Barry Andersen (American, b. 1945)
DimensionsSheet : 17 x 22 in. (43.18 x 55.88 cm)
Credit LineGift of the Artist
LabelThis aerial photograph by Kentucky artist Barry Andersen depicts a group of wastewater lagoons. Wastewater lagoons are often used by power plants and factories to store water that is contaminated by chemicals and other toxic byproducts of their operations. The idea is that the water will gradually evaporate, leaving behind a thick sludge that can be more easily treated or disposed of. Wastewater lagoons are supposed to be lined with a layer of impermeable clay and contained by thick clay embankments, but inevitably some lagoons experience leaks that spread the contaminated water into local rivers, streams, and underground aquifers. Even when they don’t leak, the lagoons still pose a danger to migrating birds and other wildlife that do not understand the water is toxic.