Like this, but the orange is the Earth, and the needle contains toxic fluids. (Photo by celesteh.)

There’s an episode of The Simpsons (“Trash of the Titans”) in which Homer is elected sanitation commissioner. He blows his budget on fancy uniforms and big trucks, making up the shortfall by allowing other cities to dump their garbage in an abandoned mine under Springfield. Eventually, the garbage starts pouring out of manhole covers and faucets, forcing the entire city to move.

Cartoons, right? No one in real life could ever be so foolish as to pack the ground full of waste and cross their fingers! Actually, according to a new report from ProPublica, they could.

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground. …