Saturday, June 13, 2009
"...I left OZ in October of 1974 to take on the PM job for New Jersey Zinc’s Zinc Refinery in Clarksville Tennessee...the company made me Manager and the Vice President of the Non-Ferrous Division....At the time I had what was probably the largest engineering group in the world doing lead-zinc projects as well as uranium extraction projects. We were getting around half the uranium projects on offer and we had the El Paso lead smelter job...."
Otago School of Mines & Metallurgy
1950s Graduates Newsletter
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Imagine how many square miles the Asarco El Paso stacks contaminated. 1000 square miles is over 15 miles away from the stacks --- and this would include the Santa Teresa international development, Petroleum tank farms, and other industries being built within the "ZONE".
Monday, June 8, 2009
QUOTES FROM HEARING TESTIMONY
For those of you who were not able to make it to Austin to hear the 16 hours of testimony, we’ve provided a sample below for you. The first quotes are from Mike Davis, an Austin lawyer representing citizens concerned about refinery pollution, and Alfred Williams, a resident of Corpus Christi and neighbor to dangerous refineries. The second quote is from an industry lobbyist. His testimony will give you a taste of the language, themes, and quality of debate we’ll be facing in the legislative session on these issues.
Anyone can listen to the hearings by accessing the audio archive on the Sunset web page: http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/ (go to General Information, scroll down to the “public hearing” link and you’ll get to the live and archived audio)
Mike Davis (Slack and Davis law firm)
“My experience in trying to obtain information is that the record keeping system at the agency is abysmal. What I’ve found is that to get meaningful information about a facility is nearly impossible at the agency.”
“[We compiled Valero’s upset history from 1994-1999--a project that took hundreds if not thousands of hours. Their emissions are routinely] understated by 80-90%. If you look specifically at 1995, they reported 325,000 pounds of emissions. When you roll in the upsets in there, they had 4 million pounds of emissions-- a 92.6% understatement-an amount that exceeded their permit level, in a year which, coincidentally, they received the Governor’s Environmental Excellence award. In 1997 Valero had 53 upsets, in 1998 82 upsets, in 1999 they had 100 upsets. But there is nothing in the regulatory oversight at TNRCC that does anything to deter that. There is no penalty...”
“I live in Corpus Christi Texas. I’m living in the same location I was when I moved there 30 years ago, and there were no refineries then. They moved in next to me. And my problems have gone downhill ever since. I don’t know how many of you have ever had to leave home at night and you’ve worked all day and you’re tired. And you have a kid who’s scared to death, or a wife tell you I can’t breathe and you have to call an ambulance and take her to the hospital... And then when you call TNRCC you get a recording. Any time after 5:00 they’re gone. Then 2 or 3 days later they come out and say to you, ‘you didn’t smell anything, didn’t nothing happen, you have to be lying because we talked to Valero and they said nothing happened and they must be telling the truth.’”
“I don’t get clean air any more. I get the left-overs. I live it day in and day out. It’s a nightmare. I’m here today to let you know something has to be done. TNRCC is not doing it’s job. I’ve come here today, taken off work to tell you my problems because TNRCC, they don’t have no time for little guys like me. It’s always what the industry says. They are always right and you are always wrong. I have neighbors up the street who say, ‘we don’t call the TNRCC because TNRCC never does anything.’”
(Goleman is currently registered as a lobbyists for the following entities, among others: ASARCO Inc., Celanese Ltd., Deer Park Refinery, Equilon Pipeline Company LLC, Exxon Mobil, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority, Koch Industries, Motiva Enterprises LLC, TXI Operations.)
“What is ‘the public?’ I believe I represent the public...”
“...One entity has the duty and responsibility to protect the public welfare and the public health and the environment--and that’s the TNRCC...Others, even those that may name themselves under some heading such as ‘public interest’ or something, are really just a special interest. And what we have frequently in permitting and regulatory contexts are two principal specials interests in competition with the TNRCC--the tennis ball being batted back in forth. The command and control advocates vs. the regulated entities that are seeking increased innovation and efficiency from the TNRCC.”
“A variety of claims of TNRCC prejudice--being biased against citizens-- are contained in the environmental activists’ group material filed with staff and in testimony here today... We have to remember that claims do not equal evidence...a vial of water, even one that has discoloration, may not serve as evidence of any violation or any threat to public health or welfare...Great care needs to be take in making any significant changes as to how TNRCC employs its expertise... as it gathers evidence of non-compliance, just so that people with claims can be appeased.”
June 2000 Public Hearing
- quoted under fair use, for public good and not for private gain -
Table 6. Estimated annual production rates and average 226Ra concentrations
Production Rate (metric tons per year) & Average 226Ra Concentration, Bq/g (pCi/g)
Metal mining and processing 1.0E+09 0.18 (5)
- Rare earths 2.1E+03 33.3 (900)
- Zirconium, hafnium, titanium, and tin 4.70E+05 1.59 (43)
- Large volume industries (e.g., copper, iron) 1.0E+09 0.18 (5)
...The metals extraction industry typically generates ... less than 0.1 billion MT (.11 billion short tons) of smelter slag. ....Measurements made at a tin smelter showed 238U concentrations up to 1.59 Bq/g (43 pCi/g) and 232Th concentrations up to 0.7 Bq/g (19 pCi/g). Gamma survey measurements at a tin smelter showed radiation levels in slag storage areas ranging from ~0.087 to 4.35 uSv/h (10 uR/h to 500 uR/h), with average levels less than ~0.522 uSv/h (60 uR/h). "
" My suspicion (I have no facts in this case) is that much of what came from Texas and Louisiana may fit into that broad definition of "NORM" (normally occurring radioactive material) that - though naturally occurring - becomes more concentrated than its natural "dose" on oil field pipe and drilling equipment. I confess, that if I even knew exactly how that material was regulated federally [it was not regulated] and managed in the States of Texas and Louisiana, I have forgotten it over the past decade..".... An EPA Director for the Paso del Norte region , personal email 07/24/08
google News Alert
|Bankruptcy court allows Asarco to set up custodial trusts |
Reuters - USA
June 8 (Reuters) - A US bankruptcy court gave copper miner Asarco LLC the go-ahead to set up custodial trust settlement agreements which will allow it to ...
