The Great Smog of 1952 – SJ Environmental Justice

On December 5, 1952, the world’s romance with London’s fog ended in disaster. The real extent of wich was never being acknowledged. Air pollutants from the use of coal, combined with an anticyclone, windless condition and cold weather, formed a thin layer of smog over the city of London.

Cold weather for London’s residents meant the increasing need to burn more coal then usual to keep warm in houses. The coal people were using was an inferior quality as the government focused on exporting the good quality coal to pay off his depth. The low-grade coal increased the sulphur dioxide in the smoke that added to the coal-fired power station in London increased the level of pollution.

The anticyclone settled over London one day before the disaster and caused a temperature inversion, the cold air being trapped under a layer of warm air.This has resulted in a dense fog wich mixed with the chimney smoke, vehicle exhausts and other pollutants filled with sulphur, formed a persistent smog. Also, the absence of the wind prevented the smog to be dispersed.

At the time of the event, it wasn’t considered a significant event, even if it caused major disruption due to the effect of visibility.

“Nelson’s Column during the Great Smog of 1952” by N T Stobbs.

The public transportation has ceased because the visibility was reduced drastically making difficult, even impossible to drive. Roads were filled with abandoned cars and concerts were cancelled due to total darkness. The only public transport remained alive was in Underground. The ambulance service stopped functioning. The gasping people were walking to the public hospitals. The lips of the dying people were blue. Most of them died suffocated.

The smog related fatalities were mainly from pneumonia, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and heart failure. Some died from cardiac distress and asphyxiation. Non-fatal smog effects included: chest pain, lung inflammation and diminished breathing ability, permanent lung damage and asthma attacks. The smoge was so toxic that there were reports of choked to death cows in the fields.

By December 8th, 4 703 people died and thousands become ill because the effect of smog on the human respiratory system

Most of the victims were very young or elderly or with preexisting respiratory problems. The officials were blaming the weather at that time. That was the official release of the fact of 1952, but recent research and new documents found reveal how one of the world’s peace time catastrophes claimed as much as 12000 lives in the center of London.

London has had smoke events in the past but the one from December 5th, 1952 is considered the worst air pollution event in the United Kingdom’s history.  It was the most significant regarding its effect on environmental research, government regulation and public awareness.

Due to the events of 1952 new regulations were implemented restricting of use of dirty fuels in industry and banning black smoke.

New environmental legislations such the Clean Air Act from 1956 and the Clean Air Act of 1968 led to the reduction in air pollution.

These acts banned emission of black smoke and forced residents of the urban area and factories to convert to smokeless fuels.

Thanks to these pollution legislation and the widespread use of central heating in houses and offices the black smog in Britain became a thing of the past, but efforts will need to continue to counter air pollution and protect the environment for future generations.

The Barnett Shale Drilling Disaster – SJ Environmental Justice

First of all, let me begin by clarifying what The Barnett Shale is. The Barnett Shale is a geological formation consisting in sedimentary rocks that underlie under the Dallas- Ft Worth Metroplex. 5.000 miles long portion of rocks sitting under 17 counties. The productive portion of the shale is under Johnson, Tarrant, and Dallas counties. It’s considered as being the largest producible reserve of natural gas found on shores of the United States. Also, oil has been found here but in smaller quantities.

Because gas was hard to extract so it can be produced in commercial quantities the gas and oil companies use hydraulic fracking; The hydraulic fracturing is a technique that fractures the rocks with pressurized liquid.

source: wikipedia.com

The high-pressure injection of the hydraulic liquid ( a mix of water, sand, and thickening agents) produces breaks in the rock formation. The gas, petroleum, and sodium chloride ( salty water) will flow freely through these cracks. The hydraulic fracturing was introduced in 1947 and used by millions of oil and gas wells.The hydraulic fracking is a controversial subject. In many countries, the fracking was already banned but the advocate of it sustain that the economical gain received from the approachable hydrocarbons are an critical factor for not to be banned in the United States. The potential environmental impact can’t be ignored either. The risk of water and ground contamination, air pollution, noise pollution, public health problems, and earthquakes are growing problems associated with fracking.

A major part of the formation is under the urban area of Dallas- Ft Worth. Ideas like drilling in the public parks, so the local governments may obtain royalties if any minerals are found, or seeking compensations for the damage roads caused by overweight trucks from the local trucking companies, are discussed frequently. Most of the roads in the area are not designed to sustain the high traffic of the heavy duty equipment, and they are destroyed, so the local government is seeking for compensation from the drilling companies.

source: wikipedia.com

From 2002 to 2010 the Barnett Shale was the most productive shale in the U.S. In 2010 there were 14.000 wells in the Barnett Shale and 3.000 more got new permits in the same year. In January 2013, the Barnett Shale produced over 4 billion cubic feet of gas each day which represented almost 7 % of all the natural gas produced in the United States. The first company drilling wells in the Barnette area was Mitchel Energy in 1981, but the first successful and cost effective drill was made in 1998. After 1998 competitors realized that, the gas can be extracted profitably, so they started buying leases. By 2008, the landowners that had wells on their land were paid bonuses between $500 and $69.000/ ha

The cleanup costs of the toxic byproducts of drilling may not be worth the tax revenue and the environmental effects of the contaminated drinking water, air pollution from natural gas compression.

The question on the mind of the people that are getting sick every day and the one that live with the fear of another earthquake every day is if it’s worth it? The state of Texas claims that the law banning the fracturing in the area will destroy jobs and claim they found no reason of concern. But people are fighting with unexpected rashes, pneumonia, sharp headaches, sinus infections that won’t heal, or other autoimmune disease are all triggered by the exposure to natural gas.

New information related with the risk of living in the proximity of a well surface out every year. Measurements taken found spikes in the number of toxins such as benzene which can cause leukemia and congenital heart defects in newborns.

