Safe drinking water is an issue that’s been playing out from Parkersburg, West Virginia to Hoosick Falls, New York. It’s a question many courts are taking on. Among the most recent is in North Alabama, where residents and a water authority are suing 3M, maker of products from Scotchgard to Post-It Notes in connection with toxins in the water supply. The EPA is expected to release new guidelines on safe levels this spring. Meanwhile, the fight is on over who might foot the bill if a cleanup is in order.
Jefferson County's sewer system has been troubled for decades. First it spewed sewage into area rivers. Then, years of corruption prevented repairs from being done and forced the county into what was then the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. The county has spent billions to fix the sewer system, but some neighborhoods in Jefferson County haven't seen much improvement at all.
Birmingham is in a valley, resting at the foothills of the Appalachians. The city’s creeks collect water running down from the mountains and filter it through the floodplains. Last week, WBHM reported on developers today taking a new interest in the 1925 Olmsted Plan for parks and green space in Birmingham. The Olmsted Plan preserved the city's major tributaries, specifically those of Village and Valley Creek.
The Land Water Conservation Fund is a federal act that provides funding for parks that aren't a part of the state's park system. After five decades, it's set to expire in September, and Congress has yet to act on it. This has some Alabamians worried. Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper WELD, comments on this and other stories.
North Birmingham neighborhoods have long struggled with pollution from nearby heavy industry. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency accepted a civil rights complaint against the Jefferson County Health department…filed by a local environmental activist group. Nick Patterson, the editor of WELD, tells WBHM what’s in the complaint and why it matters.
Feizal Valli worked as a bartender in New Orleans for over a decade. When he first moved to the city back in the 90s, New Orleans was known as the murder capital of the country. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Valli was living on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. He talked to WBHM's Ashley Cleek about his life before and after the storm.
It has been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, and John Fields, curator at the Abroms-Engel Institute of Visual Arts and Birmingham native, lived in New Orleans when the disaster hit. In honor of the tenth anniversary of Katrina, he talked to WBHM's Gina Yu about his experience and the way it changed his life and art.
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