Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Public Meeting April 14 on Proposed Cleanup Options for Occidental Chemical Site in Montague

There will be an informational meeting Wednesday, April 14, on proposed cleanup strategies for contaminated ground water at the Occidental Chemical Corp. facility in Montague. The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Montague Township Hall, 8915 Whitbeck Road.

The proposed cleanup plan includes installing installation of six new wells on the southern portion of the former Occidental Chemical property. The idea is that the wells, working with a current well system in place at White Lake, might reduce ground water contamination to safe levels from Old Channel to White Lake within the next 18 years.

From the EPA: State and federal environmental regulators have been overseeing cleanup work on the OCC property since 1979. Since that time, the first set of extraction wells have removed and treated billions of gallons of ground water and prevented the flow of contaminants into White Lake. However, contamination remains trapped in subsurface soil on the northern portion of the site and those chemicals continue to seep into the ground water. No treatment technologies have been found that can remove this contamination trapped in sands below the water table. The objectives of EPA’s proposed plan are to clean up ground water to better protect White Lake and allow for the eventual beneficial use of the ground water and unrestricted use of the OCC property and private property south of Old Channel Trail.

Show up to have your comments included in the plan.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Michigan Golf Course added to Superfund toxic sites list

The Gratiot County Golf Course in St. Louis, Michigan has been added to the Superfund National Priorities List. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the U.S.

The Gratiot County site lies east of the Hidden Oaks Golf Course on Monroe Road. From 1956 to 1970, the nearby Velsicol Chemical burned their hazardous waste in an open pit. Originally the pit disposal area was proposed to Superfund in 1982, but at that time Velsicol excavated 68,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. In 2006, more soil and ground water contamination was found, and EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality decided to propose the site as a new listing. With today’s action, the site is now eligible for further analysis and development of a cleanup plan.

So the message here is that for over 55 years, the groundwater and soil in St. Louis Michigan have been contaminated. It took 12 years after the toxic waste burning ended before anyone was held responsible and made to remove contamination. It took another 24 years before testing found more contamination. How long will it take to actually resolve this problem? Long after you and I are gone, probably, and long after all the people who worked at Velsicol have died of cancer.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Meanwhile Down in Evansville... or should we call it "Leadville"?

upcoming lead-contaminated soil Superfund cleanup, 350 properties affected encompassing whole neighborhoods

350 properties in an area bounded by Mary Street to the west, Iowa Street to the north, Elliot Street to the east and Division and Illinois streets to the south will excavated and restored down in LEADVILLE beginning in March. The work is being funded through at least $5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The effort represents the second phase of cleanup at the Evansville site. In 2007 - 2008, the Feds cleaned up about 80 properties with lead levels above 1,200 parts per million (EPA’s residential lead cleanup level is 400 ppm). As that effort wrapped up, EPA announced plans for the current project. A third phase of the cleanup encompasses about a dozen neighborhoods in a 4.5-square-mile area north and south of the Lloyd Expressway near downtown Evansville. This expanded area includes about 10,000 properties that will be tested for soil contamination. EPA expects 4,000 may require cleanup. Work in this expanded area will begin in 2011 or 2012.

Several long-closed manufacturing companies used lead, arsenic and other metals in their operations leaving behind the contamination. Evansville was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in July 2004.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Legal battle over, state wins clean-up costs for Ludington industrial site

$525,000 Settlement Reached

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment reached a settlement that secures re-imbursement of the costs incurred by the department to investigate contamination from the former Handy Things Manufacturing Company property in Ludington. The settlement with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, the corporate successor to Handy Things Manufacturing, also requires the company to address existing soil and groundwater contamination at the site and includes provisions to prevent any unacceptable exposures to the contaminants.

Soil and groundwater in the area are contaminated with volatile organic compounds, chromium, zinc, cyanide, and other metal plating materials. The former Handy Things Manufacturing Company is one source of the contamination in this area, two others are Industrial Plating and Manufacturing, Inc., property (formerly known as the Ludington Plating Company), and Straits Steel and Wire Company property. Both properties are owned by Straits Steel and Wire.

The DNRE and Department of Attorney General are currently in negotiations with Straits Steel and Wire to reach a similar settlement regarding pollution that is attributable to them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ottawa River clean-up has begun

Approximately 260,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment is being removed from the Ottawa River and Sibley Creek in Toledo, OH. The project began on December 19th and it is estimated that it's going to cost us - me and you fellow taxpayer - $49 Million dollars. The goal of the project is to reduce impacts to human health and the environment on the Ottawa River. This is the eighth cleanup of a contaminated site under the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

Sediment in the river and creek is contaminated with a mixture of heavy metals, PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons called PAHs. The sediment contamination in the Ottawa River is a key contributor to the fish advisories currently in place and limit the amount of fish that can be safely eaten.

During phase one of the project 15,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be removed from Sibley Creek, processed on-site to remove excess water and transported to the city of Toledo’s Hoffman Road Landfill for disposal. Sibley Creek is a 1.1-mile long tributary to the Ottawa River that enters the river about four miles upstream of the river mouth. The Sibley Creek work is expected to be completed by the end of January.

In April 2010 dredging of the main channel of the Ottawa River will begin. Some 245,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be removed. Dredging activities in the Ottawa River are expected to be completed by late 2010.

EPA is providing $24.5 million for the project through the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The Ottawa River Group, a consortium of private businesses in partnership with the city of Toledo, will provide the remaining $24.5 million. The city is providing space in its municipal landfill as their cost share.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Sunoco to Pay $173,310 for Air Quality Violations at Marcus Hook Refinery

Over in the NOT-SO-GREEN corner for the past year is Sunoco, which has ordered to pay $173,310 in penalties for pollution violations at its refinery in Marcus Hook, PA.

In May 2008 a broken boiler released 8.3 tons of carbon monoxide. Two incidents in June 2008 resulted in 18.1 tons of volatile organic compounds being released into the atmosphere, along with 1,300 gallons of oil. These incidents resulted in residential damage claims and odor complaints.

In December 2008, a compressor shutdown resulted in the release of 3.93 tons of nitrogen oxides and 8.09 tons of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.

Storage tank violations in June, September and November 2008 involved seal problems and an oil leak, which was NOT reported to the Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection. Sunoco was also cited for failing to perform various inspections of instruments, tank hatches and ventilation systems.

So, let's continue to shine on a light Sunoco for a bit.

EPA Rules to Impact Manufacturers, Utilities

he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two separate actions that could significantly impact several industries including power and water utilities.

The EPA has identified three industries — chemical manufacturing, petroleum and coal products manufacturing (including refineries and not coal mines), and the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry — that could face financial assurance requirements to ensure that the owners or operators of the facilities, not taxpayers, will be responsible for cleanups through the Superfund program.

Read the rest of this story here: EPA Rules to Impact Manufacturers, Utilities