The Barnett shale region is considered the largest running experiment about what it means for people when the land they are living on is flooded with wells and heavy equipment. The wells are tucked near schools, homes, parks, hospitals, many times less than 200 feet away. 6.000 sources of toxic emission from the wells and heavy equipment are cramped in the metropolitan area of Dallas- Ft Worth.

In 2009, over 1300 people filed complaints about the air quality. Only 2% of this complaints were followed up with violation notice, 94% were closed without any violation, and the rest of the 2% were referred to other agencies.
The primary agency who should control the situation and keep an eye on the air quality and make sure that the oil and gas industry respects the rules, the TXEQ, doesn’t cares about the health of the public. In 2007, they raised the amount of benzene considered to be acceptable level of exposure, doubled it, when the World Health Organization guidelines explicitly say that no level of exposure to benzene is recommended.

In 2009 agency employees discover that the benzene level was over the already released level in a third of the sites were testing was made.The only measure taken was prompting those sites to repairs.

Concerns were raised about this problem, but the answer received from TCEQ was not surprising. They considered that “the emission from natural gas operation in the area haven’t significantly affected the ambient level of air toxins like benzene.” An employ of TCEQ filed an internal fraud complaint. The quality ensurance manager said that TCEQ after following up with a public complaint with a more sensitive equipment found the level on benzene above the agency guidelines but didn’t let the city know about it, trying to hide the problem.

Scientist study chemicals one at the time, they do not study them as a mix of chemicals like those near the shale. The benzene itself is cancerogenic. Butadiene, another toxic cancerigene linked to leukemia, Tohien causes dizziness and headache; xylenes causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems. There are many more on the long list of toxic chemicals found at the Barnette Shale of which effect it’s not even known.

Fracking leaves a path of polluted water, poisoned air, destroyed landscape. It is an environmental and public health catastrophe in making. It comes with substantial price paid starting with cleaning up the polluted water to reconstruction of the damaged roads. These expenses are not covered by the drilling industry; they will come out of public money. The oil and gas industry needs to be held responsible for damages they are causing to people’s health and to the environment.

To clean up drinking water pollution is expensive so it’s not even attempted. Temporary replacement water supplies or increasing water treatment systems are other additional costs that can add up to millions of dollars.

Health problems associated to fracking, due to air contamination from trucks, equipment and wells are also an important factor to consider. The NIOSH warned the workers that they could have an enormous risk of developing the lung disease silicosis caused by inhalation of silica dust at fracking sites. Fracking is also a contributor to the ozone smog and global warming.

The costs of fracking are hitting hard on the health care system. In 2007, $50 million were spent for medical cost due to increasing number of silicosis. We are loosing inestimable natural sources by turning forests and farm in industrial zones occupied by well pads. Killing the habitat of wild animals in the areas where wells pop up will result in a decrease of the animal population.

The taxpayers pay the costs for repairing the damages roads. The state of Texas approved $40 million in funding only for road repairs in the Barnette shale region. The damage caused to the roads by the trucks that deliver water for only 1 well causes so much damage on the road as it would over 3 million car trips on the same road. Another severe and costly problem are the abandoned wells. There are thousands of them from the past fossil fuel boom. Expenses with recapping the abandoned wells will be covered most probably with the taxpayers money. The fracking is affecting the sale price of the nearby homes. Houses that had a previous value around $250.000 sell with up to 15% less after wells pup up within 1.000 miles of it




source:

https://barnettshalehell.com

http://www.environmentamerica.org

http://www.publicintegrity.org

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December 2015 – SJ Environmental Justice

First of all, let me begin by clarifying what The Barnett Shale is. The Barnett Shale is a geological formation consisting in sedimentary rocks that underlie under the Dallas- Ft Worth Metroplex. 5.000 miles long portion of rocks sitting under 17 counties. The productive portion of the shale is under Johnson, Tarrant, and Dallas counties. It’s considered as being the largest producible reserve of natural gas found on shores of the United States. Also, oil has been found here but in smaller quantities.

Because gas was hard to extract so it can be produced in commercial quantities the gas and oil companies use hydraulic fracking; The hydraulic fracturing is a technique that fractures the rocks with pressurized liquid.

The high-pressure injection of the hydraulic liquid ( a mix of water, sand, and thickening agents) produces breaks in the rock formation. The gas, petroleum, and sodium chloride ( salty water) will flow freely through these cracks. The hydraulic fracturing was introduced in 1947 and used by millions of oil and gas wells.The hydraulic fracking is a controversial subject. In many countries, the fracking was already banned but the advocate of it sustain that the economical gain received from the approachable hydrocarbons are an critical factor for not to be banned in the United States. The potential environmental impact can’t be ignored either. The risk of water and ground contamination, air pollution, noise pollution, public health problems, and earthquakes are growing problems associated with fracking.

A major part of the formation is under the urban area of Dallas- Ft Worth. Ideas like drilling in the public parks, so the local governments may obtain royalties if any minerals are found, or seeking compensations for the damage roads caused by overweight trucks from the local trucking companies, are discussed frequently. Most of the roads in the area are not designed to sustain the high traffic of the heavy duty equipment, and they are destroyed, so the local government is seeking for compensation from the drilling companies.

From 2002 to 2010 the Barnett Shale was the most productive shale in the U.S. In 2010 there were 14.000 wells in the Barnett Shale and 3.000 more got new permits in the same year. In January 2013, the Barnett Shale produced over 4 billion cubic feet of gas each day which represented almost 7 % of all the natural gas produced in the United States. The first company drilling wells in the Barnette area was Mitchel Energy in 1981, but the first successful and cost effective drill was made in 1998. After 1998 competitors realized that, the gas can be extracted profitably, so they started buying leases. By 2008, the landowners that had wells on their land were paid bonuses between $500 and $69.000/ ha

The cleanup costs of the toxic byproducts of drilling may not be worth the tax revenue and the environmental effects of the contaminated drinking water, air pollution from natural gas compression.

