Archive for April, 2010

Uranium Threat in VA

Imported from Selective Sounds
http://selectivesounds.com/2010/04/23/uranium-threat-in-va/

Uranium Threat in VA
By SSWriter on Apr 23, 2010 in Rant On

Fact: Natural uranium is used to fuel nuclear power reactors. Uranium-238 can be converted into fissionable plutonium. Yea. I don’t know what that means either but I know it can’t be good for humans or animals. Uranium has been mined in dry climates on the west coast in the U.S.

I say all that because there is a large Uranium deposit in western Virginia that is worth a lot of money. So, of course, people want to mine it (long story short – Read more at http://pecva.org). However, the east coast climate is not suitable for the mining of uranium. As you know, our climate is often humid or full of moisture. When a cloud of toxic fumes goes up, it doesn’t dissipate. It comes right back down on our heads as Acid Rain. If that cloud of disease goes up on the western side of the state, you can be sure that we will literally feel it here in Hampton Roads. I won’t mention that the Acid Rain would also pollute the rivers. Do you know how connected the rivers in Virginia are?

A couple of years ago, waste containing un-enriched Uranium leaked into two rivers from a nuclear plant in southern France. Officials banned people in three nearby towns from fishing, using water from wells, swimming in the rivers or using river water on their crops. That would suck! I love the beach, fishing, and… eating.

If allowed, the Uranium mine owners will tell us all about their safety precautions. But, ONE slip can be fatal for residents of Virginia and the surrounding states. Mistakes or freak accidents do happen. The latest example is the Transocean Ltd. Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig that sank 42 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. First it had an explosion then it burned for two days before it sank. And BP (the owner) “had in recent years made improving safety and operational methods a priority after a deadly Texas refinery accident and an oil spill in Alaska.”

Fortunately, the mining in Virginia has not begun. But, we all have to be aware so that mining will NOT start in the first place.

* Thanks to Angela aka ajomi over at http://www.waterfrontsportsman.wordpress.com and the “serious advocates of water quality and quality of life issues for all” at http://www.waterfrontsportsman.biz/ for making me aware.

Sewage Sludge: An Educational Overview?

The spreading of sewage sludge is a white hot topic. On one side of the fence you have the argument that the land application of sludge is safe and on the other side you have the opposing argument. Words are tossed around like hot potatoes and meaning often gets tossed to the four winds. Sewage sludge. Biosolids. Fertilizer. Organic. I am not very interested in the semantics but let’s be sure we are arguing about the same thing and understand the definition of these words as they relate to the discussion. Definitions according to the dictionary are:

Fertilizer – Any of a large number of natural and synthetic materials applied into soil to increase its capacity to support plant growth.

Sewage Sludge
 – Solid, semi-solid or liquid residue generated from industrial wastewater, domestic sewage, and surface water processed in a treatment facility.

Biosolids – Solid, semisolid or liquid material derived from sewage sludge, often used as fertilizer, has been labeled as “biosolids compost,” organic fertilizer.”

Organic – Grown without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals; Of or designating carbon compounds.

Given these definitions it is reasonable that one might assume that biosolids can be used as fertilizer. Sludge by definition doesn’t seem safe to use as a fertilizer whatsoever. But do a Google search on sludge and biosolids.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now that you’ve searched you’re probably confused, wondering who’s right and who’s wrong? The EPA says one thing. Corporate interests says another. And, the scientists are all over the place. The conclusion that I draw from all the information available about sewage sludge and biosolids is that sewage sludge is bad. No other way to say it. Biosolids, that information seems designed to be inaccessible and, well, the expert opinions are all over the place, so how can anyone come to an informed opinion about biosolids? How? It seems they just throw caution to the wind.

Volumes of research have been done on biosolids, yet there is still no scientific consensus on the safety of biosolids. The only thing one can get from the controversy is that the opposing sides strongly disagree over whether sewage sludge and biosolids are or are not the same thing. But that is not the real question?

The question is, “Are biosolids safe to apply on land?” It’s a little late to ask, but let’s, why? Because biosolids – be it aka sewage sludge or not – is being spread on land all over this country as we speak. Biosolids, which are derived from sewage sludge that our government environmental watchdog has long considered hazardous toxic material, have to meet certain requirements set forth by the EPA. Well, that’s all fine and dandy. But are we sure that those standards are as rigorous as they need to be? Or does setting forth a requirement simply make it sound legit? Like half-doing a job to get by. And, who is doing the monitoring to make sure these requirements are met? And, what about someone studying those monitoring reports to make sure we know what we think we know? The ramifications of land application of biosolids not being 100% safe are catastrophic. And, yo, it’s not okay to “slip up” here. Does the spreading of biosolids pose a clear and present danger to public health? Is there the slightest risk that harmful chemicals, hazardous toxic material can get into the food and water supply? They do not know for certain. One thing we know for certain is IF that happens there will be no turning back. We have had enough experience to know that.

