Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's a long fall through the looking glass.

This article about the good work done by Team Radford - the environmental protection team at our local Arsenal, is somewhat mystifying to me from a technical standpoint.

Then again, I'm not a rocket scientist. 

But I do wonder, ever so politely, if someone can tell our group what happened to this novel disposal method for Nitrocellulous NC that garnered such praise in 2004?

Radford Arsenal Environmental Award Nomination 2004

While saving our government money is always a laudable goal, we would also like to confirm that the environmental benefits of this system passed muster.

It seems odd that toxic releases from the plant (as reported on the Virginia TRI) started going up in 2008, the year which RAAP disclosed they  had corrected a calculation error from TRI data provided in previous years.  

The current TRI report and so much more data  is conveniently linked by EPA from here:

The Conclusion of the 2004 Environmental report I first referenced  above states:

"Team Radford expects to have a management review completed before the 31 December 2005 deadline, and to be fully compliant with ISO 14001 and DoD EMS standards by mid-2006."

This is yet another example of why our group could really use the EPA TASC funding that was officially denied to us. EPA claims that our community group does not have the demographic profile, nor need for independent funding, that TASC was designed to address. 

So, despite the fact that the RAAP RAB voted not to accept me as a member while also voting not to ask for TAPP funding, we are not worthy of EPA funds to help employ an expert in RCRA communities with a demonstrated need. Huh.

This is still one more thing to look into - all the people from Team Radford in 2004 appear to have moved on to new jobs, so an institutional memory of this NC waste program may be challenging to find. 

But find it we will, with the help of Senator Webb and the treasured Fourth Estate.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Deception of Silence

Why is it that two facilities in the New River Valley with documented toxic contamination in the groundwater and soil operate their hazardous waste clean up with scarce public oversight?
One site where polluted groundwater releases to the New River, the former Intermet or Lynchburg Foundry in Radford,  is a mere 7.58 miles UPstream of the intake for the B'burg/C'burg/VPI Water Authority.
The fomer Intermet Foundry has been on the EPA's RCRA list for years, who knew?
Intermet Foundry RCRA
The RR ties on the adjacent land were recently addressed by the Roanoke Times, without a mention of the EPA's hazardous waste permit next door. Are those ties NOT next to the former Intermet?
where are those RR ties, anyway?
Take a few minutes to read about the inordinately high lead levels in the topsoil at the former Intermet Foundry
See the Consent Order as a PDF here

The other site, the Radford Arsenal, has been conducting clean up for decades without most people who live here having any idea of what lies in the cavernous ground that surrounds the Horseshoe Bend starting at Route 114 on the New River. 
Why is there no mention in the Roanoke Times of the Open Burning Ground (at the Radford Arsenal and under the EPA RCRA permit) which was the subject of a public DEQ  meeting on June 28th? The permit modification proposes to allow greater quantities of toxins to be burned in the 16 pans located along the banks of the New River, within the "float" described here:
 see Peppers Ferry to Whitethorne Float

Yet, our local newspaper made no mention of this meeting. Instead their article focused solely on the EPA's RCRA permit as if it were separate from the DEQ permits issued under that RCRA. Our "news"paper failed to inform readers that the Open Burning Grounds are in fact Subpart X of that EPA permit.
 Roanoke Times fails to mention DEQ meeting the NEXT NIGHT
Why the lack of transparency? Who provided the information in the sub-headline that the most of the toxins are "gone or not harmful?" Ask the Roanoke Times to cite a source for that assertion. No one at EPA Region 3 will claim to have made the statement, yet the EPA chooses to ignore the published lie. Why?
Roanoke Times disinformation
Why are the people who live in the New River Valley not being informed by their government or the press about the toxins in our drinking water? A quick look at this site indicates we have a few chemicals coming out of our taps to be concerned about...

EWG Tapwater testing results 
Why has no one in the local news media mentioned the high levels of chloroform and at least one lead level of 21.9  ppb found in Christiansburg? It's been claimed that those lead levels are due to old plumbing being affected by chlorine disinfection, but the system switched to TTHM's to "fix" that problem a decade ago. Neither does it explain the lead in tap water tests at homes with all PVC piping. These are people on municipal water - who knows what's in private wells?

Truth is, if you are pregnant or have small children a whole house water filtration system is your best bet to escape the contamination in water. That is until or unless the government agencies and employees charged with protecting our health decide to speak the truth.