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Potential Disaster Looming: Stop the pumps in New Orleans Now!

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posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 02:42 PM
I read last night, but of course can't find it now , that the Louisiana DEQ and the EPA have 'waived' regulations on water quality for Lake Pontchartrain in the aftermath of Katrina. The site I was looking at was saying that only in recent years has wildlife returned to the lake, which has been basically dead and anaerobic for years. Due to huge efforts, the lake has been slowly recovering, and up to 20 manatees had recently taken up residence, as well as a sort of clam that hasn't been able to live there for years. The MSNBC article I'm adding a link to is about the environmental impact that could come out of pumping the lake full of the floodwater- this is truly scary stuff. Why must they hurry so? The city will be uninhabitable for a long long time, it seems that it would be, to put it lightly, a good idea to try to minimize the damage to the environment by taking to the time to filter the water as it is removed. Thanks for bringing up this topic- it's something that is getting overlooked as people try to come to grips with this disaster.

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 03:07 PM
I thought of the same thing when I saw them pumping the water out. It should be treated before pumping it out. But I don't see how it could be done. If they let the water sit, how many lives could be lost in the long run due to disease? The longer it sits, the more contaminated it gets. It is a tough decision to make. I hope they are making the right choice.

Excellent research loam.

You have voted loam for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 03:27 PM
Official: E. Coli bacteria detected in floodwater

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Floodwater in New Orleans is contaminated with E. coli bacteria, a city official told CNN Tuesday.

The official in Mayor Ray Nagin's office declined to be identified.

The failures of the levee system after Hurricane Katrina's onslaught left about 80 percent of the city flooded with water up to 20 feet deep -- water that became a toxic mix of chemicals, garbage, corpses and human waste. (See video of restarted pumping station -- 2:14)

E. coli comes from human and animal waste and can be found in untreated sewage.

Drinking water contaminated with E. coli can lead to serious illness and death if not properly treated.

Authorities have warned it will take weeks to drain the water covering much of the city.

This, of course was to be expected.....BUT WHY would the official "decline to be identified"? Are they being told NOT to disclose such information?

EDIT: This article also says.....

Lt. Gen. Carl Strock ... told CNN Tuesday that the Corps was working to minimize the environmental damage to Lake Pontchartrain.

It provides a link to the "Full story", but that article makes no mention of what actions were being taken to "minimize the environmental damage"...

Could that be because there have been no such actions??? I don't recall seeing any filters on that 14 foot high, 7,500 gallons a second, pump. Did any of you?

God, the MEDIA is so sloppy.

[edit on 6-9-2005 by loam]

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 09:09 PM

New Orleans: The toxic timebomb

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina has created a vast toxic soup that stretches across south-eastern Louisiana and Mississippi, and portends the arrival of an environmental disaster to rival the awe-inspiring destruction of property and human life over the past week.

Toxicologists and public health experts warned yesterday that pumping billions of gallons of contaminated water from the streets of New Orleans back into the Gulf of Mexico...would have a crippling effect on marine and animal life, compromise the wetlands that form the first line of resistance to future hurricanes, and carry deleterious consequences for human health throughout the region.

The full extent of the danger is unknown and unknowable, but the polluted waters are known to contain human and animal waste, the bodies of people and animals, household effluence, and chemical and petrochemical toxins from the refineries that dot the Gulf coast in and around New Orleans.

Even before the pumping is complete, a process city officials said yesterday would take at least three weeks (some engineers believe it could last months), the consequences for all living creatures - humans, animals, fish and micro-organisms - are likely to be dire...

The waters now swilling around the streets and neighbourhoods of New Orleans will probably end up either in the Mississippi River or in Lake Pontchartrain, just to the north of the city, where they are likely to react with the oxygen in the water and deprive all living creatures, starting with the fish, of the means to life.

"We're looking conceivably at zero-dissolved oxygen, which will lead to the death of fish and other organisms," Dr Zeliger said. "If the migratory birds who pass through the area find any fish to eat, they will be contaminated so the birds will start dying in large quantities ...

The toxic consequences of the disaster will have a profound impact on New Orleans even after the initial clearing is done. Dr Zeliger pointed out that the only way to make the water remotely potable would be to chlorinate it, but given the degree of contamination, this would create its own devastating side effects.

"If one chlorinates poor-quality water, it creates categories of trihalmethanes and other compounds that produce their own nightmarish effects on human health, such as spontaneous abortions," he said. "You'll see the formation of chloroform and bromoform and other toxins. It will be a long time before decent potable water can be drawn - my prediction would be a minimum of one year."

The MEDIA is finally catching on..... I expect the news will get much worse... Not unlike media reports that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet" even before the storm had passed, they are missing the SCALE of this story...and so is the public.