If human life could be sustained solely on episodes of Glee, the music of Nicki Minaj, and the dance moves of the JabbaWockeeZ, then sure spread biosolids, sling sludge until you pass out. But the truth of the matter is humans have to eat and drink to live. Our digestive systems are not designed to separate bad things in foods from the good. We are mutations. Mutants. What we eat goes directly into our collective systems and the rest is called evolution, for better or for worse.

In North Carolina, Virginia, and many other states, sludge spreading is a serious problem. If it is known that sludge is potentially harmful, why is it being spread? In my mind, if Sugar Brand A is laced with arsenic and Sugar Brand B is not; why would I voluntarily put Sugar Brand A in my coffee? It appears that they want to count us brain dead before our time. Sewage sludge is known to have caused serious medical complications in people and animals that have been exposed to it. Getting the powers that be to admit to and take responsibility for this has proven to be somewhat difficult. When money is involved people do some strange things. And if a company can cut some corners and make a few extra bucks, say, like hundreds of millions, the amount of strange things they’ll do is endless.

NEWS FLASH: We all drink the same water and eat the same food. Sludge will get to you too!

Take for example, the upcoming educational summit at NCSU in Raleigh, April 27-28. It’s called the “Fork to Farm: A Biosolids Educational Summit.” It caught my eye, I read the agenda and the list of attendees. Immediately, I said to myself, “WHOA! Hold the freaking …! Those are not the soil-friendly folks that launched the “Farm to Fork” initiative in 2008 at NCSU’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems. But aren’t they the same people that we here at Waterfront Sportsman and The Environmental Investigation Coalition have been discussing for months in the e-mag.” Oh, I gasped, how stupid of me, those names are simply strikingly similar. Farm to Fork Fork to Farm, the inversion of the name got by me. Oh, words, words, words, words. Try false flag flying.

The squires and pages at the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, aka DENR, and Darth Vaders’s spawn, i.e., representatives of the titan of the biosolids industry, Synagro, have been given the opportunity to speak and enlighten. Well, I’d fasten up the horse and buggy and scurry right on over to the summit next week had I not the sinking feeling that something ain’t right, pardon my grammar. It is to be an EDUCATIONAL seminar, right, meaning those who attend are under the supposition that they’re going to learn something. How much unbiased, 100% fact based knowledge do you think is going to be available at an event with DENR and Synagro folks as featured experts? Am I skeptical about this event? You bet (she doesn’t own the phrase.) I’m quite skeptical and if I had the ability to raise one eyebrow I would. Paranoia and humor are the only thing that can save you with this crowd.

Putting jokes aside, let’s focus on the fact that sludge spreading and the use of biosolids is profoundly serious. This is not the case of a bunch of tree huggers banning together to try to save a local park. This is the case of scientists, consumers, producers, politicians, environmentalists, and all the people of the land finding themselves in one dilly of a pickle. This is not the time to be colluding, cutting deals, stuffing dollars, lying, or equivocating. We cannot allow these issues to remain pawns in a sick and pointless, but ruinous, greed filled game of chess. Unless, of course, you’re comfortable with complicity. We’re talking about human life, and life in the broadest sense. No matter your take on the semantics – biosolids, sewage sludge – the bottom line is that the safety and security of the water and food supply, which are dependent on the health of the soil, should never be compromised and possibly irreversibly contaminated to satisfy, what, the short-term thinking, parasitic, greedy and corrupt agents that are running amok in our society. Have we gone mad?

Answer the question, below, it’s easier:

When you go out to eat don’t you want to know the water you’ll drink is clean and pure? Don’t you want to know your salad and/or your burger has come from a farm that is free from toxins? Let me guess, answered in the affirmative, correct? So what are you willing to do to get what you want?

It Speaks for Itself

Sludge Nightmare in Virginia

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I am a victim of a sludge application that resulted from spraying sludge in the trees around my house. This has
affected not only me, but my husband, son and animals. It has completely destroyed our lives and the quality of life that we had before the spraying of this putrid smelling, toxic mess! Before the sludge company dumped on the land around us we lived in a peaceful place with an abundance of wildlife and in a home that we spent our life savings to build. Now we have a home we cannot occupy and are forced to live elsewhere. Why? Both my husband and I have developed lung diseases and other medical problems that have caused us to have extreme coughing, nose bleeds, itchy eyes, throat irritation and other problems that resemble allergic reactions whenever we go near our home or other sludge sites.

