Wednesday, October 12, 2005


New Orleans: "Toxic Soup" floodwaters not all that toxic, after all

Another Katrina horror story turns out to be nothing but a myth:

First we learned that state and local officials had no idea what was going on, that Nagin’s “10,000 dead” and the police commisioner’s “43 incidents involving officers taking fire” were nonsense based on nothing in particular.

Then we learned that much of the reporting about the horrific aftermath was nothing more than just reporters reporting rumors reported by other reporters. There were no armed mobs roaming the city, no mass rapes, no bodies stacked like cordwood in the freezer at the convention center.

Now we learn that
the “toxic soup” of floodwaters wasn’t really all that toxic after all. In fact, it was pretty much just like any storm water from any other rainstorm in New Orleans. Except, obviously, there was an awful lot of it:

The floodwaters that inundated New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina were not as toxic as some had feared, according to a new study.

Researchers at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge found that the water was similar in content to the city's normal storm water. The findings are published in the online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

"What we had in New Orleans was basically a year's worth of storm water flowing through the city in only a few days," said study leader John Pardue, director of the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute at LSU. "We still don't think the floodwaters were safe, but it could have been a lot worse. It was not the chemical catastrophe some had expected."

Some experts had predicted that the floodwaters from Katrina could destroy chemical plants and refineries in the area, releasing a deadly brew containing toxic levels of benzene, hydrochloric acid and chlorine.

Actually, many "experts" stated the "toxic soup" myth as established fact. And the media dutifully reported it over and over, like the all the other exaggerated and fabricated nonsense.

Here's a link to the "Overview" of the original report, published in Environmental Science and Technology Online. And here's a link to the full study.

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