[edit on 6-9-2005 by loam]

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 09:23 PM

Originally posted by St Udio
[However...there's a 95 acre section of central New Orleans
called the ASL= Agricultural Street Landfill
which is a buried toxic materials landfill which neighborhoods are built on.
When that area starts 'perculating' up...theres big trouble ahead.

So..... In addition to being built below sea level they used a toxic materials landfill to build part of central N.O. Thats just lovely. Betcha the water tasted mighty good there even before the Storm.

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 11:11 PM
"The solution to pollution is dilution."

Don't you remember that from your basic Environmental Science 101?

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 11:18 PM

Originally posted by dave_54
"The solution to pollution is dilution."

Don't you remember that from your basic Environmental Science 101?

(I think you are being serious and not sarcastic...not sure)

The flaw in that reasoning is assuming sufficient dilution will take place and that each compound requires the same amount of dilution to mitigate or eliminate any harmful effects.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 04:09 PM
Just heard on Chris Mathews' Hardball:

Brian Williams is reporting that the water in French Quarter is 30% oil!

Looking for confirmation.


CDC says 5 die from bacteria after Katrina

[edit on 7-9-2005 by loam]

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 04:20 PM
Great work loam.

FYI - Officials are claiming people need to be forcefully evacuated because of the danger of disease - BUT - The CDC released a report saying that disease is NOT a danger with hurricanes/floods in civilized nations like the USA. IMO - this claim is scaremongering to rationalize and justify refugee detainment and interment, ie. herding the poor, and forcing their migration.

"Many officials have warned of infectious diseases from the toxic flood waters in New Orleans in coming weeks, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it did not expect serious outbreaks. ...Decaying bodies create very little risk for major disease outbreaks, and the CDC noted that outbreaks of infectious diseases following hurricanes are rare in developed countries such as the United States. It said foodborne illness such as salmonella poisoning was more likely."

.......Toxic contamination on the other hand IS critical - and obviously quite real. BUT - IMO it's a rationale for filtering the pumped water before dumping it into the Gulf, not a reason for forcing evacuation and detaining destitute refugees.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 04:58 PM

Originally posted by soficrow
Great work loam.

Thank you.

Notice how there is a complete absence of information or communication concerning the chemical toxins??? That worries me.

[edit on 7-9-2005 by loam]

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 08:29 PM

Originally posted by Rise and Fall

has been slowly recovering, and up to 20 manatees had recently taken up residence, as well as a sort of clam that hasn't been able to live there for

I am surprised we haven't heard this on TV yet in addition to save the doggies and kitties that have been abandoned.

Well realisticall speaking it's less problematic to dump the toxic water into the lake which is already half dead and then treat it later, than it is to mix it with the river and ocean water which is less treatable and would impact a larger geographic area.

Are they only pumping into the lake or also the river?

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 09:25 PM
Grad Student, I hope you don't misunderstand me. I support protecting and saving human life above all, and mentioned the manatees not in a "save the cute beasties" way, but as an example of the lake's revival over the past years. It seems to me that people, even in the notoriously environmentally lax Louisiana, had started to realize that a healthy environment for all is just that- a healthy environment for all. The foul water that is being pumped into the Lake, and into the river, and into the Gulf will lead to mass die offs of migrating birds, of fish, of oysters- and sure, of manatees. The manatees just struck me as being an exceptionally poignant example of "too little too late"- the saving of the lake, without the saving of the surrounding marshland and drainage plains meant nothing.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 10:19 PM

Originally posted by loam

Originally posted by dave_54
"The solution to pollution is dilution."

Don't you remember that from your basic Environmental Science 101?

(I think you are being serious and not sarcastic...not sure)

The flaw in that reasoning is assuming sufficient dilution will take place and that each compound requires the same amount of dilution to mitigate or eliminate any harmful effects.

I'm serious.

What's the alternative? -- letting it sit there until it soaks into the soil and contaminate the entire city for centuries? Do nothing until tens of billions of dollars are spent on building massive water treatment plants? Of course it would all soak into the soil before the plants were built, and the city remains uninhabitable until it is pumped dry. Or in the theme of this web site, we could ask the Zetans to beam it all into space (contaminating space, but that's not our problem :lol

Or we could pump it into the river and ocean where it will disperse and dilute relatively quickly. That's not the ideal solution, but it is the best we have right now.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 10:26 PM

Originally posted by dave_54
What's the alternative? -- letting it sit there until it soaks into the soil and contaminate the entire city for centuries?

That will already be the case.

Do nothing until tens of billions of dollars are spent on building massive water treatment plants?

