• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Technology Update

Air Date: Week of

Cynthia Graber reports on how a TV police chase inspired hi-tech environmental detective work.


GRABER: One night, John Church, an Arkansas environmental official, was watching TV. And there on the screen, a police helicopter was chasing an escaping suspect on the ground using infrared detectors. Suddenly it dawned on him: maybe he could use the same heat-seeking technology to find the source of sewage polluting a nearby lake. Microbes that eat sewage release heat as they work, so sewage water is significantly warmer than ground water. Mr. Church flew over the lake using infrared technology that could distinguish heat differences as small as three degrees, and he found no fewer than 20 sources of sewage. A global positioning system allowed him to pinpoint the exact locations. Municipalities around the nation are interested in Mr. Church's technique. It could even be used to locate sun-warmed pools of water, the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. That's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.



Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth