As the city and state released statements on the removal of hazardous waste from beneath the surface of a Gert Town street, WVUE Fox 8 News revealed documents indicating the Mayor’s Office and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality knew the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had detected 100 times the normal level of radium at the street surface. Residents of the area surrounding the site filed a class-action lawsuit in June claiming the city knew about the radioactive materials as far back as 2013 and did nothing. In a 2010 report, the EPA estimated that there are about 15 brownfields — former industrial sites with potential contamination — in Gert Town and 40 in Central City. Mayor’s Office statement on the hazardous waste removal:
The City announced Wednesday that the final four of six total containers with underground material from the work site in the Lowerline and Coolidge area have been removed for transport to Anders, Texas. In May 2018, the Cantrell administration learned about the presence of underground material producing radiation below the road surface at the intersection of Lowerline Street and Coolidge Court.
The city of New Orleans has released a statement on the removal of hazardous materials in Gert Town about two weeks week after about 1,000 Gert Town neighbors filed a class-action suit against the city, according to media reports. WWL-TV first reported on the hazardous waste early in June. Later in the month, neighbors filed a suit claiming the city knew about the materials and did nothing to notify the neighborhood. Crews in hazmat suits dug up the material without alerting residents to its dangers, the neighbors claim. The materials were below the road surface on Lowerline Street and Coolidge Place.
With existing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in place and working toward energy efficiency investments defined in their new Strategic Master Plan, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) expanded its EV fleet with the help of the Clean Fuel Transition Fund for Public Fleets, managed by the Regional Planning Commission’s Clean Fuel Partnership program. This funding helped the Port offset the costs of two plug-in hybrid electric F-150s equipped with extended range technology, including a high voltage lithium battery pack and regenerative braking. The systems, developed by XL, enable an estimated 50% increase in miles per gallon and 33% decrease in emissions. Project partners celebrated this innovative clean transportation project at a ribbon cutting ceremony held Tuesday, June 18, at Port NOLA. “We are pleased to celebrate Port NOLA’s new plug-in hybrid electric trucks, which are helping the Port save fuel, reduce emissions and invest in efficiency,” said Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy D. Christian.
The Port of New Orleans and Regional Planning Commission today will introduce new plug-in hybrid electric trucks to its electric vehicle fleet. The new trucks are part of an overall effort to reduce emissions at the multi-billion-dollar multimodal gateway for international trade. The Port is celebrating their arrival today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its headquarters, 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, at 2 p.m.
The Port has been conducting a broader Clean Air Program. It launched the Clean Truck Replacement Incentive Program, or Clean TRIP, in 2016, offering incentives for voluntary replacement of drayage trucks that service cargo terminals and warehouses along the Mississippi River and the Inner Harbor. Clean TRIP enables truck and fleet owners to voluntarily invest in cleaner air through early truck replacement with cleaner models.
The city’s Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board tonight will conduct adult mosquito abatement by plane in the area surrounded by the Jefferson Parish line, Earhart Boulevard and the Mississippi River. The treatments will be conducted from 7:30 to 11 p.m., weather permitting. Routine surveillance has indicated an elevated number of the Southern House Mosquito in these areas, triggering the treatment. The city uses the insecticide naled, sold under the brand name Dibrom, for aerial applications to control adult mosquitoes, according to the board’s website. Naled is the one of the most commonly used insecticides for aerial sprays, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which also states that only a small amount of spray reaches the ground.
A crisis in the recycling industry is reflected in what we can and cannot put in our recycling bins starting with this week’s pickup, the city announced. Here’s what can go into the bin for curbside recycling pickup:
Plastics: Only #1 (soda/water bottles) and #2 (milk/juice/shampoo/detergent containers);
Paper: Newspapers, junk mail, phone books, catalogs, office paper; corrugated cardboard, boxboard (cereal boxes/soft drink boxes);
Metal: Small aluminum and steel cans. Plastics #3 through #7, wax board (juice boxes/milk cartons) and plastic bags will no longer be accepted by the city’s collection contractors. So the container that once held grated Parmesan or takeout probably can’t be recycled anymore. Check the number inside the triangle; Mardi Gras cups, for example, are generally #5 plastic.
Green Light New Orleans, a nonprofit organization working towards a greener future, invites the public to its Spring Block Party on Saturday, May 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. The festivities will take place at the Fidelity Bank branch at 1201 S. Carrollton Ave (at Oak St.) and will feature complimentary food and drinks, as well as activities for the whole family. “Most people know Green Light for our energy efficient light bulbs, and we’re proud to have given away more than 600,000 of them,” said Founder and Executive Director Andreas Hoffman. “We saw so much success with light bulbs, that we have expanded our programs to include backyard gardens and rain barrels. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to our community, and to make new friends.”
A staple of Green Light New Orleans’ rain barrel program is the public art component, whereby each rain barrel is hand-painted by New Orleans artists and volunteers. Green Light’s Board Chair Rebecca Madura is a local artist who has painted many of the barrels that now collect water across the city.
The Preservation Resource Center is hosting a three-part series to address the risks and challenges climate change presents for New Orleans and the role preservation can play in creating a more resilient future. The first event of the series, to be held Wednesday, is a panel discussion titled “Document.” As the PRC website explains: “As our climate changes, so do our natural, built and cultural landscapes. While we strive to save as much as we can, we must consider what we are poised to lose and how efforts to record and archive can help mitigate inevitable casualties.” The panelists will be Jonathan Foret, executive director, South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center; Daniel Hammer, vice president and deputy director, The Historic New Orleans Collection; and Susan Langenhennig, director of communications and editor of Preservation in Print, Preservation Resource Center.
Hoffman Triangle residents are invited to come out to Taylor Park on Saturday, April 6, from noon to 2 p.m. for a family-friendly event to learn about ways they can reduce flooding by planting trees, installing rain barrels and reducing paving. “Many neighborhoods in New Orleans, including the Hoffman Triangle, are vulnerable to repeated flooding,” said Dana Eness, executive director of the Urban Conservancy. The Urban Conservancy is working with Launch NOLA Green, Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), Green Light New Orleans, Water Block, and the city’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability — as well as Hoffman Triangle residents, churches, schools and others — to improve the neighborhood’s stormwater conditions. “This event is part of a larger outreach effort aimed at understanding community needs, assets and growth opportunities” says Atianna Cordova, founder of Water Block and outreach manager for the project. At the Green Your Neighborhood event, Hoffman Triangle residents can learn about effective stormwater management techniques and resources to help reduce flooding on their properties and on their streets.
A new Tulane University study questions the reliability of how sea-level rise in low-lying coastal areas such as southern Louisiana is measured and suggests that the current method underestimates the severity of the problem. The research is the focus of a news article published this week in the journal “Science.” Relative sea-level rise, which is a combination of rising water level and subsiding land, is traditionally measured using tide gauges. But researchers Molly Keogh and Torbjörn Törnqvist argue that in coastal Louisiana, tide gauges tell only a part of the story. Tide gauges in such areas are anchored an average of 20 meters into the earth rather than at the ground surface.