What 100 year flood means

“And this is where you first start getting a sense that maybe engineering hydrology isn’t the most exact of sciences. …none of the Imperial units for these values agree, but if you do the math, the conversion factor is just about one, so we ignore it. We just leave it off! This is not something we take out to the fifth decimal place.”

Holiday Dump Status Report

Thanks to State Representative Michael Ramone, last week the Delaware Department of Transportation served a “cease and desist” order on the leader of the illegal dumping ring that’s been filling the wetlands on Upper Pike Creek Road with construction debris. He was given seven days to remove the fill or DelDOT will do it for him… and charge accordingly.

Unlike DelDOT, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to do nothing, but State Senator Karen Peterson has bluntly told DNREC’s David Small that she will be instigating a senate inquiry if they don’t stop shirking their responsibilities.

State Representative Timothy Sheldon has engaged the New Castle County Department of Land Use. If past history is any guide, Land Use won’t be taking any back talk from contractors or local corrupt cops. The status of the County action can be tracked by looking up complaint #201409617 here.

What a lovely Xmas present for me and my neighbors!

No “right to water” in Detroit

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can’t afford to lose the revenue.

Ever since a bunch of well-meaning idiots who don’t understand basic math or science (otherwise known as the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) declared that clean drinking water is a fundamental human right, activists have been trying to force people and organizations that provide access to safe drinking water to destroy themselves, apparently in the honest belief that inexhaustible supplies of safe water can be magically delivered to every single human being that might ever exist, free of cost, so it can’t matter if we wreck every existing system that actually provides water to people.

All these people have their hearts in the right place, I’m sure, but they have apparently misplaced their brains. The complex interweaving of ecosystems that makes up the terrestrial environment required to support the human race cannot sustain wholesale reallocation of water based on arbitrary human population densities; if a “right to water” actually existed, we’d eventually have to destroy huge swaths of riparian ecosystems in order to keep human desert-dwellers alive. Not to mention the collapse of every existing water allocation system – since they are all based on the idea that human beings will have to fight, work, or inherit wealth in order to obtain water.

The worst thing that could happen to these people (and everybody else) would be for them to succeed, condemning rich and poor alike to a global environmental catastrophe in the name of watering the poor.

Ever wonder where all that road salt went?

Stroud Water Research Center has the the skinny.

A couple of years ago a salt truck driver decided it was quittin’ time and dumped the end of his load in a two-foot deep dune across Upper Pike Creek Road, where it impeded traffic more than the snow it was supposed to be melting. After a while I went out and shoveled it up into a couple of garbage-bag-lined steel trash cans, and I’ve been using it ever since to melt ice at the local Unitarian Church (don’t want those elderly church ladies to slip, they are the backbone of the nation!).

I’d be happier if the USA gave up on salting and plowing roads entirely, but perhaps our people don’t have enough common sense and imagination to survive winter in the real world any more. Certainly most Americans I meet can’t realistically conceive of a world without road salt or snowplows… a world that we once took for granted.