Thousands of factories once lined the waterfronts of U.S. cities, churning out textiles, chemicals and many other products. Most of the buildings are long gone, often replaced by parks or surrounded by neighborhoods, but the pollution they dumped into the water and soil can remain. In many cases, that pollution was never documented, write sociologists Thomas Marlow, James Elliott and Scott Frickel.
When these legacy sites flood today – and that risk is rising – the water can overwhelm common pollution containment methods, the scholars write. Using historical directories, they mapped thousands of these legacy sites onto new flood risk maps and found that the U.S. is vastly underestimating the flood contamination risk.
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