Tag Archives: toxic

Meet Greenlaw and EarthJustice in Waycross 2015-01-06

People are still sick and dying in Waycross, and answers are still few, but now there’s increasing help, and organization at a meeting next Tuesday. Remember wastewater from the Waycross SevenOut SuperFund site was sent to the Pecan Row Landfill in Valdosta, and we could have similar sites here, too. Helping Waycross is helping everyone deal with toxic chemicals. -jsq

Facebook event, Meeting Announcement – Tuesday Evening, January 6, 2014, Continue reading

How to invite toxic industries to your county

Maybe we should stop inviting toxic industries to Lowndes County. We’ve been doing that with coal ash, PCBs, superfund wastewater, used diapers in recycling, and suing local businesses while not terminating an exclusive franchise with a company that is involved in all of that. Not to mention Sterling Chemical.

Here in Lowndes County we have TVA coal ash and Florida coal ash in our landfill, and the landfill operator spreads the coal ash on roads on the site, which is just uphill from the Withlacoochee River. GA EPD fined that landfill operator $27,500 in January 2013 for accepting PCBs into that same Pecan Row Landfill. The same landfill that accepted 196,500 gallons of wastewater from the Seven Out Superfund site in Waycross, GA.

A landfill that is in an aquifer recharge zone. Continue reading

Waste from Superfund site in Waycross went to Lowndes County landfill

What was in that waste water that went into landfill in an aquifer recharge zone, with surface runoff into the Withlacoochee River? The 44 shipments from the toxic waste site in Waycross to the Pecan Row landfill in Lowndes County were “Non RCRA Regulated Liquids”, but “PCBs are not defined as hazardous wastes” and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, “To be a hazardous waste, a material must first be a solid waste.” So “Non RCRA Regulated Liquids” apparently says nothing about hazard or toxicity.

Cover 44 shipments went from the “7 Out Site” to “Pecan Row, Valdosta, GA” for $59,495.00 total of your federal tax dollars paid to Veolia, according to pages 12 and 13 of Final Report, Task Order # F-0032, Seven Out LLC Tank Site, Waycross, Georgia, Contract No. 68S4-02-06 for Emergency and Rapid Response Services, EPA Region 4, Prepared By WRS Infrastructure & Environment, Inc., 5555 Oakbrook Pkwy, Suite 175, Norcross, Georgia 30093, May 2, 2006.

Is this where those PCBs in the landfill came from? EPA itself says, Are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) regulated under RCRA as a hazardous waste?

PCBs are not defined as hazardous wastes (Memo, Weddle to Verde; May 18, 1984 (RCRA Online #12235)). However, it is possible that PCBs may be incidental contaminants in listed hazardous waste (e.g., solvent used to remove PCBs from transformers) or may be present in wastes that are characteristically hazardous. In these cases, wastes that otherwise meet a listing criteria or are characteristically hazardous are still subject to RCRA regulation regardless of PCB content.

Pecan Row, Valdosta, GA page 1 However, to avoid duplicative regulation with Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), certain PCB containing wastes that exhibit the toxicity characteristic are exempt from regulation under RCRA (Monthly Call Center Report Question; September 1996 (RCRA Online #14014)). Section 261.8 exempts from RCRA Subtitle C regulation PCB-containing dielectric fluid and the electric equipment which holds such fluid if they satisfy two criteria. First, these PCB wastes must be regulated under the TSCA standards of Part 761. Second, only the PCB wastes which exhibit the toxicity characteristic for an organic constituent (waste codes D018-43) may qualify for the exemption (§261.8).

Apparently any liquid wastes from a Superfund site would be “Non RCRA Regulated Liquids”, according to U.S. DoE EH-231-034/0593 (May 1993), Exclusions and Exemptions from RCRA Hazardous Waste Regulation,

Pecan Row, Valdosta, GA page 2
  • any solid or dissolved material introduced by a source into a federally owned treatment work (FOTW) if certain conditions, described in Sect. 108 of the FFCA of 1992, are met;
  • industrial wastewater discharges that are point source discharges regulated under section 402 of the Clean Water Act [§261.4(a)(2)]

If a Superfund site is not a federally owned treatment work, what is? And if the Seven Out site was not an industrial wastewater point source, what is?