The Great Pacific garbage patch is an extensive collection site of plastic trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The plastic patch was discovered in 1997 by a racing boat captain, Charles Moore, on his way back from Hawai to California. It is actually a trash vortex of ocean debris trapped by the currents in one of the 5 Pacific Ocean rotating currents. There are 5 similar patches all around the world.

The Pacific Ocean garbage patch was formed gradually by the accumulation of marine trash by the currents in one particular place, called the horse latitudes. The horse latitude it’s characterized by high pressure, which suppresses precipitations and cloud formation and mixes calm winds with strong winds.

The trash is captured by currents and carried to this particular area from the coastal water of U.S and Japan All this trash was generated from improper waste management. 80% of it comes from land at the marinas, ports, rivers, dock and the rest of 20% are from fishing vessels, stable platforms, and cargo ships.

It takes 6 years for a plastic bottle to travel from the North Pacific coast of the United States to the garbage patch and under one year if it’s coming from Japan Continue reading The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

                             The Aral Sea was the 4th largest lake in the world before 1960 with 26.300 sq miles, when the rivers that were making it, were diverted by the Soviet Union.
    The translation of the name “Aral Sea” is the Sea of Islands because the lake is situated between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and it had over 1000 islands that once were dotting the lake.
    The two rivers the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya fed by the snowmelt from the mountains and precipitations were diverted to transform the desert of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, into cotton farms and other crop farms like cereals, rice, and melons.


    The construction of the irrigation canal started in 1940, but it was poorly constructed allowing the water to leak and evaporate.


    The Aral Sea was an endorheic lake, which is a lake formed by the accumulation of water from rain, melting snow or ice ending up in a lower elevation point. An endorheic lake allows no flow to other external bodies of water and can only disappear by evaporation because the bottom of the lake it’s occupied by a salted ground. Continue reading The Shrinking of Aral Sea

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – SJ Environmental Justice

The Great Pacific garbage patch is an extensive collection site of plastic trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The plastic patch was discovered in 1997 by a racing boat captain, Charles Moore, on his way back from Hawai to California. It is actually a trash vortex of ocean debris trapped by the currents in one of the 5 Pacific Ocean rotating currents. There are 5 similar patches all around the world.

The Pacific Ocean garbage patch was formed gradually by the accumulation of marine trash by the currents in one particular place, called the horse latitudes. The horse latitude it’s characterized by high pressure, which suppresses precipitations and cloud formation and mixes calm winds with strong winds.

The trash is captured by currents and carried to this particular area from the coastal water of U.S and Japan All this trash was generated from improper waste management. 80% of it comes from land at the marinas, ports, rivers, dock and the rest of 20% are from fishing vessels, stable platforms, and cargo ships.

It takes 6 years for a plastic bottle to travel from the North Pacific coast of the United States to the garbage patch and under one year if it’s coming from Japan

The size of the patch is impossible to measure because it consists from fishing nets, micro-pellets and small plastic particles suspended on or bellow the ocean surface to larger pieces of plastic objects.The size of the patch was estimated as being 2 times the size of Texas and 9 feet deep.
Because the surface of the garbage patch is so large, it affects the food for the fish and other animals. The covered area lacks of sunlight that is necessary for the planktons and algae’s to grow. If the planktons and algae’s are affected then, oceans food chain may change. Animals that feed on them will have less food. The main plankton eaters are fishes and turtles. In the Pacific Ocean garbage patch are 6 times more plastics than plankton. The decrease in the fish and turtle population will result in the decline of tuna, sharks and whales and eventually to an increase of the seafood price.

Because this plastic waste is not biodegradable, it will live in the ocean for long times and will release toxic chemicals.It takes 500 years for the plastic to degree. Instead of biodegrading the plastic will break down over time in tiny little pieces wich ingested by the marine animals will end up in our food chain.
If you think it will not going to affect you, think again. Pieces of plastics are ingested by jellyfishes every day. The jellyfish is eaten by a larger fish and the guess what, the fish will end up on your plate. The toxic chemicals from the plastic bottles you just through in the trash will finally end up in somebody’s dinner.

Animals that ingest plastic will die because their stomach can’t break down the plastic and the accumulation of it in their stomach it’s inevitable. They will die from starvation. Most of the time these particles of plastics are confused with food or eaten involuntary with other food sources. The plastic bags are confused by turtles with jellyfish, and the plastic pallets are confused by birds with fish eggs. Seals can tangle in the fishing nets and die. Plastic also affects the albatross population that is nesting on islands close to the garbage patch. From 500.000 chicks born every year, only 300.000 survive. The rest of them die mostly because of the ingestion of plastic and other trash.

267 species are already affected by the plastic debris from the ocean.

But not just the wildlife is affected by the marine trash. The waste damages the boats, submarines, and beaches. Some of the beaches are covered in 10 feet trash while others are covered by millions of plastic sands or little pieces of plastic that are impossible to clean up.

Over the years were made several attempts to clean up the ocean. Some of them are: – 2008 – The Environmental Cleanup Coalition formed by Richard Sundance Quen, a building contractor and scuba dive instructor tried to identify safe trash removal methods. – 2009- two ships went out to study how practical would be a commercial scale collection and recycling of the waste.

– 2012 – Boyan Slat, a Dutch aerospace engineer student, came up with a new concept related to the considerable amount of trash by using the surface currents. He sustains that the garbage will drift to a specially designed arm and would be collected into a collection platform. By putting his method in application, he thinks that the big garbage trash could be cleaned in 5 years, and the collection platform would collect around 7.25 million of tons of waste.

