• Member Since 1st Nov, 2012
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Admiral Biscuit


I’d say don’t do drugs, kids, but I suppose if you lick them off a pony, it’s okay.

Sequels1

T
Source

This story is a sequel to The Trouble with Unicorns IV


Sal knows that he can sell a contaminated brownfield property to a group of unicorns: unicorns might know a thing or two about buying real estate, but they don't know anything about soil contamination.

Somebody's about to learn a valuable lesson.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 154 )

:rainbowlaugh:

I hope you keep these up, Admiral.

Just wait until they find out about the asbestos insulation...

What is with you getting ponies to deal with toxic material? You had that one about mercury, and the pony that ate the Tide Pods. You’ll be sending them to Flint and having them drink the water next...

9188366
You, yeah you, stop trying to kill me with laughter.

Also, Biscuit, great story as usual, I expected nothing less.

Ha Ha! That's what you get Sal when you try to screw over ponies. They just take things literally and do the right thing.

Wouldn't it be great if we could hire unicorns to remove our toxic wastes? Maybe they could even help us figure out how to properly reuse them. And then remind the transgressors that that is not the way friends treat the earth or each other.

Double friendship lessons! Twilight would be so very proud!

So a big pile of free purified cadmium. I take it that is not a desirable thing?

Cute story... but yeah I'm with Venerable Ro on this one... who has the mineral rights? I think cadmium's still used for batteries, right? ...Google now tells me it's also in solder, which I did not know.

For some reason, the first thoughts that came into my mind when I first saw the title was: “oh, another The Trouble with Unicorns story“ and “these are so out of order”.

P.S. Congratulations on the feature, though it seems to be a normal thing for this series.

P.S.S. At least it’s not chlorine trifluoride. But then again, if there’s chlorine trifluoride in the soil, there are bigger problems than “what should we do with it?”.

9188425
Here’s the “applications” section of the Wikipedia article on Cadmium. Interestingly, it can be effectively used in nuclear control rods.

A truly elegant solution.

More-or-less what I had expected to have happen. I was not disappointed.

Dan

9188407
Wiki says Cadmium is worth $4-$5 per kilo at 99.95% purity.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/598234/cadmium-price-average-in-the-united-states/ says in 2010, average price per kilo was $1.77 but since then has fallen to .67. It doesn't mention purity, though.

FTL

9188407
Would the cadmium be valuable?

If in ingot form, yes, quite valuable if dealt with correctly. It is used in everything from paints to solar cells and from iron protection to nuclear reactors. There would still be some uncomfortable questions to be answered as to where the company found tonnes of cadmium and why it is stored in the open in the carpark, though. :twilightblush:

If in dust form, not so much. The cost of cleanup would take a quite a large chunk, if not all and more, of the value of the metal and it would still be just a smidge dangerous. It would also lead to the site being declared a toxic hazard and it would be quite a while before the location would be declared safe. Also there would likely be heavy fines for the illegal storage etc of a hazardous substance, not to mention the inevitable lawsuits from the neighbours.

The discussion between the ponies and the state representatives when the site inspections are done would be entertaining to sit in on. After they get over the disbelief and mandatory hissy fit over the use of "unapproved remediation techniques" and "unlicensed toxic waste removal contractors", I would expect that a sudden realisation of what has actually happened will lead to some rather happy EPA folks. It will also lead to some very unhappy toxic waste removal and processing corporations who will suddenly realise the gravy train is about to be catastrophically derailed.

9188494
If you have that stuff, there is no soil, since it just exploded.

9188556
Or more likely a scramble to hire and certify as many unicorns as possible so they can charge a fortune without competition.

9188556

If in dust form, not so much. The cost of cleanup would take a quite a large chunk, if not all and more, of the value of the metal and it would still be just a smidge dangerous. It would also lead to the site being declared a toxic hazard and it would be quite a while before the location would be declared safe. Also there would likely be heavy fines for the illegal storage etc of a hazardous substance, not to mention the inevitable lawsuits from the neighbours.