See all stories on this topic
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Estimated doses to the general public from both smelter stack emissions and use of products made from recycled steel and slag are lower by at least two orders of magnitude than estimated doses related to unrestricted shallow burial of the same quantity of NORM-contaminated equipment. Furthermore, doses resulting from smelting contaminated equipment can be controlled by limiting the contamination level of the initial feed.
At the present time, regulatory limits on the release of radioactively contaminated metals have not been established. .....
The IAEA is proposing a clearance level (i.e., unrestricted release criterion) of 0.3 becquerel per gram 7 (i.e., 8 picocuries per gram [pCi/g]) for Ra-226, Ra-228, Th-228, and Pb-210; metals contaminated 8 with higher activity levels could not be released from the generator to a commercial smelter or other facility. The IAEA has no regulatory authority over the petroleum industry, and the petroleum industry would not be subject to this limit if adopted....
Although smelting currently is not employed to dispose of NORM-contaminated equipment, it has been considered by the petroleum industry as a potentially viable disposal option. For equipment that cannot be easily cleaned and reused (i.e., scrap metal), smelting might be a preferable disposal option to landfilling or indefinite storage. The bulk of this scrap metal is likely to consist of scale-encrusted tubing that cannot be easily cleaned because of its small diameter....
8.4.2 Doses to the Public from Smelter Emissions Dose estimates from smelting 50,000 t of NORM-contaminated scrap metal are presented in Table 6. Doses are presented for the maximally exposed individual, who is located approximately 500 m away from the stack release. The total dose from smelting 50,000 t of contaminated metal is estimated to be on the order of 4 ◊ 10 mrem/yr. Doses to the maximally exposed individual from -4 smelter emissions are estimated to be two orders of magnitude lower than doses estimated for other public end-use scenarios."
Texas Smelter site in Galveston shows low-level radioactive compounds as well as arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead etc......
*WHY WON'T THE EL PASO ASARCO SITE PUBLISH CHEMICAL TESTING DATA FOR ALL THOSE SAME COMPOUNDS?*
1991 El Paso Texas was recharging the Hueco aquifer with re-injection of tertiary-treated wastewater....
Abstract Tertiary-treated wastewater currently (1991) is being injected into the Hueco bolson aquifer at a site in northeastern El Paso, Texas, to supplement the quantity of available freshwater. Hydrologic data were compiled and water-quality and bacterial data were collected from existing wells near the Hueco Bolson Recharge Project (HBRP) in August and September 1990 and 1991. Borehole tracer tests indicated upward ground-water flow in nearly all tested intervals of several observation wells. The cumulative volume of injected water was less than the volume produced from wells adjacent to the HBRP area. Water levels in three production wells, located more than 1.5 miles from the injection wells, declined at rates comparable to those observed before injection operations. Water levels in wells located within 0.75 mile of the injection-well pipeline declined at a slower rate after HBRP injection operations had begun. Between 1985 and 1991, water levels in observation wells located within 700 feet of an injection well either did not appreciably decline, or declined at smaller rates than water levels in more distant production wells. Trihalomethane compounds were detected in water from 8 of the 16 observation and production wells sampled in 1990 and in 10 of the 17 wells sampled in 1991. Concentrations trihalomethane compounds in these samples ranged from 0.05 to 1.9 mg/L in 1990 and from 0.05 to 1.4 mg/L in 1991. Concentrations of trihalomethane compounds in samples of injected water from two wells were 27.8 and 34.6 mg/L respectively, in 1991. Dibromomethane and dichloromethane were detected in water from injection wells and from observation wells within about 700 feet of the injection wells. Aerobic bacteria were determined to be the only bacteria type present in ground water except for samples from two wells, which also contained denitrifying bacteria. The populations of aerobic bacteria determined in ground water ranged from 80 to more than 160,000 most probable number of organisms per milliliter of sample.
20090200 Enviornmental, Safety and Health professional at the [El Paso Asarco] plant deflamatory comment after announcement of its closing....
Source – Anne Fischel, Lin Nelson, for the “No Borders” Project (on Communities Living and Working with Asarco)
For Financial Impacts Section: Focus on the Asarco bankruptcy story
Tentative Titles – “Toxic Finances Threaten Community Health” or
“Corporate Bankruptcy Threatens Rights to Public Health”
(available through Bing search engine, "asarco illegal waste")":
-- The report needs to mention that the bankruptcy fails to consider the 1998 (now public) EPA-DOJ confidential-for-settlement-purposes-only document that proves ASARCO illegally burned unmanifested toxic wastes for profit for years. And, the report needs to say the whole bankruptcy is a sham unless it considers this waste and what chemicals were left in our communities from those secret activities
For the study, the researchers analyzed 788 adults age 20 and older who had their urine tested for arsenic levels as part of a study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2003-2004, a nationwide health study that for the first time collected and tested arsenic levels in urine.The study found that participants with type 2 diabetes had a 26 percent higher level of total arsenic in their urine compared to those not having the disease."
A 2006 Science News article reported the discovery of a new hormone, produced in our bones, that controls blood sugar better than insulin. Not all water filtration units remove arsenic.