water

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Fall foliage season is right around the corner. But will the summer's lack of rain impact the colors we see on trees? 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

In the last couple years, millions of people across the country have learned their drinking water contains high levels of the contaminants known as perfluorochemicals. These are used to make non-stick products like Teflon and pizza boxes. 

When people hear the word drought, they likely think of California. But there's also an extreme drought in parts of New England. The Northeast is experiencing the worst drought in more than a decade.

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A chemical spill in Southington has mobilized cleanup crews and resulted in a warning for nearby residents to avoid a section of the Quinnipiac River.

Devastating floods in Louisiana have left an estimated 40,000 houses damaged; some 86,000 people have applied for federal disaster aid in the wake of the disaster.

It's a crisis some people are comparing to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The disaster area stretches over 20 parishes, Eileen Fleming of member station WWNO reports, and officials are working to determine how to provide temporary housing to meet the extreme need.

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Connecticut is prepared to go to court with the state of New York over the right to dump dredged materials in eastern Long Island Sound. 

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Most of Connecticut remains in a moderate to severe drought, despite the recent storms. In an average year, many areas would have seen at least eight inches more rain at this point in the season. 

Devastating floods in southern Louisiana have killed at least five people and pushed tens of thousands from their homes.

As the Two-Way reported Sunday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency over the weekend, describing the flooding as "unprecedented and historic."

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Cumberland, Rhode Island popped up on a list of cities and towns that have unsafe levels of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. It’s used to make Teflon. It turns out those levels have dropped significantly in the town over the past year.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Modern biologists catch and study fish much the same way they did centuries ago: by shoving their hands, or a net, into the water and pulling fish out. But safely catching slippery fish can be tricky, which makes one piece of gear invaluable: electro-backpacks. 

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Connecticut native Devin McEwan will follow in his father’s footsteps when he competes in this year's Olympic Games in Rio. His father, Jamie McEwan, was a two-time Olympian who competed as an American slalom canoeist in 1972 and 1992.

The region's ongoing drought has forced state officials to restrict or ban outdoor water use in 54 New Hampshire towns and cities.

The state's drought management team has classified the North Country and the White Mountains as “abnormally dry,” while four counties in the southern tier are suffering severe drought conditions. 
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Summer often means inconsistent weather. Hot, sunny days are followed by high humidity (or mugginess, as my mother likes to call it) and sometimes severe thunderstorms.

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Michigan is not the only state with a water crisis on its hands. Right now, communities in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont are grappling with their own water contamination challenges. It’s just that for these states, the problem does not stem from corrosive water or aging lead pipes, but from a toxic chemical known as PFOA. 

A new law, years in the making, mandates that all public schools in New York State test for lead in their drinking water.

Lead is a neurotoxin that has been linked to learning disorders and lower IQs, especially in children. Back in the 1980s, the federal government tried to regulate the amount of lead in school drinking water but failed.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A new kind of water contamination has shown up all over the U.S., including New England.

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Most of us have heard that our bodies need eight cups of water every day to stay healthy and hydrated. Some think that's the minimum we should drink to prevent the chronic dehydration that doesn't trigger the usual warnings of dryness, like thirst.  

"I will not rest, and I'm going to make sure that the leaders at every level of government don't rest until every drop of water that flows to your homes is safe to drink, and safe to cook with, and safe to bathe in," President Obama told an energetic audience in Flint, Mich. "Because that's part of the basic responsibilities of a government in the United States of America."

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New York's Indian Point nuclear facility has faced a number of recent incidents including fires, blown transformers, and most recently detection of radioactive water near the facility. This hour, an update on the situation there and in Florida where the Turkey Point nuclear facility is under scrutiny.

We also hear from WNPR’s David DesRoches, who has been following the story of PCBs in Connecticut schools and in Alabama.

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As the lead-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, continues, Connecticut's Department of Public Health said lead contamination levels in public water systems in the Nutmeg State are extremely low. 

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Some residents say a Bloomfield attorney should have recused himself from offering the town legal advice on a tax abatement for a water bottling plant because he works for the water authority.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Creative Commons

New York's Indian Point nuclear facility has faced a number of recent incidents including fires, blown transformers, and most recently detection of radioactive water near the facility. This hour, an update on the situation there and in Florida where the Turkey Point nuclear facility is under scrutiny.

We also hear from WNPR’s David DesRoches, who has been following the story of PCBs in Connecticut schools and in Alabama.

Keoni Cabral / Creative Commons

The project to bring a bottled water facility to Bloomfield will be up for discussion at the State Capitol Friday.  There's a public hearing on a bill that would make it harder for bottling companies to get discounts on the public water they buy. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

For Nutmeggers who drive to work on the state’s jam-packed highways or pile into Metro-North trains during the morning rush, the thought of commuting by sea might seem like a tranquil alternative -- but not necessarily a realistic transit option.

A plume of toxic chemicals has been spreading slowly underground near the former Northrop Grumman plant in Bethpage, N.Y., for 60 years. It was formed by a chemical that the defense contractor used to build fighter jets for the U.S. Navy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the state began testing ground water in Massapequa, which sits in the plume’s path between the old plant and the ocean, to see if and when the plume might pose a danger to people who live nearby.

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Residents opposed to a new Niagara water bottling facility in Bloomfield are holding a public meeting Thursday. They say the company and the town chose to keep the public out of the loop until it was too late. And they say public records back that up. 

In Flint, Mich., families are using bottled water to do everything — from cooking to bathing.

The tap water is still unsafe to drink after government officials allowed corroded lead pipes to poison the water.

People in Flint have lots of questions for those officials. Perhaps the biggest is the one Hattie Collins has.

"When are you gonna fix it? And I mean fix it right," she says.

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The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan has spurred national and local outrage as allegations arise of environmental racism against lower income and black communities. A public health advocate said there needs to be more collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies to resolve the problem.

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The Michigan Civil Rights Commission announced it will hold hearings to see whether discrimination played a role in the handling of Flint’s water crisis. The decision came early last week, amid allegations of environmental racism against the city’s largely black community.

This hour -- from Flint, Michigan to New Haven, Connecticut -- we learn about the environmental justice issues affecting America's low-income communities of color. 

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Did you know that roughly one-third of the food we produce each year is either lost or wasted? This hour, Food Foolish co-author John Mandyck tells us how reducing global food waste could help mitigate the stresses of hunger, water shortages, and climate change. 

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