Soils in the City


May 23, 2018

This summer, during the middle of a heat wave, you might want to enjoy a swim at your local beach. But summer is also the time of algal blooms and E.coli alerts—and that can put a damper on your…

August 16, 2017

It’s not every day United States history mixes with microbes in the soil. But when the turf on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was replaced, it offered scientists the opportunity to study…

April 12, 2017

You’re not the only one working hard in your garden or field. The ants who live in the soil are quite the farmers, too. They dig tunnels that provide holes for air and water. They produce organic…

March 08, 2017

Montreal: Famous for its churches, carriage rides…and urban agriculture.

Yes, urban agriculture. Montrealers have cultivated not only a love for food, but also a love for food grown…

January 04, 2017

Jennifer Weidhaas was teaching in West Virginia on January 9, 2014 when about 10,000 gallons of chemicals leaked into the Elk River. The concrete wall holding back the chemicals had eroded. The…

November 02, 2016

Name a current environmental challenge. Global climate change? Loss of endangered species? What about soil contamination?

Soil pollution rarely makes headlines, though it is a prevalent…

July 13, 2016

Water quality scientist Laura Christianson is working on a solution to the “dead zone”—an area with dangerously low levels of oxygen— in the Gulf of Mexico. Christianson lives over a thousand…

May 25, 2016

Most U.S. homes are full of familiar household products with an ingredient that fights bacteria: triclosan. Triclosan seems to be everywhere. When we wash our hands, brush our teeth, or do our…

May 18, 2016

On the South Side of Chicago, East 87th Street ends in a gentle curve more suited to a suburban neighborhood than a gritty industrial area. A few steps further and you’re at Lake Michigan’s…

February 10, 2016

Four empty lots in Chicago’s South Side bear scars of the past. Their surfaces are strewn with construction debris and foundation rubble. However, the most incriminating evidence of the past lies…