Cleaning up all this trash is maybe impossible but it can be reduced by better managing our waste on land. We need to find alternatives to plastic that are reusable and environmentally safe.
Numerous artists made other steps to attract the attention of the world over the garbage patch like Marina Debris, who creates clothes from trash just to educate people about the garbage patch.

No nation wants to assume the responsibility of claiming out the garbage patch because it’s so far from any coastline. The size of the plastic garbage being so small any attempt to use nets designed to scoop up trash will also catch small animals of the same size. Cleaning up the ocean it’s a time consuming job that no nation want’s to consider. An estimation made by The National Debris program shows that it would be needed 67 ships to clean up around 1% of the marine debris in a whole year.
The world produces over 200 billion pounds of plastic every year. 10% of it ends up in the ocean. Some of it will sink to the ocean floor, and some of it will be washed up on shores.

Plastics come in many forms. From a small plastic cigarette button to a 4.000 pounds fishing net, plastic bags, Styrofoam, tires, fishing gear, you can find everything. Most of them will float and end up on one of the plastic patches, and some of them will sink.
Research shows that chemicals from plastics were already found in people living in America, Europe, and Asia, and the results are devastating. Most of the subjects studied ended up with reproductive problems.

In 2006, the US Government got involved in the cleanup process by funding several government agencies to increase their cleanup work. This is a significant step ahead in resolving a problem that was not touched from 1990’s Some countries and states have banned the use of plastic bags in their effort to stop pollution. Some introduced a tax on the plastic bags that did had the expected results. The use of the plastic bags in these places dropped with 90%.

Beach and park cleanups are frequently organized in the effort to reduce the quality of trash that will reach our waters and oceans.

In 2013, 650.000 people around the world helped to remove over 12.000.000 pounds of trash from coastlines and beaches. Every trash collected was cataloged to help scientists find out wich is the most common polluter found on beaches. Over 2.000.000 of them were cigarette butts.

We have to find a way to reuse all these plastic that ends up in our oceans.
One company found a solution related to recycling the fishing nets found on the beaches of the Philipines. Some of these nets were lost, and some of them were intentionally thrown in the ocean from shipping boats because they were old and damaged. Fishing nets are especially dangerous for the marine life after they are abandoned because they continue to catch, choke and kill the animals trapped inside. The company collects and reuse all the nylon from the fishing nets, turning them into carpets. This way they also help the local communities that collect the discarded nets by creating jobs for these people

There are some simple things that everybody can take in hope that we will stop the pollution: 1. Stop using exfoliating soaps and toothpaste that contains tiny plastic microbeads, because they can slip through most water filters and treatment systems when they wash down the drain. 2. Avoid using plastic bags whenever is possible. There are other options you can use like paper bags or cloth bags. Start carrying reusable shopping bags 3. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store so they can be properly disposed of. 4. Use reusable water bottles instead of the plastic ones. Same goes with the reusable coffee mugs. 5. Check for recycling rules in your area, because most of the plastic can be recycled: water bottles, yogurt cups, milk containers, cereal box liners, 6. When you take your leftovers home from the restaurant, ask to be packed in paper containers instead of the Styrofoam ones or just ask them to use aluminum foil packaging. 7. Refuse to use straws for your drinks 8. Use bar soaps instead of liquid soaps packed in plastic bottles 9. Try to cut back on the quantity of the trash you and your family produces 10. Join local efforts to pick up trash from parks and beaches. 11. Shop at your local farmers market/ Return the containers to the farmers so they can reuse them. 12. Buy bulk as often is possible. This will reduce the amount of packaging. 13. Chose to buy milk in returnable glass bottles. 14. Clean with vinegar and water. 15. Use cleaning cloths instead of plastic and synthetic sponges. 16. Use natural rubber gloves.

17. Use powdered dishwasher detergent packed in a cardboard box instead of the liquid detergent packed in plastic bottles.

source:
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov
https://en.wikipedia.org
http://myplasticfreelife.com/

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Three Mile Island Meltdown – SJ Environmental Justice

On March 28, 1979, Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA was running at about 100 % power when it immediately turned off after a pump that supplied cooling water quit running. Pressure and temperature level increased in the activator, creating a pressure safety valve to open. The safety valve opened as it was supposed to, and water and steam began draining from the reactor to a tank in the basement of the reactor building.

As the pressure returned to normal, the shutoff valve should have closed. However, unbeknown to the plant operators, the shutoff valve stayed open. It continued to be open for more than two hours, permitting water that covered and cooled the fuel core to leave from the reactor system, causing the fuel to overheat.

Nonetheless, instrumentation in the TMI control room showed to the plant operators that the valve was shut and that too much water was being infused into the reactor vessel. Therefore, plant operators didn’t replace the water that was shed as a result of the open valve.

As the pressure continued to go down, an increasing number of coolant turned to vapor, causing too much vibrating in the main coolant pumps. The vibration made the plant operators at Three Mile Island, who didn’t recognize the reactor was suffering a loss of coolant, to close the pumps.

The reduction of pressure and water caused a big steam bubble to form in the top of the reactor vessel, preventing the flow of cooling water through the core. Without coolant, core temperatures increased above the melting point of the fuel cladding and the uranium fuel.

50% of the fuel melted before the flow of coolant was restored. Likewise, the cold cooling water shattered several of the hot fuel rods. All of the fuel was destroyed. As a result, over 600,000 gallons of radioactive cooling water went into the basement of the reactor building and storage tanks in the auxiliary building, infecting them.

Furthermore, a small amount of radioactive material was launched right into the atmosphere from the ventilation stack of the auxiliary building to ease pressure inside the reactor building.

Health Effects

The TMI accident created no injuries, and at the very least, a dozen epidemiological research studies performed since 1981 have actually found no noticeable direct health effects to impact to the populated area around the plant.

