Tag Archives: groundwater

EPA, GA EPD, and Southeast Health in Waycross about Seven Out Superfund @ EPA 2013-11-14

Now EPA is convinced that the public wants answers, after dozens of citizens turned out to ask questions at Waycross City Hall 14 November 2013. A study of contamination sampling is in peer review, and GA EPD and GA Health Dept. are also involved. Citizens and silentdisaster.org and Satilla Riverkeeper and WWALS Watershed Coalition are watching.

Matthew J. Huyser, EPA (l. standing blue shirt), Jim Brown, GA EPD (c. standing white shirt), Ashby Nix, Satilla Riverkeeper (facing Brown, paper in hand), Joan Martin McNeal, silentdisaster.org (r. in group)

Roger Naylor, Public Relations Director for Southeast Health District, is quite familiar with Janet McMahan’s discovery of arsenic in groundwater and says Continue reading

News media finally reporting Fukushima leaking radioactive water into ocean

It’s not just a storage tank, either; radioactive water has been leaking for more than two years, from the broken reactor buildings into groundwater and the Pacific Ocean. It’s not just a local Japanese problem: Fukushima is here.

The cautious version, by Antoni Slodkowski and Mari Saito, Reuters, today, Radioactive water seeping into Pacific from Fukushima is ’emergency,’ official says,

Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is creating an “emergency” that the operator is struggling to contain, an official from the country’s nuclear watchdog said Monday.

This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority task force, told Reuters.

Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) are only a temporary solution, he said.

VOA News, also today, admits leaks have been going on for more than two years and nobody knows how to stop them, Fukushima Operator Under Fire for Radioactive Leaks,

Rianne Teule, a nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace International, says the issue is a serious environmental concern.

“Most of all it proves TEPCO is incapable of dealing with this situation and that the Japanese authorities should really step in and ensure that proper action is taken to stop the leaks,” said Teule.

But it is not clear what other actions TEPCO could take at this point. Former Nuclear power plant designer Masashi Goto worked on several projects with TEPCO.

“The situation is already beyond what Tepco can handle,” said Goto. “If Continue reading

When contamination gets into the watershed

Fort Gillem groundwater contamination Underground may be out of sight, but it just keeps seeping farther, getting into more wells, poisoning more wetlands, and getting into the air, causing cancer and other diseases.

Katie Leslie and Shannon McCaffrey wrote for the AJC 13 April 2013, 20 years later, Fort Gillem contamination still spreading,

In the early 1990s the U.S. Army discovered hazardous chemicals dumped at Fort Gillem seeping into residential wells in neighboring Forest Park. The finding prompted the military to pass out bottled water and convert many residents to a county water system from their private wells.

But two decades and a base closure later, state officials say the Army still hasn’t done enough to clean up known and suspected carcinogens that are migrating from groundwater into surface water and, potentially, into the air residents breathe.

groundwater contamination  from a waste disposal site

We might want to think about that before importing coal ash; oh, wait, we already did! Maybe at least we should not import any more of it. We already have cancer-causing arsenic in some of our wells; we don’t need more. And what about that Continue reading

Even the smallest amount of tritium can have negative health impacts, and most nukes leak tritium.

Received yesterday on Nuclear Plant Hatch radioactive leaks. Tritium (3H, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) is the stuff nuclear Plant Hatch is letting leak into our groundwater. NRC lists 44 leaking sites out of 65 active reactor locations. No solar or wind plants leak tritium. -jsq

In case you haven’t seen this yet: TRITIUM: HEALTH CONSEQUENCES. Excerpt:

Most studies indicate that tritium in living creatures can produce

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Nuclear Plant Hatch radioactive leaks

The NRC publishes annual Radioactive Effluent and Environmental Reports for every operating nuclear power reactor. The reports for Plant Hatch 1 & 2 say radioactive tritium has repeatedly leaked into the soil and groundwater, but the internal swamp is getting less radioactive. Reports like this are not needed for wind or solar plants.

Plant Hatch Unconfined Perched Aquifer Tritium Concentration November 2011
Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Reports for 2011

According to a 2007 Industry Groundwater Protection Initiative Voluntary Data Collection Questionnaire,

Continue reading

Professor unrepentant in latest fracking payola case

Apparently the natural gas industry pays professors to greenwash their polluting product, like back in the hey-day of radio record companies used to pay disk jockies to play their records. Remember: natural gas from fracking is the main thing Southern Company and Georgia Power are switching to from coal (not that they’re even abandoning coal, just rebranding it as “21st century coal”). That and their nuke boondoggle at Plant Vogtle. All approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission, all of whose members apparently accept massive direct or indirect contributions from the utilities they regulate. Two GA PSC Commissioners slots are up for election right now.

The professor most recently found to be in the pay of a fracking company when he reported on fracking is unrepentant. Terrence Henry wrote for State Impact Texas yesterday, Texas Professor On the Defensive Over Fracking Money

So the questions remaining are: Why didn’t Groat disclose this in the study? And did he fail to tell anyone at the University about it?

The professor would not agree to an interview, but in an email to StateImpact Texas he says the Public Accountability Initiative report is “a mixture of truths, half truths, and unfounded conclusions based [on] incorrect interpretations of information. I don’t want to discuss it.”

