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

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posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:07 PM
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Originally posted by loam
I fail to understand your continued willingness to defend the actions (or inaction) of the EPA in this matter.

You state:


Originally posted by HowardRoark
So these early press conferences released preliminary data.

So what if they later released a more complete set of data with additional sampling locations?

It takes time to analyze these samples. Furthermore, it takes time to QC/QC the samples and go through a rigorous validation procedure.

The fact that each press release only talks about the sample data that is being released at that time makes sense to me. It would be a lot more confusing if they talked about samples that they hadn’t even gotten the results for yet.



What's your point?

This isn't just about the *results* of the samples, this is about their lack of initiative in the sampling process! Why are references to the number of sites sampled inconsistent?


You are the one making the issue out of it. What is your point?

The reference to the number of sampling sites is not inconsistent. In each pres release they talk about the samples that they are releasing the data for. If they said they were releasing data for 8 sites and only released for 6, that would be inconsistent.



Why have they only sampled residential areas and not industrial ones, where it is most logical one would find a problem? (This is analogous to fishing in the rain puddle next to a fully stocked lake!)


Because the protection of the population is the issue here, not the protection of the industrial site. Contaminated industrial sites is nothing new. If the residential areas are contaminated, that will delay the return of the residents.

You test the rain puddle because the school kids are splashing through it.


Why have they not tested the known HAZMAT and SUPERFUND sites within the city?


Do you know what the situation is for accessing these areas? Do you now for sure that they haven’t tested near them yet?

According to this they soon will.


Why was significant sampling not conducted in all of those areas prior to the decision to pump the flood waters out of New Orleans?

The deicion to pump the water out was in order to protect the health of the people and to speed up the recovery process.

Do you think that they should have just abandoned the people in the city?

My point is that it is far too early to make any kind of qualitative judgment on the situation. There is simply not enough data available yet to assess the impacts. It will take time to collect and analyze the samples.

Why do you insist that this data must be available right now? You know what the situation is like down there, its not like someone can hop into a car and drive over to a sampling site, then ship the samples off via fed ex.

Believe me, one thing I know about the state and federal EPAs, This situation means one thing to the bureaucracy: Lots of funding for a long time.

They will not sweep anything under the rug.




posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:07 PM
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Originally posted by HowardRoark
Loam, I don’t want to keep hammering you on this, but you have an obvious bias that is preventing you from realistically evaluating the situation.


I disagree... The issues I raise are logical and appropriate.



There are environmental issues in New Orleans, no one is denying that. The problem is, it is still too early to fully access the extent of the problem, yet you keep harping on trivialities.


If it was "too early to fully assess the extent of the problem," then WHY are we pumping the city dry before knowing that information? That is the point of this entire thread.

[edit on 16-9-2005 by loam]



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:25 PM
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Beacuse ultimately people will have to return to the city and live there.

Sometimes we have to put people first and the environment second.

It is not always an easy choice, but that is the way it is.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:37 PM
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Originally posted by HowardRoark
Beacuse ultimately people will have to return to the city and live there.

Sometimes we have to put people first and the environment second.

It is not always an easy choice, but that is the way it is.


Then you have utterly failed to understand the point of this thread. By failing to understand these environmental issues and addressing the potential dangers, we are placing PEOPLE at risk physically and economically! This isn't about the "cute little birdies and fish"


We are talking about people's lives!
Your perspective couldn't be more shortsighted or obtuse...


[edit on 16-9-2005 by loam]



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:52 PM
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So, your suggestion would have been to leave all of the water in the city?

I don't see how this would help anyone.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by HowardRoark
So, your suggestion would have been to leave all of the water in the city?

I don't see how this would help anyone.


As I have stated repeatedly within this thread.....PERHAPS...

I do not think it unreasonable to know how high the cliff is before you jump!



