Saturday, September 11, 2010

A (Slightly) Targeted Keynesian Project

There was a lot of digging on my block this summer: abatement of arsenic-contaminated soil -- ostensibly from a long-gone pesticide manufacturer, in business until 1968, about a half mile away. The money came from the Recovery Act. It raised a lot of questions for me:

   1. Was cleanup necessary; meaning was the arsenic an actual hazard, and was there a better method?
I don't know, but a landscaper friend has suggested a method that might work, much more inexpensively, and with other benefits.

   2. Is the problem limited to this geographic area?
Contamination is proportional to proximity to the old poison factory only at low levels, and otherwise is related to historical chemical use by homeowners, implying that the EPA could take its project just about anywhere.

   3. Is the problem limited to arsenic in garden soils?
Of course not.

   4. Is cleanup society's responsibility?
Yes, in spite of 2.

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