Perhaps, or as you start that nothing. I know that sounds radical, but I didn't deal the cards.

I might suggest to everyone to cut shell fish, shrimp and other marine foods out of your diet for some time and ONLY if you are certain where it comes from!

[edit on 7-9-2005 by loam]

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 10:31 PM
This 'dilute the solution' idea is why we're in the mess we're in - meaning the earth, species going extinct, dead zones in the ocean. ...This planet is saturated. Forget about diluting the solution.

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 01:28 AM
Contamination risk updated

Louisiana officials said the floodwaters in the New Orleans region certainly carry a risk of disease, but said until results from testing of air and water quality come in it is too early to declare the area toxic.

"It's a bit exaggerated," said Mike McDaniel, the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality on Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge. "When I hear 'toxic stew,' it sounds like instant death going in there. Let's get some better information before we cause" people to worry.


But McDaniel ticked off a long list of hazardous materials that officials know are in the water, and an even longer list of chemicals they expect to find in the floodwaters: oil, gasoline, pesticides, human waste, and bacteria.

Railroad cars are submerged. Containers of fuel remain in the city. And state officials said there is no choice but to pump the floodwaters back into the lake and river.

"We have to get the water out of the city or the nightmare gets worse," McDaniel said.

Nature has a way of restoring itself over a period of time, McDaniel added.

Again, I said huh?????

Environmental officials are concerned about possible radioactive materials unleashed during during the storm.

From where???

The region has 2,200 facilities with underground fuel storage tanks, with an average of three at each site.

Does this sound like we really expect the water to be safe???

The Washington Post reports:

Other aspects of the environmental toll wrought by Katrina are obvious to rescuers and others traveling the increasingly empty city. On such grand boulevards as St. Charles and Napoleon avenues, the foliage that drapes the majestic oaks and magnolia trees is suddenly turning brown. Birdsong has largely disappeared

And then there is this from Reuters:

Few choices to rid New Orleans of poisoned water

The toxic brew of chemicals and human waste in the New Orleans floodwaters will have to be pumped into the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain, raising the specter of an environmental disaster on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, experts say.


Van Heerden and Rodney Mallett, communications director for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, say there do not appear to be any choices other than to pump the water into Lake Pontchartrain or the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico, a key maritime spawning ground.

"I don't see how we could treat all that water," Mallett said.

The result could be an second wave of disaster for southern Louisiana, said Harold Zeliger, a Florida-based chemical toxicologist and water quality consultant.

"In effect, it's going to kill everything in those waters," he said.

How much water New Orleans holds is open to question.

Van Heerden estimates it is billions of gallons. LSU researchers will use satellite imagery and computer modeling to get a better fix on the quantity.

Bio-remediation -- cleaning up the water -- would require the time and expense of constructing huge storage facilities, considered an impossibility, especially with the public clamor to get the water out quickly.

Mallett said the Department of Environmental Quality was in the unfortunate position of being responsible for protecting the environment in a situation where that did not seem possible.

"We're not happy about it. But for the sake of civilization and lives, probably the best thing to do is pump the water out," he said.

They couldn't wait for the tests to better understand the risk???!!!!

How do they think the public will react *if* the SECOND DISASTER comes because of their spineless politicking and foolish short-sightedness??

Note another Reuters' article quoting Secretary Mike McDaniel a day earlier...

Katrina environmental issues "almost unimaginable"

Hurricane Katrina left behind a landscape of oil spills, leaking gas lines, damaged sewage plants and tainted water, Louisiana's top environment official said on Tuesday.

In the state's first major assessment of the environmental havoc in southern Louisiana, Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Mike McDaniel said large quantities of hazardous materials in damaged industrial plants, the danger of explosions and fires and water pollution were his main concerns eight days after the storm struck.

Preliminary figures indicate 140,000 to 160,000 homes were flooded and will not be recovered, he said. "Literally, they are salvageable," he said.

He said it would take "years" to restore water service to the entire city.

"It's almost unimaginable, the things we are going to have to deal with," he said.

Crews have found two major oil spills, one of 68,000 barrels at a Bass Enterprise storage depot in Venice and another of 10,000 barrels at a Murphy Oil facility in Chalmette, McDaniel said.

But huge amounts of oil also oozed from cars, trucks and boats caught in the flood.

"Everywhere we look there's a spill. It all adds up," he said. "There's almost a solid sheen over the area right now."

High-level radiation sources, including nuclear plants, have been secured, and authorities were trying to determine the status of rail cars in the area as well as searching out large caches of hazardous materials in industrial plants.

A couple of points:

1) Why are they worried about radiation sources today?

2) Looks like environmental officials are heavily engaged in the art of spin....

I hope I'm wrong.