In 2003, a federal court dismissed the case of 2,000 plaintiffs seeking damages from the former plant owners. The court claimed the plaintiffs had actually failed to present evidence they had obtained a radiation dosage big sufficient to cause possible health and wellness effects.

Years of research study and clinical studies have actually shown no unfavorable health issues to the residents around the plant. People that suffered economic losses as a result of the evacuation after the incident were paid quickly, validating the performance of the industry’s obligation insurance coverage protection under the Price-Anderson Act. On top of that, companies were compensated for loss of revenue, and the state and local communities were compensated for costs accrued from responding to the accident.

Safety Measures

Two weeks after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, President Jimmy Carter assigned a 12-member commission, headed by the late John Kemeny, who was then the president of Dartmouth College, to explore exactly what had taken place and the possible influence it would have on the health and wellness of the public and plant personnel.

The Kemeny Compensation provided a report in October 1979, recommended that the industry creates its own criteria for excellence. The commission also pointed out a need for agency-accredited training institutions for nuclear plant operators and operation supervisors.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also moved promptly, setting up a group to research the accident. Attorney Mitchell Rogovin headed the team, and its conclusions coincided with those of the Kemeny Commission.

In 1979, the accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) was due to the failure of equipment and the inability of the plant operators to understand the condition of the nuclear reactors. A slow reduction of cooling water to the reactor’s heat-producing core caused a part of the fuel rod cladding and uranium fuel, as well as the release of a minimal amount of radioactive material.

The TMI accident caused no injuries or fatalities. On top of that, experts wrapped up that the quantity of radiation launched right into the environment was too tiny to result in noticeable direct impacts to the residents living around the plant. At the very least, numerous epidemiological studies have backed up this fact.  Both the industry and the federal government responded swiftly and also emphatically to the accident at Three Mile Island. As for more course of action, the industry formed the Institute of Nuclear Power Workflow (INPO) to ensure excellence in training, plant management, and operations.

Greensboro, GA Ecological Disaster – SJ Environmental Justice

picture: watchdog.org
In Greensboro, Georgia, a group of specialists, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hit a water main while rating a hazardous 19th-century cotton mill site. The sediment sent harmful chemicals down to Lake Oconee and next to the Oconee River. The EPA had actually denied, but later admitted, that it moneyed the clean-up and also development task that triggered the disaster.

Though that accident happened in the earlier months of 2015, heavy rains that come into the Greensboro, GA area simply continue to send more dirt into the creek. Up until this time, the EPA has actually been able to avoid any major criticism for this harmful waste spill, even though it is still reeling from the disaster it produced at a Colorado gold mine.

Lead in the soil at the job site is 20,000 times above federal levels set up for drinking water, claimed microbiologist Dave Lewis, who was a top-level scientist during his 31 years at the EPA. He ended up being a whistleblower, critical of EPA techniques. Now Lewis works for Focus for Health, a non-profit that looks into disease triggers.

The goal of the EPA project was to create low-income housing. A grant was released around 2005 to turn the mill, as well as the surrounding grounds, into housing for the homeless and mentally ill. Professionals dealing with the Georgia Environmental management Division (GEPD) had begun excavating and tearing down the buildings– regardless of objections by the city of Greensboro and not having a solid plan on how to handle the hazardous waste.

The mill site has 34 dangerous chemicals, 30 of which are on the EPA’s checklist of top priority contaminants because of “high toxicity, perseverance, inadequate of degradability, and also damaging effects on living organisms,” Lewis created.

The Mill

The four-acre site contains the deserted Mary Leila Cotton Mill, which created sheeting until the early part of 2000. This hardwood floor structure, which was over 130,000 square feet, was covered in flaky, lead-based paint. This hazardous paint engulfed the grounds, along with ash produced by its coal-burning generators. High degrees of cancer-causing chemicals, such as benzopyrene, are also concealed there. Moreover, neighboring farmers discarded chemicals in the deserted area at a time when arsenic was utilized to kill insects.

Official documents, evaluated by a number of environmental groups, reveal proposals to move the dirt to other areas or cover it with concrete. The government agencies promised to keep track of and repair any potholes or cracks. But according to Lewis, any excavation would certainly send out big amounts of poisonous dirt right into the creek.

In spite of the man-made contaminants, the ground has actually held its own against more degradation. The hazardous soil was mainly constrained to densely-packed reduced levels held in check by a clay barrier. EPA/GEPD contractors destroyed that barrier with a backhoe. According to Lewis, this is what caused pollutants to flow freely.

The EPA hasn’t responded to any requests for comment. The firm has given clashing statements regarding its participation in the project, going from being familiar with absolutely nothing and then finally admitting that it paid for the cleanup and expansion through a grant.

Even Lewis claimed his previous employer (EPA), never ever revealed any kind of concern in a number of responses to his ongoing pleas regarding environmental problems around the old mill. In letters to Lewis and David Kopp, who represented the citizens in their litigation, the EPA downplayed poisoning the Greensboro, GA area creek, pointing to low levels collected in 2010 samples taken.

Lewis says he examined his very own examples at the College of Georgia, where he use to work as a marine biologist. The findings startled him. However, when he informed the EPA, it claimed it wasn’t aware of the situation at the mill.

“There is no government agency involved with any project at the mill property,” EPA Regional Supervisor Heather McTeer Toney wrote Lewis on Jan. 9. Five months later, in a May 28 letter to Lewis, Toney confessed the program was an “EPA brownfields grant-funded job” and that “remediation was needed to be carried out in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment.” The state directed the developer to preserve the mill property in a fashion that protects people from exposure to unsafe contaminants, while the property is undergoing corrective action.

