Last month, environmental contractors working for the U.S. Navy at Hunters Point Shipyard spilled 1,200 gallons of potassium permanganate, a chemical that can be fatal to aquatic life, into San Francisco Bay. Workers were pumping the substance into the soil, hoping to break up a subterranean plume of toxic solvents, when they realized that the water surrounding the shipyard had turned purple. Somehow, these environmental experts had not foreseen the relatively foreseeable likelihood that the potassium permanganate they had pumped into the ground would eventually seep into the shipyard's ancient, cracked storm sewers and then... More >>>