I have a terminal lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, that my doctors believe has come from being exposed to sludge. My husband now has C.O.P.D and asthma — he had never smoked or been around smoke. He and I are progressively getting worse. My son is now showing more symptoms and my older dog has been having seizures. I have had to get up in the middle of the night and go sleep in our truck behind our church because I could not breathe. At times my husband has had to go with me. We stay wherever we can and live out of a suitcase. We have a 25 by 8 foot camper that we are trying to find a permanent place for. We need to stay in a place away from any sludge sites for a while so we are able to breathe. We are both senior citizens that are not only sick, but have to worry now about where we will lay our heads for the night.

Does the sludge company care? NO!!!!! Even though they knew that 6 or 7 people were sick they came in with the second application. They KNEW that I had a lung disease and that I could not breathe when this stuff was applied. Did it matter? No. They came back anyway. They do not care at all about human life. The ONLY thing that matters to them is MONEY.

We want to move, we have put the farm up for sale, but can’t sell it. Since all our savings is in this place we can’t buy another one. The bank would not loan us money against the farm to buy another house because of the sludge that is around our property. It is a risk to the bank. So no matter what we do we are stuck with a home we can’t stay in and can’t sell. We asked the sludge company and the landowners to relocate us – what a joke! That might cost them some money. Just my medical bills are over half a million dollars and climbing by the day. This is just the beginning, as this disease progresses the medical costs will also. Now my husband is sick. We moved out here to retire and enjoy country life. It has been a nightmare that I can’t even begin to put into words! We are grieving for the loss of everything good that was in our life. We have become pass the point of depression; we have nothing to look forward to but more sickness and no one to hear us.

When we tried to fight the sludge company they went into our small community and did everything they could to discredit us with our friends, neighbors and others. They have no defense for what they have done, so they are trying to create one by making us look like the bad guys. My sympathy and heart go out to anyone that is dealing with sludge applications near their homes. I hope that someone in our government system will see what sludge does to human lives and will have the guts to stand up to these powerful companies and stop this insanity before anyone else suffers or dies.

Sandra Wyatt. Claremont, VA.

SLUDGE! SLUDGE! SLUDGE! SLUDGE! SLUDGE! SLUDGE!

Maybe if I say the word sludge over and over again throughout this post people will wake up and realize that sludge is harmful!

So let’s talk about sludge

Here’s a letter about the effects of sludge

NORTH CAROLINA SLUDGE VICTIMS SUFFER COUGH, HEADACHE, IRRITATED EYES, BURNING NOSE, SORE
THROAT, FOUL STENCH IMPRISONING PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN HOMES, FILTHY FLIES, RUNOFF TO SURFACE
WATERS

http://www.sludgenews.org/action/story.aspx?id=31

Brenda Clemmer, Mebane, NC 27302

We have Had Enough!
September 1, 2008

My husband and I have worked a combined total of 72 years. We live in the Stagg Creek Subdivision in Mebane, North Carolina. Everything we have is in our home. My complaint is about the sludge permit issued at 4191 Dickey Mill Rd. We understand that this property belongs to LeAnn Land Company and is leased to Morris Meadows, a cattle company. Nine years ago, we bought land in a housing development, not a cattle ranch. This tract of land was not being farmed and there was no cattle business. The land was being developed for housing.

We are a residential community that includes many elderly and children. The spreading of Class B sewage sludge from Mebane on this land is decreasing our home and land values. Our health, ground water, way of life, and peace of mind have been drastically jeopardized. We are all concerned about our well water. When this sludge is spread, I cannot go outside. My eyes get irritated, my nose burns, and I get a sore throat with a
cough and headache. Imagine living where the stench is so unbearable that you cannot go outside to walk, garden, play basketball, sit on the porch, or picnic. Nobody will visit. You are a prisoner in your own home. The only relief is to leave the property.

Sewage sludge cannot be regulated. This application is so dangerous that cattle cannot graze on the land for 30 days and people aren’t supposed to walk on it for a year after it is applied. Little orange flags used for setbacks cannot stop the water runoff when it rains. Those flags cannot stop thousands of flies that spread diseases, infection, and germs. They cannot stop the wind that carries particles of sludge that we breathe into our lungs. They cannot stop the nasty stench you can smell for miles. You cannot regulate what you cannot control.

Rain-water runoff goes into Stagg Creek which feeds directly into the Graham-Mebane Lake. As the crow flies, this lake is about a half mile from the sewage sludge field. This lake is the drinking water supply for Mebane and Graham. Alamance County and Mebane, you need to get off your haunches and protect us. It is your job to provide us with the same quality of life that the City of Mebane enjoys. It is your job to keep us safe. We feel we have been neglected. We think that what you are allowing to happen is morally wrong.

