Has the bottled water well finally run dry? The market for bottled water may be drying up. Despite massive discounting, brands like Aquafina and Poland Spring are experiencing a sales drought unlike any the category has ever seen. After almost a decade of triple and then double-digit growth, sales volume grew less than 1% for the first half of the year. The chief culprit: the economy. Shoppers are less interested in paying for a product that they can get for free. — Brandweek

Goats: The new weed whackers? A herd of 100 goats was hired by the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency to clear weeds from a brush-covered hillside lot. According to the LA Times, agency officials said the goats were cheaper and more environmentally friendly than human workers with gas-powered weed whackers. — The Daily green

Is organic agriculture polluting our food with heavy metals? One issue frequently overlooked in the rush to embrace organic agriculture is the prevalence of excess arsenic, lead, cadmium, nickel, mercury, copper, and zinc in organic soil. Soil ecologists and environmentalists—and, to some extent, the concerned public—have known for more than a century that the synthetic pesticides of conventional farming leave heavy metals in the ground. But the fact that you’ll find the same toxins in organic soil has been something of a dirty little secret. — Slate

Russia’s Lake Baikal threatened by major zinc mine. A Russian mining company is planning to develop the world’s third-largest lead and zinc deposit in a watershed flowing directly into Russia’s Lake Baikal. Environmental activists, and even Moscow’s pro-development Natural Resources Ministry, contend that mining the enormous Kholodninskoye deposit poses a direct threat to the 400-mile-long lake, a pristine body of water that holds 20 percent of the world’s above-ground freshwater supplies. — Yale Environment 360

Peter Fray

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