[edit on 8-9-2005 by loam]

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 01:47 AM
Look at this convenient, self-serving, September 5, 2005, Notice from the EPA - the day the pumpring began.

Hurricane Katrina: EPA Response

Search and rescue remains a high priority. EPA has 65 boats providing support to local response efforts by moving supplies and conducting search and rescue missions. Yesterday, our search and rescue missions resulted about 120 citizens assisted with evacuation.

EPA's Incident Management Team has joined the state of Louisiana's Emergency Response Center in Baton Rouge, Lousiana. The ASPECT aircraft continues to conduct over-flights to idenfity spills and collect data from fires burning in the hurricane-impacted area.

Yesterday's over-flight identified a large inland oil spill that resulted from a failed storage tank at the Murphy Oil company in Chalmette, Louisiana. The company and its contractors are working with EPA and Coast Guard officials to repair the storage tank, contain the oil and begin clean-up.

EPA and state officials continue to collect information from daily aerial helicopter inspections of facilities in the area. On-the-ground inspections of these facilities will provide additional information during the upcoming weeks.

EPA and Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services are working to restore off-line drinking water systems. Over 30 EPA personnel are assisting the state of Louisiana in inspecting local drinking water systems. Reports indicated about 100 systems have restored their operations.

EPA is sampling flood water for chemical and biological testing at EPA's Houston laboratory. EPA completed sampling at six locations in and around the Greater New Orleans area. Additional flood water sampling is scheduled for today.

Ok, now I know EPA had at least 65 boats, saving people's lives...That's good.

BUT, they only managed to take 6 water samples for a city the size of New Orleans? And only after the pumping began? And it takes a week to get results???

I'm looking for how long these tests really take next....I've given them the benefit of the doubt on that one so far....Something tells me I shouldn't.


[edit on 8-9-2005 by loam]

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 12:02 PM
Well, it looks like I'm not the only one that smells a RAT!


SEJ officers wrote EPA September 6, 2005, urging quick action on FOIA requests for post-Katrina pollution reports from a growing number of journalists. EPA's Web site had bragged of 12 field teams doing "initial assessments of the environmental impacts including potential impacts from chemical facilities, oil refineries, and water treatment plants." But SEJ members requesting the results of those assessments filed FOIA requests after finding EPA "unresponsive."

At stake may be the health of hundreds of thousands of people still in the hurricane-stricken Gulf coast region, home to a major fraction of US petrochemical production and refining activity. State officials reported some 500 sewage plants in LA and 1223 drinking water plants knocked out in LA, MS, and AL. Four deaths of evacuees were attributed by the Centers for Disease Control to water-contact wound infections from a common vibrio bacteria. Meanwhile, engineers with little alternative pumped a brew of unknown pollutants from the flooded city of New Orleans into Lake Ponchartrain.

The letter, from Society of Environmental Journalists President Perry Beeman and SEJ 1st Amendment Task Force Chair Ken Ward Jr., sought to "encourage the U.S. EPA to quickly respond to requests for more detailed information about chemical spills and other environmental releases resulting from Hurricane Katrina."

EPA's reputation for providing prompt and candid information about post-disaster environmental conditions suffered a serious blow in 2001, when then-administrator Christine Todd Whitman offered public assurances at White House direction that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe, when in fact the agency had inadequate data to support those assurances.

SEJ's letter noted: "Mark Schleifstein, reporter at The Times-Picayune and an SEJ board member, filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Monday, September 5, 2005, for information about the environmental consequences of Katrina, after his efforts to obtain answers without a formal request were unsuccessful." Schleifstein, a Pulitzer prize-winner, co-authored a 2002 5-part front-page series titled "Washing Away," which presciently warned of a disaster like Katrina's effects on New Orleans.

This is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 12:57 PM
Yeah this is a potentialy big problem but there are a ton of potentialy big problems. they have to take this one step at a time. You explain to the people who live there that the fish in the gulf are more important than them returning to their lives. And where do they build a new city down there? The mayor and govenor are not going to let that site just die. And relocate a big ass city. Then you run into rebuilding problems..Insurance won't pay for you to build a new house or building they will only pay for what damages have occured.

They have got to act fast...They must get that water out and start rebuilding. If someone has a gigantic empty swimming pool to put this water then please let us know. Otherwise There are no real good answers. And that is how it will probably be for years to come no answers only questions.

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 01:32 PM
If you think this thread is just about "fish", you have totally missed the point of this thread. How many more lives will be placed at risk, because of this blind, cliff-jumping approach? Do you understand the potential long term impact and how that translates in not just health concerns, but economic ones???

Re-read some of the links in this thread.

[edit on 8-9-2005 by loam]

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