We have had enough! We will not tolerate how we are being treated. We want the sludge permit revoked immediately and forever. We are part of the Mebane community. Mebane, please set an example and do the right thing.

Brenda Clemmer, Mebane, NC 27302

cc: North Carolina Division of Water Quality

State Bans Sewer Hookups

http://www.thecountycompass.com/cc/node/414
Submitted by Webmaster on Thu, 04/15/2010 – 12:00

Local moratorium stymies economic growth

Pamlico County suffered a devastating economic setback this week when state regulators nixed all future sewer hookups by Bay River Metropolitan Sewerage District. The ban, which local sewer officials hope will be short-term, requires a public hearing before the moratorium takes effect May 24.

In a sternly worded letter dated April 9, David May, the Aquifer Protection Regional Supervisor for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources cited the crux of the problem:

“The infiltration ponds at the River Dunes site are not functioning as designed,” wrote May.

These reservoirs, also known as basins, were supposedly constructed as a conduit for highly treated wastewater to reenter the environment. Unfortunately, recent tests confirm the ponds are ‘infiltrating’ at only a micro-percentage of the 300,000 gallon per day rate required by a state permit.

For the past three months, effluent from the Oriental treatment plant – one of two operated by the sewer district – has been intentionally diverted by pumping it 20 miles away to a pine plantation just north of Arapahoe.

There, the effluent is sprayed, in keeping with the sewer system’s commitment to avoid direct discharge into creeks, waterways, or even the Neuse River. However, the sprayfield can receive no more than 500,000 gallons per day.

That limit on disposal translates into a limit on capacity, despite the fact that the sewer district’s two plants have a combined treatment capability of 800,000 gallons per day.

Any fix will likely prove costly.

The board of directors for the sewer district meets Thursday night, April 15, at 7 p.m.

The district office is behind First Citizens Bank in Bayboro. The meeting is open to the public.
N.C. Division of Water Quality Letter:
April 9, 2010

Mr. Art Hough
Bay River Metropolitan Sewerage District
Post Office Box 758
Bayboro, North Carolina 28515

Subject: Notification of Sewer Moratorium
Permit No. WQ0013348

Dear Mr. Hough:

The Division of Water Quality has determined that the Bay River Metropolitan Sewerage District (BRMSD) Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Facility is unable to adequately collect and treat waste tributary to its wastewater treatment facility. The determination is based on the fact that the infiltration ponds at the River Dunes site are not functioning as designed. As such, all wastewater from the Oriental and Bayboro wastewater treatment facilities is being disposed of its wastewater at the Arapahoe spray site, which is designed to 500,000 gallons per day. The two facilities’ average influent flow for 2009 was 460,000 gallons per day, which is 92 percent of available capacity.

North Carolina General Statute 143-215.67(a) states in part, that no person subject to the provisions of . . . (various provision of the same chapter) . . . shall cause or allow the discharge of any wastes to a waste-disposal system in excess of the capacity of the disposal system, or of any wastes which the disposal system cannot adequately treat. Should these terms be violated, 143-215.67(c) states a moratorium may be imposed “on the addition of waste to a treatment works” if the treatment works is not capable of adequately treating additional waste.

The wastewater treatment system can no longer adequately dispose of the wastewater that is coming into the system. Therefore, BRMSD is hereby placed on a sewer moratorium (with no new sewer taps or extensions) at its wastewater treatment plants effective May 24, 2010.

This moratorium will remain in effect until BRMSD has sufficiently demonstrated that it can adequately dispose of the wastewater coming into its facilities and has obtained written permission from the Division of Water Quality suspending the moratorium.

As required by 143-215.67(d), BRMSD shall give public notice that a moratorium will be placed on the discharge of additional waste to BRMSD’s treatment works within 15 days of receipt of this letter. BRMSD shall give public notice of the moratorium by publication of the notice one time in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the treatment works is located.

Correspondence pertaining to this moratorium should be sent to 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington, NC 27889. If you have any questions about this letter, please contact David May at (252) 948-3939.

Sincerely,

David May
Aquifer Protection Regional Supervisor
Washington Regional Office
Division of Water Quality
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Mommy, the water tastes funny…

If my mother had a dollar for every time she heard either my sister or me say those words she’d probably have an extra $300,000 in the bank; maybe more. Turning on our tap to get a glass of water resulted in a cloudy glass of “water” with a distinct flavor…metal with a hint of who knows what. My parents immediately started buying distilled and bottled water. Safe to say that since I was in the 3rd grade I’ve been anti-tap water.

