially Contaminated Lands, Landfills, and Mine Sites

EPA is encouraging renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when it is aligned with the community’s vision for the site. This initiative identifies the renewable energy potential of these sites and provides other useful resources for communities, developers, industry, state and local governments or anyone interested in reusing these sites for renewable energy development.

This Abandoned Coal Mine In Scotland Is Now A Modern-Day Stonehenge

Read the full story in Fast Company.

In five years, Scotland plans to run on nothing but renewable energy. The country’s few remaining coal mines are shutting down, leaving a question: How should towns deal with the ugly scars left behind by abandoned mines?

Near the village of Sanquhar, the answer is a massive, 55-acre work of land art. Looking like a modern Stonehenge, it builds a miniature multiverse from 2,000 boulders found on the site.

Attracting Infill Development in Distressed Communities

Many communities across the country have been revitalizing their older neighborhoods, traditional downtowns, and central business districts. However, economically distressed communities have been less able to attract this kind of infill development and attain the accompanying economic, environmental, health, and quality of life benefits.

EPA’s new report, Attracting Infill Development in Distressed Communities: 30 Strategies, can help these communities determine their readiness to pursue infill development and identify strategies to better position themselves to attract infill development.

  • It presents strategies and case studies to establish priorities, policies, and partnerships and change public perceptions, which can help make infill development more feasible.
  • It discusses innovative strategies to help finance infill development and replace aging infrastructure.
  • It includes comprehensive self-assessment questions communities can answer to determine if they are ready to pursue infill development and if particular strategies are appropriate for their context.

Many of the strategies in this publication stem from work in Fresno, California, that was part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative, which provides intensive technical assistance and capacity building to economically distressed cities. EPA and the state of California partnered with the city to convene a task force of experts in development finance, law, public policy, planning, and business to identify strategies to promote infill that were feasible in Fresno’s challenging economic and fiscal environment. EPA developed this publication based in part on the task force’s work.