Toxic hazard? It's cadmium dust lying in piles on a parking lot. Better pray really hard to every deity you know that there won't be any wind until the cleanup crews are done with the place, or you'd be checking your dictionary for the greater form of toxic hazard.

9188556

It will also lead to some very unhappy toxic waste removal and processing corporations who will suddenly realise the gravy train is about to be catastrophically derailed.

On the other hand, some of them will be quite happy with the expanded business potential once they realize that by hiring a few teams of unicorns, and giving them appropriate training in what needs to be removed from the soils and why, they can clean up practically any contaminated site in the world in a matter of hours or days, and under-bid all of their competition to boot. Not to mention the possibilities for recycling...

This strongly reminds me of Kris Overstreet's The Maretian. Starlight uses her magic to remove all the perchlorates from the soil inside the cave, and stacks it up in a huge pile by the cave entrance. Fun times.

9188648 9188662 9188665 We can't forget they removed it without tearing everything. Downside how much testing and checking would the State and Federal government demand before they accepted the soil was decontaminated.. Of course if we were dealing with humans now comes all the lawsuits for failure to disclose the fact the site was contaminated

9188662 Cadmium is delicious! That's why the Chinese put it in everything from children's toys to dog food!

Same with melamine!

:trollestia:

9188566
Yeah, that’s the problem. “How is it even there?”

Of course, the (easy) answer is that the soil has plot armor. Or maybe it just had a good pair of running shoes.

9188844
Hmm... I seem to see you a lot. If I recall correctly, you are self-admittedly insane (or something along those lines)?

P.S. No offense, I really am just curious. And I wanted to talk to you in a non-confrontational manner at least once.

Yeah, it kind of breaks my Suspension of Disbelief that, in the month of research they did, they either didn't ask a lawyer for help, which would admittedly explain away the entire plot, or encounter words like "toxic", "soil contamination", or "health and safety violation". Also, the first problem they had was wanting to live in Michigan, at least I assume it's Michigan due to the old riverfront factory.

9188856 I'm a research biologist. We're all insane.

But it's the ones who pretend not to be that you really have to worry about. They're up to something!

Imagine the problems if theyd sold them an old coal fired power station once they learnt about heavy metal clean up.

And they delivered all the uranium out of the flyash mound to the carpark.:twilightoops:

Nice—a toxic person getting... toxic waste for his toxic actions.

Can't help thinking, though, that since the ponies actually own the cadmium, and transported and dumped it illegally, they will probably have to pay the consequences for that. And then it will probably be shipped over-seas to be made into children's jewelry. :facehoof:

Cadmium is no joke!

Sorry, I don't know where all that cynicism came from this morning. :rainbowhuh:

9188871

I’ll keep that in mind. :pinkiehappy::rainbowlaugh:

Sooo... I’m guessing that the insanity comes with existential crises?

These ponies are in the wrong business. Somebody tell them about the Superfund!

9188887 Pfft, nah. Those are for condescending philosophy majors! We just go mad with power playing God all the time, creating mutants and stuff. :pinkiecrazy:

9188829
Actually, that'd be very easy to detect... which, if they refuse to accept the unicorns removed it magically, would lead to an interesting discussion on whether the ground was contaminated at all to begin with.

9188858
Agreed there is no State in the nation with disclosure laws lax enough that what Sal did wasn't 12 different kinds of illegal. If he was a solo fly-by-night operator I could buy it but it's implied he's part of a large real estate agency.

I'm not saying big corporations don't scam people. But they are much more cautious about attracting scrutiny. The fact that the buyers were Ponies means that any news story or accusations of wrongdoing that results is much more likely to get national attention and coverage.

What kind of corporate legal or PR department wouldn't have immediately shut down Sal's scheme in a heartbeat?

This doesn't seem too bad an end. Surely pure bricks of cadmium are worth something, right? Maybe even quite a lot of something.

9188847
I understood that reference

9188349
Fear not!

Y’all know that there’ll be at least one more. :derpytongue2:

Given Copper Glow knows what Cadmium is but has no reaction to it, I assume Ponies find cadmium non-toxic and can eat it by the spoonfull.

