where the writers are
Environmental Tip #2

Just got back from New Orleans and watching the city rebuild.  Unfortunately, some of the products being used in the reconstruction process are not particularly sound from an environmental point of view.  One of these is the use of copper for roofing and downspouts.  Although very pretty, the copper can leach off during rain (which in a place like New Orleans happens quite a bit) and head down the storm drain. 

In most places in the country, rain water flows to storm sewers, which are separate from the sewers that flow to the local wastewater treatment plant.  Instead, storm water and urban runoff flows mostly untreated to local rivers, creeks, lakes, or the ocean.  As the stormwater hits the ground, it picks up pollutants and carries them along.  Many of these pollutants are naturally occurring, such as bacteria, metals, and minerals.  However, others are not, such as pesticides, fertilizers, oils, and antifreeze.

Metals like copper in high enough quantities can be toxic to small aquatic critters, so having a less toxic alternative to copper roofing and downspouts would be preferable.  Plus, as an added benefit, there is less chance that these items will be stolen because copper piping, roofing, and other sheeting have increasingly become a theft magnet due to the high recycling value.  Just something to consider as you begin your Spring "Honey Do" list.