Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Long Island cemetery plan draws environmental concerns

People opposed to a proposed cemetery plan on Long Island worry that embalming fluid (formaldehyde) and heavy metal from caskets could pollute groundwater. Here's an interesting tidbit from the article:
Little research has been done in the United States on cemeteries' potential to pollute groundwater. Experts say conditions vary from site to site. Much depends on soil type, density of graves, and age of the burial ground - in the 19th century, arsenic was used to preserve bodies, a practice since stopped."It's an important issue that has not been solved," said Alison L. Spongberg, a geologist with the University of Toledo who studied water quality at four Ohio burial grounds. "A graveyard is nothing more than another type of landfill ... Of course they have to affect the groundwater if you put too many in one spot."

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