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 03:05 PM
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Well, the water is being pumped out of the city and into the lake, but it'll probably be ok right? And the EPA is after all a government agency, and the government is there for us, right? Tell you what. Let's just keep an eye on this situation and keep turning up information like what Loam has presented. After all, it can't hurt to ask questions, can it?



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 03:09 PM
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Hey, no problem. I didn't mean to get on your case, I just think it's important to maintain perspective.

Part of the probelm is the media hype and public fears once the words "toxic" starts flying about.

While There are some serious problems, most of the organic contaminants will naturally biodegrade over time.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 03:28 PM
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Originally posted by loam

Originally posted by HowardRoark

Sometimes we have to put people first and the environment second.

It is not always an easy choice, but that is the way it is.


Then you have utterly failed to understand the point of this thread. By failing to understand these environmental issues and addressing the potential dangers, we are placing PEOPLE at risk physically and economically! This isn't about the "cute little birdies and fish"


We are talking about people's lives!
Your perspective couldn't be more shortsighted or obtuse...




Put people before the environment?


People LIVE in the environment. People need a toxin free, healthy environment. Or they get sick. And they die, often very, very slowly, and frequently, in a lot of pain. Are you willing to pay for their care? Just as an aside....



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 03:57 PM
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I guess it is the choice between preventing the very real and fairly high risk of an epidemic of infectious disease today versus the MUCH, MUCH lower risk of long term health problems 20 years from now.

In the end it's always about risk management.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 04:05 PM
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Originally posted by HowardRoark
I guess it is the choice between preventing the very real and fairly high risk of an epidemic of infectious disease today versus the MUCH, MUCH lower risk of long term health problems 20 years from now.

In the end it's always about risk management.





That is a specious argument and purely an assumption on your part- on both counts.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 04:19 PM
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I don't know who you are telling to stop pumping anymore? They expect some families to return next week and the French Quarter to be open within 10 days. the remaining water should be gone by Oct 2 depending on how much rain comes. Looks like they decided it is safe and aren't going to stop. Frankly I agree



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 07:23 PM
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Originally posted by HowardRoark
In the end it's always about risk management.



lol so when did YOU work for the govt? military or what?



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 09:50 PM
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Originally posted by HowardRoark

In the end it's always about risk management.





Uh huh. Or collateral damage. Or acceptable losses. Whatever.

In the end it's always about putting profits before people.

.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 10:34 PM
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Well, isn't this convenient....




Bill Would Let E.P.A. Relax Rules for Cleanup

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 - The Environmental Protection Agency could suspend any law governing air, water or land in responding to Hurricane Katrina under a measure introduced Thursday by the chairman of the Senate environment committee.

The legislation, which drew immediate criticism from environmental groups, would create a 120-day period in which the agency's administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, could waive or modify laws if it became "necessary to respond in a timely and effective manner" to a situation created by the storm.

The proposal would allow changes in law at the discretion of the Bush administrator in consultation with the governor of "any affected state."

...

The proposed legislation was introduced shortly before President Bush addressed the nation from New Orleans, outlining his vision for rebuilding areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, where floodwaters have left enormous areas of environmental degradation.

...



It is obvious the EPA needs this legislation. It's only a matter of time before independent testing takes place in New Orleans. I interpret this move as further evidence that the EPA either KNOWS more than they have disclosed to the public, or at the very least, expects to discover serious toxicity issues. The pattern of the EPA's obfuscation and ineptitude described in this thread is no mistake.

Think about it...

Why hasn't the EPA aggressively tested in all the obvious places representing the most likely places of contamination? BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT THE ANSWER! And with this legislation, they wont need the answer. It will not matter what is independently discovered.

The smell of this entire situation is clearly as bad as the smell of the putrid flood waters in New Orleans.

Who benefits here? The politicians. Forget safety. This is all about short term political interest at the long term expense of the public's health.

And the public is unwittingly letting it happen....