The EPA’s site claims brownfields jobs are part of the firm’s requirement in making environmental justice an integral part of every program and policy by applying EPA’s regulatory tools to safeguard at-risk areas.

November 2015 – SJ Environmental Justice

On December 5, 1952, the world’s romance with London’s fog ended in disaster. The real extent of wich was never being acknowledged. Air pollutants from the use of coal, combined with an anticyclone, windless condition and cold weather, formed a thin layer of smog over the city of London.

Cold weather for London’s residents meant the increasing need to burn more coal then usual to keep warm in houses. The coal people were using was an inferior quality as the government focused on exporting the good quality coal to pay off his depth. The low-grade coal increased the sulphur dioxide in the smoke that added to the coal-fired power station in London increased the level of pollution.

The anticyclone settled over London one day before the disaster and caused a temperature inversion, the cold air being trapped under a layer of warm air.This has resulted in a dense fog wich mixed with the chimney smoke, vehicle exhausts and other pollutants filled with sulphur, formed a persistent smog. Also, the absence of the wind prevented the smog to be dispersed.

At the time of the event, it wasn’t considered a significant event, even if it caused major disruption due to the effect of visibility. Continue reading The Great Smog of 1952

In August 1945, after four years of World War II, United States B-29 bomber, dropped the atomic bomb over the cities of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1946.

70.000  people died in 9 seconds, and the city of Hiroshima was leveled. 3 days later a second bomb was dropped  Nagasaki, Japan with the same devastating results. The bombing killed over 129.000 people.

This is the only use of a nuclear weapon in the history, and the justification of the bombing is still debated. It was the most devastating bomb that humanity invented

The bomb released a cataclastic load of energy. Death was instant. The ones who were close enough to see the blast lost their eyes. It was the last thing they ever saw.The bright light of the blast blinded them. The black of their eyes, the retina, melted away. The radiation received by the body is equivalent of today’s thousands of X-rays. The human body can’t absorb unlimited radiation. It falls apart because the cells are dying of radiation poisoning. If the radiation is intense enough, it looks like a burn. Layers of the skin begin to fall off. The bodies vital function began to slow down until it stops. Continue reading Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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April 2016 – SJ Environmental Justice

picture: watchdog.org
In Greensboro, Georgia, a group of specialists, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hit a water main while rating a hazardous 19th-century cotton mill site. The sediment sent harmful chemicals down to Lake Oconee and next to the Oconee River. The EPA had actually denied, but later admitted, that it moneyed the clean-up and also development task that triggered the disaster.

Though that accident happened in the earlier months of 2015, heavy rains that come into the Greensboro, GA area simply continue to send more dirt into the creek. Up until this time, the EPA has actually been able to avoid any major criticism for this harmful waste spill, even though it is still reeling from the disaster it produced at a Colorado gold mine.

Lead in the soil at the job site is 20,000 times above federal levels set up for drinking water, claimed microbiologist Dave Lewis, who was a top-level scientist during his 31 years at the EPA. He ended up being a whistleblower, critical of EPA techniques. Now Lewis works for Focus for Health, a non-profit that looks into disease triggers.

The goal of the EPA project was to create low-income housing. A grant was released around 2005 to turn the mill, as well as the surrounding grounds, into housing for the homeless and mentally ill. Professionals dealing with the Georgia Environmental management Division (GEPD) had begun excavating and tearing down the buildings– regardless of objections by the city of Greensboro and not having a solid plan on how to handle the hazardous waste.

The mill site has 34 dangerous chemicals, 30 of which are on the EPA’s checklist of top priority contaminants because of “high toxicity, perseverance, inadequate of degradability, and also damaging effects on living organisms,” Lewis created.

The Mill

The four-acre site contains the deserted Mary Leila Cotton Mill, which created sheeting until the early part of 2000. This hardwood floor structure, which was over 130,000 square feet, was covered in flaky, lead-based paint. This hazardous paint engulfed the grounds, along with ash produced by its coal-burning generators. High degrees of cancer-causing chemicals, such as benzopyrene, are also concealed there. Moreover, neighboring farmers discarded chemicals in the deserted area at a time when arsenic was utilized to kill insects.

Official documents, evaluated by a number of environmental groups, reveal proposals to move the dirt to other areas or cover it with concrete. The government agencies promised to keep track of and repair any potholes or cracks. But according to Lewis, any excavation would certainly send out big amounts of poisonous dirt right into the creek.

In spite of the man-made contaminants, the ground has actually held its own against more degradation. The hazardous soil was mainly constrained to densely-packed reduced levels held in check by a clay barrier. EPA/GEPD contractors destroyed that barrier with a backhoe. According to Lewis, this is what caused pollutants to flow freely.

The EPA hasn’t responded to any requests for comment. The firm has given clashing statements regarding its participation in the project, going from being familiar with absolutely nothing and then finally admitting that it paid for the cleanup and expansion through a grant.

Even Lewis claimed his previous employer (EPA), never ever revealed any kind of concern in a number of responses to his ongoing pleas regarding environmental problems around the old mill. In letters to Lewis and David Kopp, who represented the citizens in their litigation, the EPA downplayed poisoning the Greensboro, GA area creek, pointing to low levels collected in 2010 samples taken.

Lewis says he examined his very own examples at the College of Georgia, where he use to work as a marine biologist. The findings startled him. However, when he informed the EPA, it claimed it wasn’t aware of the situation at the mill.

“There is no government agency involved with any project at the mill property,” EPA Regional Supervisor Heather McTeer Toney wrote Lewis on Jan. 9. Five months later, in a May 28 letter to Lewis, Toney confessed the program was an “EPA brownfields grant-funded job” and that “remediation was needed to be carried out in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment.” The state directed the developer to preserve the mill property in a fashion that protects people from exposure to unsafe contaminants, while the property is undergoing corrective action.

