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Environment

Katrina J Houdek / Creative Commons

Although we think of this spring flowering shrub as quintessential New England, it hales from Eastern Europe and Asia. It's fragrant, beautiful and a sure sign of spring. It's the lilac. 

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

The Department of Energy has declared an emergency at a nuclear-contaminated site in Washington state, after soil caved in over a portion of a tunnel containing rail cars contaminated with nuclear waste.

"All personnel in the immediate area have been accounted for — they are safe — and there is no evidence of a radiological release," Destry Henderson, spokesperson for the Hanford site's emergency operations center, said in a brief statement on Facebook.

When three sacred staples of the South weren't safe from the cloudy, salty water in his town, Clay Duffie knew there was a problem.

"It'd kill your azaleas if you irrigated with it; your grits would come out in a big clump, instead of creamy like they should," Duffie said.

Even the sweet tea.

"Your tea would come out all cloudy," Duffie said. "Oh man, it was bad news."

Karim D. Ghantous / Creative Commons

Turn back the clock just a couple of centuries, and to our ancestors, the alchemy of electricity would seem like magic: with the single flip of a switch, our rooms are bathed in light.

StuffNThings / Creative Commons

A survey of hundreds of private wells in Connecticut found around seven percent contaminated with unsafe levels of arsenic or uranium -- elements linked to a variety of illnesses.

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