[edit on 16-9-2005 by loam]



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 10:37 PM
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How convenient



posted on Sep, 18 2005 @ 06:12 PM
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Howard,

As much as I liked Ayn Rand's hero from THE FOUNTAINHEAD, and her philosophy, I still try to think for myself, keeping an open mind and considering information that doesn't fit my worldview. One of my very favorite ideas from ATLAS SHRUGGED (I think) was the head of a company who said he didn't care if an idea came from the kid in the mail room. If it was true and useful, he would act on it.

Loam, thanks for the heads up, this was one of the sites I wanted to check out. It is all getting so overwhelming, I think the sense of "so what" is because you can't see our glassy eyes


Where I've been. My ex is an Environmental Engineer who has specialized in hazardous waste clean up.
First job after he got the Masters was with HOOKER chemicals. AKA the "Love Canal" company. Then Alaska, in order to comply with the newly formed EPA regulations, developed a hazardous waste position and I spent 14 years total, 3 in Juneau, 11 in Anchorage. He worked for the state, the city of Anchorage, a private engineering company and finally started his own company, working for the North Slope Oil companies, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and private companies. Due to the doctoral level courses he took and licensing, he could act as the site safety officer as well as doing sampling and testing.
And he had the responsibility to shut down a site cleanup if it became apparent that the contamination was toxic not hazardous. The one time he had to do this, it took at least 3 weeks of badgering the prime contractor, the state DEC and finally calling EPA officials from Seattle, who closed it and put it on the Super fund list.

So, after all this questioning, I decided to call and have a chat with him. (We are on good speaking terms). I will also post on XGovGirl's thread.

As far as the water is concerned, there is no way to treat it all. Putting it back in the water ways is the only option. And, it may not be as bad as it seems - because a lot of the really toxic stuff is heavy and has sunk into the silt. Ultimately, we will have to find out what it does to the gulf and try to remedy what we can.
There has been some treatment of the water already to contain some of the threats. Of course, they could end up having a ripple effect we will have to deal with. The Gulf fish will need to be tested for contaminants. The lakes above and below Niagra Falls had limits on how many fish it was safe to eat while we were there.

I do have a problem with how many chemical samples, where they took them and how long it is taking to get the results. Alan has a portable lab as the basis for his one man business. A lot of the Alaska sites were fly in only. The capacity to put the kind of lab you need for CHEMICAL analysis in a semi and move it to a site has been possible since EPA was founded. Chemical results don't generally take as much time as biological. Well, knowing that you have chemicals that don't belong there. Identifying them can be another problem. The site Alan closed down had a chemical that would show up on gas chromatography - but he and the head of UAA Chemistry dept could not identify it. This is the sort of thing I think Kaufman refers to on what kinds of reactions can start occurring resulting in unknown substances.

The toxic sludge that remains, and all the building debris, is going to be a massive cleanup that will take a lot of thought and time. There are several ways it could be handled and probably all will need to be utilized to some degree. First is burial - it will have to be on higher ground and will be massive. It could be cut down by using some chemicals, bleach, alcohol plus UV and biodegradation. And some can be incinerated. More options may come up as the situation is evaluated. My bets are with Kaufman:10 years.

Meanwhile, if the wealthy want to return to the homes that did not get damaged and rebuild the tourist areas, I guess it's their risk. (Although I woudn't put it past their health insurance companies to try putting riders on how much they would pay for diseases caused by living in a toxic location) The port does have to be repaired and maintained - which means the workers have to live somewhere there is shopping, schools, medical facilities etc. As I mentioned elsewhere, the North Slope oil companies transport (fly) their workers LONG distances. Seems like some new spot could be developed not that far inland with a high speed rail line to Downtown, the port and the airport. There are a lot of other businesses & facilities that may be difficult to relocate. Chemical factories, Universities, etc.

On the nuclear aspect. Even the stored spent fuel is so highly contained in layers of protection that it would be really unlikely a significant break could occur. And if a small enough level did somehow get released, Alan actually saw it as potentially beneficial to kill some of the bacteria! Apparently this would be less likely to cause mutations than chemical treatment.