9188366

Just wait until they find out about the asbestos insulation...

Well, the good news there is that the building was already gutted, so that’s long gone.

What is with you getting ponies to deal with toxic material? You had that one about mercury, and the pony that ate the Tide Pods. You’ll be sending them to Flint and having them drink the water next...

Did you say a pony in Flint? :rainbowlaugh:

Let’s not forget that the last story update I did was about a pony digging out public pit toilets.

9188374

Also, Biscuit, great story as usual, I expected nothing less.

Thank you! :heart:

9188389

Ha Ha! That's what you get Sal when you try to screw over ponies. They just take things literally and do the right thing.

In fact, I think they might be the most dangerous when they take things literally. Sal should have known better than to mess with unicorns.

Wouldn't it be great if we could hire unicorns to remove our toxic wastes? Maybe they could even help us figure out how to properly reuse them. And then remind the transgressors that that is not the way friends treat the earth or each other.

That would be nice. Although, barring unicorns, there are some ways to reuse some of them which are kinda environmentally friendly (spraying dioxins on roads to keep dust down was a way to get rid of it, too, but that didn’t turn out so well).

Double friendship lessons! Twilight would be so very proud!

:rainbowlaugh:

9188407

So a big pile of free purified cadmium. I take it that is not a desirable thing?

There are worst things that you could have. It’s not particularly valuable, all things considered (although Sal does have a lot of it); on the plus side, it’s not all that toxic, either. Could have been dioxins or PCBs or arsenic or any number of other, much more problematic materials.

I’d guess that they could break even on the cleanup, assuming that there’s somebody kinda local who knows who to sell piles of cadmium to.

9188425
Yes, it does have uses, but it’s not terribly valuable. Luckily, it’s not terribly toxic, either, all things considered.

9188494

For some reason, the first thoughts that came into my mind when I first saw the title was: “oh, another The Trouble with Unicorns story“ and “these are so out of order”.

They’re published in nearly as good an order as Star Wars, so there’s that. Plus, you don’t have to wait a decade or two for the next installment. :derpytongue2:

P.S. Congratulations on the feature, though it seems to be a normal thing for this series.

Thanks!

P.S.S. At least it’s not chlorine trifluoride. But then again, if there’s chlorine trifluoride in the soil, there are bigger problems than “what should we do with it?”.

I have a feeling that that’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t leach into the soil, it would just burn down everything the moment there was a leak in the piping, and then you’d be rid of it.

9188520
Magic, it turns out, is the solution to many of life’s problems.

9188548
I’d assume that number is for the pure stuff (as pure as you’re gonna get from normal mining), and presuming that the magic spell the ponies used only pulled cadmium out of the ground and nothing else, the pile would be as pure as any pile of cadmium would ever be. So in that regard, it’s probably the most valuable version of the stuff.

9188556

If in dust form, not so much. The cost of cleanup would take a quite a large chunk, if not all and more, of the value of the metal and it would still be just a smidge dangerous. It would also lead to the site being declared a toxic hazard and it would be quite a while before the location would be declared safe. Also there would likely be heavy fines for the illegal storage etc of a hazardous substance, not to mention the inevitable lawsuits from the neighbours.

My own guess (just a guess) is that barring a windstorm or rain, cleanup costs would about equal the value of the cadmium, putting it at a wash, financially. I don’t think it’s toxic enough that in Michigan at least they’d have to get every last bit of it . . . but I don’t know what the allowable concentration is, either. A quick google search says that the reporting threshold in Scotland for spillage is 5kg/year, so if they act fast and are thorough, they might skate by. Maybe. But yeah, they won’t be using that office for a while, and the eventual court case would be interesting (I’ll probably comment on this more, if you want to skim down [I’m figuring that if I try to do a big, multi-part reply, I’ll find a way to mess it up somehow]).

The discussion between the ponies and the state representatives when the site inspections are done would be entertaining to sit in on. After they get over the disbelief and mandatory hissy fit over the use of "unapproved remediation techniques" and "unlicensed toxic waste removal contractors", I would expect that a sudden realisation of what has actually happened will lead to some rather happy EPA folks.