Sample waste manifest, Onyx Pecan Row, Valdosta, GA The Onyx Waste Manifests on pages 75-120 say the materials were “Non-Hazardous Non-Regulated Waste water”. (Onyx became Veolia Environmental Services in 2005, according to Veolia.) As we’ve seen, “Non-Regulated” apparently means little. We don’t know what was in that waste water that went into a landfill in a recharge zone for the Floridan Aquifer, the source of our drinking water, and with surface runoff into the Withlacoochee River.


Toxic air in Georgia —NRDC

Georgia's air: not quite as bad as Florida's.

WTXL wrote Thursday, Florida and Georgia ranked high for toxicity exposure,

According to an analysis released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Florida is the 6th worst state in the nation when it comes to exposing residents to toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Florida's air would rate even worse if Florida Power and Light had to burn coal in Florida instead of at Plant Scherer near Macon to generate power for Florida. Instead, FPL dirties Georgia's air for Florida's benefit.

Georgia is ninth worst on the NRDC's Toxic 20 list, in “Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States”. Here's NRDC's press release.


Coal ash at Plant Scherer considered harmful for your health

Penny-wise, pound foolish, that's coal and coal ash, we're all discovering.

S. Heather Duncan wrote for the Macon Telegraph 14 April 2012, Plant Scherer ash pond worries neighbors as Georgia Power buys, levels homes,

The home among the trees was supposed to be Mark Goolsby's inheritance. His 78-year-old mother now lives in the large, white, wood farmhouse that his family built before the Civil War.

But Goolsby says he'll never live there now.

That's because across the street and through those trees is one of the largest coal ash ponds in the country. It belongs to Plant Scherer, a coal-fired plant that came to the neighborhood considerably later than the Goolsby family. In the mid-1970s, Goolsby said, “when (Georgia Power) bought 350 acres from my dad, they told him we'd never know they were there.”

Those acres are now part of an unlined pond where Georgia Power deposits about 1,000 pounds of toxic coal ash a day. Neither federal nor Georgia rules require groundwater monitoring around the pond. The federal Toxic Release Inventory shows that in 2010 alone, the pond received ash containing thousands of pounds of heavy metals and radioactive compounds including arsenic, vanadium, and chromium.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 1 in 50 residents nationally who live near ash ponds could get cancer from the arsenic leaking into wells. The EPA also predicts that unlined ash ponds can increase other health risks, such as damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system, from contaminants such as lead.

A massive 2008 spill from a Tennessee coal ash pond led to greater scrutiny of the dams that hold these ponds in place, and the EPA promised new rules for storing coal ash. The process led to broader awareness of a more long-term health threat: groundwater contamination from the ponds.

So what's Georgia Power's solution?

Monroe County property records show Georgia Power has spent about $1.1 million buying property near Plant Scherer between 2008 and the end of 2010. But the true number may be higher.

They're going to have to keep doing that until they buy up a lot more property, I predict.

Wouldn't it be cheaper for the future bottom line of Georgia Power and its parent the Southern Company to invest in solar and wind power?


Organic food market booming

What continued to grow right through the recession? Local and organic foods, especially sold through farmers’ markets and traditional supermarkets.

Carol Hazard wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 21, 2011, Organic, natural food catching on:

U.S. sales of organic foods and beverages grew from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.8 billion in 2009, according to the Organic Trade Association.

The sector saw double-digit growth — often more than 20 percent — every year over the past decade except 2009, at the tail-end of the recession. Even then, organic sales rose 5.9 percent from the previous year while total food sales increased only 1.6 percent.

The article didn’t link to the study, but here it is: Industry Statistics and Projected Growth.

Further from the Times-Dispatch article:

National grocers are pumping up their organic and natural food selections. Even Wal-Mart and its Sam’s Club warehouse division are paying attention.
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Biomass Plant Hearing Today

You can ask questions and expect answers.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Air Protection Branch issued a Press Release on April 12, 2010 announcing a meeting:

EPD will hold a question and-answer (Q&A) session and a public hearing on Tuesday, April 27, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room in the Valdosta City Hall Annex. The city hall annex is located at 300 N. Lee Street.
The subject is “on Proposed Biomass-Fired Power Plant Application Submitted by WireGrass Power, LLC”

You can also submit questions and comments in writing: Continue reading