We learned Friday that the DNR is crediting We Energies with dumping the equivalent of 208 dump trucks-full of soil, debris and coal ash, or about 2,500 cubic yards of the stuff, into the Lake Michigan.
So how much did that weigh? I can visualize 208 dump trucks strung out like a long, long freight train, but give it to me in a measure I can relate to, like the weight of so many quarts of milk, or phone books, or Zaffiro's extra-large pizzas.
How about in pounds to help me get an idea of the weight of We Energies' big lake big dump?
One conversion website has these various measurements:
Earth, loam, dry, excavated - 2106 pounds/cubic yardTo be fair, it looks like one of the last three categories - - so let's average it out to about 2,850 pounds per cubic yard - - so if I have done my math right, 2,850 x 2,500 = 6,250,000 pounds.
Earth, moist, excavated - 2430 pounds/cubic yard
Earth, wet, excavated - 2700 pounds/cubic yard
Earth, dense - 3375 pounds/cubic yard
Earth, soft loose mud - 2916 pounds/cubic yard
Earth, packed - 2565 pounds/cubic yard
I imagine if I went down to the Lakefront and emptied a 50-pound bag of chemically-laden soil and debris out in the water near Bradford Beach, it'd probably net me a fine of a few hundred dollars - - maybe $250, or $5 a pound.
So I'd suggest the DNR compute a penalty for We Energies with a $5 multiplier - - a simple fin or five-spot per pound of dirt and coal ash - - on behalf of Lake Michigan, and its fisheries and the water we drink from part of the world's largest surface fresh water supply - - and ding the company $35,625,000.
No volume discounts, please.
As the famous philosopher-king Roundy Coughlin at the Wisconsin State Journal used to say, "What could be more fairer?"