Yeah, that would be interesting. Their soil will now pass the test with flying colors, of course, and the biggest worry on their end I think would be that they never got the appropriate excavation permits . . . which, since they didn’t do any excavation, shouldn’t be an issue. The method of removing it with dump trucks and leaving it at the real estate office would more likely turn into a legal fight between the real estate office and the ponies, and odds are that the office might actually lose that case (or choose not to pursue it) if they failed to disclose the contamination at the site. I’m not 100% sure on real estate law, but I think that’s something you have to tell prospective buyers about. Might be cheaper for Sal’s office to just get rid of the stuff and cut their losses there.

It will also lead to some very unhappy toxic waste removal and processing corporations who will suddenly realize the gravy train is about to be catastrophically derailed.

I think it might not. If they can target stuff that specifically, they could really cut down on the site cleanup phase, which might lead to more business in the long run, since places that wouldn’t have been profitable to remediate now are. And most of the stuff, you’ve still got to haul it offsite and dispose of it after you get it out of the soil, and that part would probably still be expensive.

9188662

Toxic hazard? It's cadmium dust lying in piles on a parking lot. Better pray really hard to every deity you know that there won't be any wind until the cleanup crews are done with the place, or you'd be checking your dictionary for the greater form of toxic hazard.

Yeah, if a stiff wind or rain comes up, they’ve got a serious problem on their hands. As long as it’s just sitting on a presumably paved parking lot, it’s actually not as big a deal. I mean, it’s an issue, but it’s not a huge issue. Better hope somebody’s got the phone number of a metal dealer on speed dial.

9188407
Uhhhhh. It's a very toxic thing you can inhale that causes flu symptoms along with lung damage or kidney liver and lung disease if you have low doses over time. It's still used to make stained glass or to help make strong plastics. There's not many uses for it.

9188665

On the other hand, some of them will be quite happy with the expanded business potential once they realize that by hiring a few teams of unicorns, and giving them appropriate training in what needs to be removed from the soils and why, they can clean up practically any contaminated site in the world in a matter of hours or days, and under-bid all of their competition to boot. Not to mention the possibilities for recycling...

That’s what I’m thinking, too. Even if it only works for metals, that’s a big step in a lot of sites, and if it can be sorted like that, it’s plenty clean enough for resale.

Long after I wrote this, I was actually watching a YouTube video of how a clever German machine recycles aluminum window frames; in order for them to have value, it’s basically got to get nearly everything that isn’t a particular alloy out of the mix, and of course do it in an economical way. Having a team of unicorns that could do that, all without ever putting a single shovel into the ground, would be almost like printing money for some of those companies (especially since they’d profit on both ends; getting the contamination out, and selling the clean metal for reuse later).

9188785

Starlight uses her magic to remove all the perchlorates from the soil inside the cave, and stacks it up in a huge pile by the cave entrance. Fun times.

I do remember that.

I can’t think of any reason why a talented unicorn couldn’t do something like that.

And, for someone who wants to write darker stories, a unicorn spell that could remove all the calcium or sodium from a human body would be an interesting way to kill a person (there are probably other elements that, when removed, would be just as fatal).

9188829

Downside how much testing and checking would the State and Federal government demand before they accepted the soil was decontaminated.

There are companies that specialize in that (presumably, that’s how the soil was tested before and that’s how the state knows it was loaded with cadmium). I’d figure if one or two of them tested it and gave them the all-clear, legally the unicorns are good to go.

Of course if we were dealing with humans now comes all the lawsuits for failure to disclose the fact the site was contaminated.

Which might be why the unicorns would escape this consequence-free. Any lawsuit is likely to fall on Sal’s company (or Sal personally) for failing to disclose this to prospective buyers. It might be cheaper for them to just pay whatever it costs to get the cadmium out of their parking lot and then let the matter drop.

“Humans have weird rules,” Speckles said. “Like how they have to wear clothes all the time, or how drivers are allowed to run you over if you cross the road in the wrong place.”

I knew I shouldn't have skipped that page on the rules and regulations of driving.

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