The EPA’s site claims brownfields jobs are part of the firm’s requirement in making environmental justice an integral part of every program and policy by applying EPA’s regulatory tools to safeguard at-risk areas.

On March 28, 1979, Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA was running at about 100 % power when it immediately turned off after a pump that supplied cooling water quit running. Pressure and temperature level increased in the activator, creating a pressure safety valve to open. The safety valve opened as it was supposed to, and water and steam began draining from the reactor to a tank in the basement of the reactor building.

As the pressure returned to normal, the shutoff valve should have closed. However, unbeknown to the plant operators, the shutoff valve stayed open. It continued to be open for more than two hours, permitting water that covered and cooled the fuel core to leave from the reactor system, causing the fuel to overheat.

Nonetheless, instrumentation in the TMI control room showed to the plant operators that the valve was shut and that too much water was being infused into the reactor vessel. Therefore, plant operators didn’t replace the water that was shed as a result of the open valve.

As the pressure continued to go down, an increasing number of coolant turned to vapor, causing too much vibrating in the main coolant pumps. The vibration made the plant operators at Three Mile Island, who didn’t recognize the reactor was suffering a loss of coolant, to close the pumps.

The reduction of pressure and water caused a big steam bubble to form in the top of the reactor vessel, preventing the flow of cooling water through the core. Without coolant, core temperatures increased above the melting point of the fuel cladding and the uranium fuel.

50% of the fuel melted before the flow of coolant was restored. Likewise, the cold cooling water shattered several of the hot fuel rods. All of the fuel was destroyed. As a result, over 600,000 gallons of radioactive cooling water went into the basement of the reactor building and storage tanks in the auxiliary building, infecting them.

Furthermore, a small amount of radioactive material was launched right into the atmosphere from the ventilation stack of the auxiliary building to ease pressure inside the reactor building.

Health Effects

The TMI accident created no injuries, and at the very least, a dozen epidemiological research studies performed since 1981 have actually found no noticeable direct health effects to impact to the populated area around the plant.

In 2003, a federal court dismissed the case of 2,000 plaintiffs seeking damages from the former plant owners. The court claimed the plaintiffs had actually failed to present evidence they had obtained a radiation dosage big sufficient to cause possible health and wellness effects.

Years of research study and clinical studies have actually shown no unfavorable health issues to the residents around the plant. People that suffered economic losses as a result of the evacuation after the incident were paid quickly, validating the performance of the industry’s obligation insurance coverage protection under the Price-Anderson Act. On top of that, companies were compensated for loss of revenue, and the state and local communities were compensated for costs accrued from responding to the accident.

Safety Measures

Two weeks after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, President Jimmy Carter assigned a 12-member commission, headed by the late John Kemeny, who was then the president of Dartmouth College, to explore exactly what had taken place and the possible influence it would have on the health and wellness of the public and plant personnel.

The Kemeny Compensation provided a report in October 1979, recommended that the industry creates its own criteria for excellence. The commission also pointed out a need for agency-accredited training institutions for nuclear plant operators and operation supervisors.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also moved promptly, setting up a group to research the accident. Attorney Mitchell Rogovin headed the team, and its conclusions coincided with those of the Kemeny Commission.

In 1979, the accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) was due to the failure of equipment and the inability of the plant operators to understand the condition of the nuclear reactors. A slow reduction of cooling water to the reactor’s heat-producing core caused a part of the fuel rod cladding and uranium fuel, as well as the release of a minimal amount of radioactive material.

The TMI accident caused no injuries or fatalities. On top of that, experts wrapped up that the quantity of radiation launched right into the environment was too tiny to result in noticeable direct impacts to the residents living around the plant. At the very least, numerous epidemiological studies have backed up this fact.  Both the industry and the federal government responded swiftly and also emphatically to the accident at Three Mile Island. As for more course of action, the industry formed the Institute of Nuclear Power Workflow (INPO) to ensure excellence in training, plant management, and operations.

April 19, 2016 – SJ Environmental Justice

picture: watchdog.org
In Greensboro, Georgia, a group of specialists, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hit a water main while rating a hazardous 19th-century cotton mill site. The sediment sent harmful chemicals down to Lake Oconee and next to the Oconee River. The EPA had actually denied, but later admitted, that it moneyed the clean-up and also development task that triggered the disaster.

Though that accident happened in the earlier months of 2015, heavy rains that come into the Greensboro, GA area simply continue to send more dirt into the creek. Up until this time, the EPA has actually been able to avoid any major criticism for this harmful waste spill, even though it is still reeling from the disaster it produced at a Colorado gold mine.

Lead in the soil at the job site is 20,000 times above federal levels set up for drinking water, claimed microbiologist Dave Lewis, who was a top-level scientist during his 31 years at the EPA. He ended up being a whistleblower, critical of EPA techniques. Now Lewis works for Focus for Health, a non-profit that looks into disease triggers.

The goal of the EPA project was to create low-income housing. A grant was released around 2005 to turn the mill, as well as the surrounding grounds, into housing for the homeless and mentally ill. Professionals dealing with the Georgia Environmental management Division (GEPD) had begun excavating and tearing down the buildings– regardless of objections by the city of Greensboro and not having a solid plan on how to handle the hazardous waste.

The mill site has 34 dangerous chemicals, 30 of which are on the EPA’s checklist of top priority contaminants because of “high toxicity, perseverance, inadequate of degradability, and also damaging effects on living organisms,” Lewis created.

The Mill

The four-acre site contains the deserted Mary Leila Cotton Mill, which created sheeting until the early part of 2000. This hardwood floor structure, which was over 130,000 square feet, was covered in flaky, lead-based paint. This hazardous paint engulfed the grounds, along with ash produced by its coal-burning generators. High degrees of cancer-causing chemicals, such as benzopyrene, are also concealed there. Moreover, neighboring farmers discarded chemicals in the deserted area at a time when arsenic was utilized to kill insects.