The University of Texas requires that financial conflicts of interest be disclosed by employees when it has “potential for directly and significantly affecting the design, conduct, or reporting of … research or is in an entity whose financial interest appears to be affected by that research.”

Dean Sharon Mosher of the Jackson School of Geosciences says that Groat submitted the financial conflict of interest form to her office in previous years, but that he had not done so this year. “I was not aware that he was still a member of the board,” Mosher tells StateImpact Texas. “Had I known he was still a member of the board and being paid, I would have insisted that he disclosed it.”

What report? Follow the links in here. Terrence Henry wrote for State Impact Texas 23 July, Fracking Company Paid Texas Professor Behind Water Contamination Study,

Earlier this year, a study led by Dr. Charles “Chip” Groat for the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin made headlines for saying there was no link between fracking and groundwater contamination. (When we reported on the study in February, we noted that the study also found some serious issues around the safety and regulation of fracking that weren’t getting much press coverage.)

But according to a new report out today by the Public Accountablitiy Initiative (PAI), a nonprofit watchdog group, the conclusions in Groat’s report aren’t as clear cut as initially reported. And Groat himself did not disclose significant financial ties to the fracking industry.

Groat, a former Director of the U.S. Geological Survey and professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, also sits on the board of Plains Exploration and Production Company, a Houston-based company that conducts drilling and fracking in Texas and other parts of the country. According to the new report (and a review of the company’s financial reports by Bloomberg) Groat received more than $400,000 from the drilling company last year alone, more than double his salary at the University. And one of the shales examined in Groat’s fracking study is currently being drilled by the company, the report says.

Since 2007, Groat has received over $1.5 million in cash and stock awards from the company, and he currently holds over $1.6 million in company stock, according to the PAI report. (Update: we clarified with PAI, and that $1.6 million in stock comes from the stock awards over the years. PAI says Groat’s total compensation from the company is close to $2 million.)

And it gets worse from there: rough drafts published, unsubstantiated peer review claims, etc.

This isn’t an isolated case:

This isn’t the first time that academic studies of drilling have been called into question because of industry ties. In an earlier report on a State University of New York at Buffalo study on fracking’s environmental risks, Public Accountability Initiative found that it “suffered a number of critical shortcomings” and the “report’s authors had strong industry ties.”

And in today’s investigation from Bloomberg, they found other instances of industry influence and financial ties at Pennsylvania State University and University of Wyoming.

Do we want to trade air pollution by coal for groundwater pollution by fracking? When we have a better future already at hand through conservation and efficiency along with solar and wind power?


Fukushima children: 35.8% thyroid cysts (0.8% in control group)

ENENews reported today that Just 0.8% of children in 2001 Japanese control group had thyroid cysts or nodules — 36% in Fukushima study. Is that a risk we want in Georgia from the new nukes at Plant Vogtle? How about we deploy wind and solar instead, faster, cheaper, and on time, plus solar or wind spills do not cause thyroid cysts.

Now you may say there’s little chance of similar problems in Georgia, since Southern Company CEO Thomas A. Fanning assured us Plant Vogtle is 100 miles inland where there are no earthquakes. Still, the same could have been said of Chernobyl. And TEPCO back in 2001 reassured everyone that tsunamis were not a problem for Fukushima.

Economics, as in the stealth tax rate hike, $8.3 billion loan guarantee, cost overrun passthrough boondoggle sucking up money that could be going to make Georgia a world leader in solar and wind for jobs, energy independence and profit, is the main point. But let’s not forget the health risks of nuclear power, from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl to Fukushima. Or Southern Company’s Plant Hatch, for that matter, leaking radioactive tritium into the ground water 90 miles from here. No tsunami and no earthquake was required to produce that leak. It’s our money and our families’ health Southern Company is experimenting with.


TS Debbie and south Georgia extreme drought —Ashley Tye @ LCC 2012-06-25

Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency Director Ashley Tye correctly predicted no tornadoes and quite a bit of rain for when Tropical Storm Debbie made landfall. He also mentioned our chronic drought, and Commissioner Richard Raines was surprised about that.

Raines asked:

What kind of conditions would it take for us, because you and I talked a couple of weeks ago, and I was I was surprised when you said that. I guess there’s a difference between drought and extreme drought. What kind of rain conditions would we need to get out of that, I guess in terms of inches, for the water table….

Tye answered:

For them to officially declare us out of the drought, the latest numbers I’ve seen were about 15 inches over the next 30 days, or over the next 3 months, it would have to be like 25 to 30 inches. So we still need a lot of rain. But every little bit is going to help. With the rain we’ve got recently we’re better off than we were, but we’re still technically classifed as in extreme drought.

Here’s the video:

TS Debbie and south Georgia extreme drought —Ashley Tye
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 25 June 2012.

Readers of this blog know we were already in drought more than a year ago. According to U.S. Drought Monitor, we’ve been in a protracted extreme drought since then. According to USGS, our groundwater levels are all red, as in extremely low. Extremely low as in at historically low levels, as in they’ve hardly ever, if ever, been this low.