Underwater drones reveal giant toxic waste dump off the LA coast

After decades of stories in Southern California claiming chemical companies had regularly dumped toxic waste into the waters of the Pacific, a group of marine researchers deployed maritime drones to look for signs of substantiating evidence. They found more than they bargained for: over 27,000 metal barrels on the ocean floor, many if not all of which were originally filled with DDT and other poisonous matter.

Autonomous drones map gigantic ocean toxic dump

The discovery was the work of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which dispatched two underwater drones to map 46-square miles of seafloor between the Santa Catalina Islands and Los Angeles coast. During that operation last March, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) used high-frequency side-scan sonar at depths of 3,000 feet to uncover the enormity of the toxic threat researchers had wanted a peek of. What they revealed were more than 27,000 metal barrels – just a portion of the over 100,000…