Official documents, evaluated by a number of environmental groups, reveal proposals to move the dirt to other areas or cover it with concrete. The government agencies promised to keep track of and repair any potholes or cracks. But according to Lewis, any excavation would certainly send out big amounts of poisonous dirt right into the creek.

In spite of the man-made contaminants, the ground has actually held its own against more degradation. The hazardous soil was mainly constrained to densely-packed reduced levels held in check by a clay barrier. EPA/GEPD contractors destroyed that barrier with a backhoe. According to Lewis, this is what caused pollutants to flow freely.

The EPA hasn’t responded to any requests for comment. The firm has given clashing statements regarding its participation in the project, going from being familiar with absolutely nothing and then finally admitting that it paid for the cleanup and expansion through a grant.

Even Lewis claimed his previous employer (EPA), never ever revealed any kind of concern in a number of responses to his ongoing pleas regarding environmental problems around the old mill. In letters to Lewis and David Kopp, who represented the citizens in their litigation, the EPA downplayed poisoning the Greensboro, GA area creek, pointing to low levels collected in 2010 samples taken.

Lewis says he examined his very own examples at the College of Georgia, where he use to work as a marine biologist. The findings startled him. However, when he informed the EPA, it claimed it wasn’t aware of the situation at the mill.

“There is no government agency involved with any project at the mill property,” EPA Regional Supervisor Heather McTeer Toney wrote Lewis on Jan. 9. Five months later, in a May 28 letter to Lewis, Toney confessed the program was an “EPA brownfields grant-funded job” and that “remediation was needed to be carried out in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment.” The state directed the developer to preserve the mill property in a fashion that protects people from exposure to unsafe contaminants, while the property is undergoing corrective action.

The EPA’s site claims brownfields jobs are part of the firm’s requirement in making environmental justice an integral part of every program and policy by applying EPA’s regulatory tools to safeguard at-risk areas.

April 16, 2016 – SJ Environmental Justice

On March 28, 1979, Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA was running at about 100 % power when it immediately turned off after a pump that supplied cooling water quit running. Pressure and temperature level increased in the activator, creating a pressure safety valve to open. The safety valve opened as it was supposed to, and water and steam began draining from the reactor to a tank in the basement of the reactor building.

As the pressure returned to normal, the shutoff valve should have closed. However, unbeknown to the plant operators, the shutoff valve stayed open. It continued to be open for more than two hours, permitting water that covered and cooled the fuel core to leave from the reactor system, causing the fuel to overheat.

Nonetheless, instrumentation in the TMI control room showed to the plant operators that the valve was shut and that too much water was being infused into the reactor vessel. Therefore, plant operators didn’t replace the water that was shed as a result of the open valve.

As the pressure continued to go down, an increasing number of coolant turned to vapor, causing too much vibrating in the main coolant pumps. The vibration made the plant operators at Three Mile Island, who didn’t recognize the reactor was suffering a loss of coolant, to close the pumps.

The reduction of pressure and water caused a big steam bubble to form in the top of the reactor vessel, preventing the flow of cooling water through the core. Without coolant, core temperatures increased above the melting point of the fuel cladding and the uranium fuel.

50% of the fuel melted before the flow of coolant was restored. Likewise, the cold cooling water shattered several of the hot fuel rods. All of the fuel was destroyed. As a result, over 600,000 gallons of radioactive cooling water went into the basement of the reactor building and storage tanks in the auxiliary building, infecting them.

Furthermore, a small amount of radioactive material was launched right into the atmosphere from the ventilation stack of the auxiliary building to ease pressure inside the reactor building.

Health Effects

The TMI accident created no injuries, and at the very least, a dozen epidemiological research studies performed since 1981 have actually found no noticeable direct health effects to impact to the populated area around the plant.

In 2003, a federal court dismissed the case of 2,000 plaintiffs seeking damages from the former plant owners. The court claimed the plaintiffs had actually failed to present evidence they had obtained a radiation dosage big sufficient to cause possible health and wellness effects.

Years of research study and clinical studies have actually shown no unfavorable health issues to the residents around the plant. People that suffered economic losses as a result of the evacuation after the incident were paid quickly, validating the performance of the industry’s obligation insurance coverage protection under the Price-Anderson Act. On top of that, companies were compensated for loss of revenue, and the state and local communities were compensated for costs accrued from responding to the accident.

Safety Measures

Two weeks after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, President Jimmy Carter assigned a 12-member commission, headed by the late John Kemeny, who was then the president of Dartmouth College, to explore exactly what had taken place and the possible influence it would have on the health and wellness of the public and plant personnel.

The Kemeny Compensation provided a report in October 1979, recommended that the industry creates its own criteria for excellence. The commission also pointed out a need for agency-accredited training institutions for nuclear plant operators and operation supervisors.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also moved promptly, setting up a group to research the accident. Attorney Mitchell Rogovin headed the team, and its conclusions coincided with those of the Kemeny Commission.

In 1979, the accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) was due to the failure of equipment and the inability of the plant operators to understand the condition of the nuclear reactors. A slow reduction of cooling water to the reactor’s heat-producing core caused a part of the fuel rod cladding and uranium fuel, as well as the release of a minimal amount of radioactive material.

The TMI accident caused no injuries or fatalities. On top of that, experts wrapped up that the quantity of radiation launched right into the environment was too tiny to result in noticeable direct impacts to the residents living around the plant. At the very least, numerous epidemiological studies have backed up this fact.  Both the industry and the federal government responded swiftly and also emphatically to the accident at Three Mile Island. As for more course of action, the industry formed the Institute of Nuclear Power Workflow (INPO) to ensure excellence in training, plant management, and operations.