As I got older I would have conversations with my parents about all these health issues that seem to be springing up like weeds. I recall saying things like, “It doesn’t make sense; these disease weren’t as frequent when you guys were my age.” My mom would shrug her shoulders and not say much. My military father usually agreed or stayed silent. I’ve always been a nature lover; so for a while I’ve been aware of environmental issues. I began to think that maybe a lot of our medical problems (cancer, autism, respiratory problems, and a few others) were linked to things in the environment.

Last May, I answered an ad on craigslist. A group was looking for interns interested in the environment and not afraid to go against the status quo. That’s me! I went to Panera Bread and met 2 interesting characters, Dale and Renee. I read their information and chatted with them; then decided to get involved.

I could fill this blog with information about the sludge spreading across the state, the missing tax dollars, the bad dealings of Easley, Perdue, Hunt, and others, and a hodgepodge of other problems North Cackalacky has. I could talk about the Uranium Mine in VA. (If the scientist say don’t mine, but politicians say mine who are you gonna believe? I’m going with the scientist) But I don’t feel like it. I’d rather talk about why I’m still with the group.

I stick with the group because I believe in what they’re doing. I would not have spoken at the Guilford County Commissioners meeting last November if I did not. I would not have this blog. I would not be raising awareness. Hell, I would’ve walked away from that meeting at Panera Bread and never got back in touch with them.

Have I done my own research on these issues? Yes, I have. It doesn’t take a genius to realize what’s going on and how it affects us. I have no interest whatsoever in stopping people from smoking and drinking. I could careless that someone wants to light up a cig and toss back a few shots. I don’t care. I care that when I turn on my faucet my water is contaminated. I care that when I choose to live in a nice neighborhood some idiot has already tainted the land or better yet not designed it properly so I end up with water damage in my beautiful home. I care that when I decide to sit on my on porch and sip my NC brand wine I have to think, “Was the soil in the vineyards contaminated?” Yes, I care about air quality. However, I do not believe the air is what’s making people sick. If that were the case there probably wouldn’t be anyone to fight for the quality of air because we’d all be sick or dead. No, hard feelings to anyone who fights for air quality. It’s okay to be concerned about the air and being energy efficient.

Now, do I care about other things in the world? Yes, I care about homelessness, poverty, war, famine, crime, teen pregnancy rates, domestic violence, child abuse, animal abuse…yeah…those types of things. Anyway, back to the topic:

Yes, Dale, is straight forward, out in left field, buck wild, outta order, loud, country, abrasive, loud, loud, fast talking, in yo’ face type guy, or whatever adjective you want to use. But for years this man has seen with his own eyes what’s been going on in our state. In my opinion he is a credible source when it comes to sludge spreading and development issues.

Dale has his critics. It’s understandable. If I were a wolf in sheep’s clothing and my sheep’s clothing was snatched off by a smart sheep, I would run back and tell all the other wolves what he’s done (and to be a little bit more careful and get better sheep’s clothing). I’d also tell the dumber sheep that I was still a sheep. I’d make them believe me by pointing out everything negative in the sheep that exposed me. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still a damn wolf.

For my non-metaphorical people and my functioning illiterates:

Nobody likes to be called out and exposed for who they truly are; especially those people who have knowingly done wrong and spent years trying to cover up their bad dealings; it’s embarrassing, costly, and for some may land them in jail.

The environmental and development issues we have in North Carolina don’t have to be issues. There is no reason to spread sludge, over development, embezzle money, misappropriate funds, lie, etc. etc. etc. The groups that have stemmed from Waterfront Sportsman have real solutions to real problems. So why all the fussiness? Well, refer back to the wolf analogy. Others reasons included:
Some people can’t handle not being first.
Some people can’t handle being wrong.
Some people can’t handle being slightly wrong.
Some people can’t handle their agenda being pushed to the rear.
In lesser words some people just hate having a bruised or busted ego.

When it comes to what’s going on in our state, egos needed to be checked at the door. These problems are making people sick. These problems are making people financially unstable. These problems are killing people; slowly, but surely. You don’t want to believe it c’est le vie; just stay on your side of the fence and keep your mouth shut. If you have factual evidence that anything the EIC and Dale has said is false show and prove; no speculation only documentation…no rambling, no finger pointing, no whining, no crying, no yelling, no redundant statements, no out of date data…just the facts.

Okay, I’m done. Feel free to comment. But remember your comments must be educational and please spell check. LOL See, I have a sense of humor, but for real limit your spelling errors and be as educated as possible.