I wouldn't let up on trying to get info out of EPA. At least Kaufman is speaking out. Wanna bet how long it takes him to "retire". Probably close enough he doesn't care.

Hope this helps. Thanks for all the work, I think getting information like this is one of the really powerful aspects of the 'Net. Even if a problem is not as bad as it first appears, being able to get to some of this info helps us common citizens have the power of knowledge to know what battles to fight. Where do we put our time and energy. Watchdogging the EPA, oil and chemical companies, local governments etc. is what government for the people.... is all about.



posted on Sep, 18 2005 @ 06:26 PM
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On the nuclear contamination, the still possible and most likely source would be the huge dump that has been on the Superfund list for years. Given the Government's record on radioactive waste associated with military uses (Rocky Flats, the upstate New York workers...) I would almost be surprised if there isn't any there. Because it would be buried, spread out and hopefully even contained somewhat, the risk would be highest to the people doing the cleanup.



posted on Sep, 18 2005 @ 08:06 PM
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"Because the protection of the population is the issue here, not the protection of the industrial site. Contaminated industrial sites is nothing new. If the residential areas are contaminated, that will delay the return of the residents. " Howard Roark

Contaminated industrial sites were a concern for EPA in '80.. Had to do with the protection of the people working there and living nearby. In addition to managing Hooker's 200 waste streams, one of Alan's big priorities (being that the company was sort of under EPA's microscope) was cleaning up hazardous materials at the plant. The company used a lot of temporary scaffloding for maintenance work. Once this stuff became hazardous on site and had to be removed, the workers were so unconcerned they would take down the 2x4s and TAKE THEM HOME to put in some house project. When we left for AK, Alan's coworkers gave him about a foot long piece of 2X4 marked "The last piece of 2x4 removed from Hooker Chemicals".

If I remember correctly, EPA requires the companies to have the testing done (by an independent lab) and submit the information. My recollection of Hooker's attitude was, they needed to know anyway, it was part of doing their business. In this situation, it strikes me that EPA would be testing just about everywhere there is a potential for concentrated contamination so they can keep track of if and where it is spreading. Even if the companies have been doing it, I think the results of those tests also need to be available, under FOIA, if not released with the other info. A resident may not have signifiant contamination in their home/neighborhood, but if the wind, water, etc will bring the industrial contamination where they could be exposed, it is information they should have in making the decision to return.

What also confuses me about this is the slow response. I am sure EPA does not have the manpower to do this much testing over such a large area. Independent environmental companies and labs are plenty big enough to take on the work under contract. Developing the grid necessary for testing and keeping the samples protected under chain of custody specs is not a job that can be done without a lot of intense work.
Maybe there's work going on that is not being reported. You would think they would want to let the public know what is being done.



posted on Sep, 18 2005 @ 08:30 PM
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"I guess it is the choice between preventing the very real and fairly high risk of an epidemic of infectious disease today versus the MUCH, MUCH lower risk of long term health problems 20 years from now.

In the end it's always about risk management. " Howard Roark

Do you have any source to support the "MUCH, MUCH lower risk of long term health problems 20 years from now"?

The WTC exposures started causing health problems within the first year. The site Alan closed down was not simply due to finding an unknown chemical on the gas chromatograph. As site safety officer, he had responded to workers having symptoms after getting to the site by upgrading their safety gear. Didn't work, the symptoms would still start up within a shift.

This is an unprecedented disaster, in scale and complexity. We have a lot of knowledge and technology that can be used to gather information and interpret it. Where is the evidence that this is being done?

Infectious disease vs long term cancers, etc? We have a lot more capacity to contain, eliminate and treat the potential infectious diseases than the cancers and other toxic diseases.

Yes, it is about risk management. Just because some risks will take longer to manifest themselves, doesn't mean you take them out of formulating your initial response.



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