Sunday, September 08, 2013
Environment - Several recent river stories: Mercury limits for Ohio River; Cleaning the Grand Calumet; and Asian Carp in the Wabash
From the Louisville Courier Journal, a story by James Bruggers headed: "Ohio River commission may relax mercury pollution rules." Some quotes from the long story:
The eight-state commission that sets water quality standards for the Ohio River wants a two-year delay on enforcement of a more stringent mercury standard while it considers relaxing those rules.ILB: Compare with this 2010 story.
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission needs more time to look into the potential implications of its decision a decade ago to eliminate “mixing zones” for pollutants such as mercury that concentrate in the environment, said the commission’s executive director, Peter Tennant.
Mixing zones rely on dilution to minimize pollution’s effects.
With the improvement of sampling and analysis technology at ever smaller concentrations, the commission has found that as many as 60 industrial facilities along the river may not meet a tougher standard for mercury, he said.
And commissioners want time figure out how to handle potential variances, should they continue with the tougher standard in 2015, he said.
Environmentalists from several groups objected in a joint statement and in comments filed with the commission.
“Ten years after enacting the ban on mixing zones for these most dangerous chemicals, the commission is considering extending the deadline for all dischargers because no one has determined who may need a variance and who can comply with the limit for chemicals like mercury,” said Tim Joice, water policy director for the Kentucky Waterways Alliance, one of eight groups that signed on to a joint statement made public Thursday. “This is unacceptable and the public’s health should not be held hostage to industry’s failures.”
From the Aug. 4th Gary Post-Tribune, a lengthy, detailed story by Matt Mikis headed "Rebuilding nature: Aggressive effort removes decades of toxins from Grand Calumet." Some quotes:
The next phase of dredging out the toxins left from decades of industrial dumping and restoring the Grand Calumet River wetlands between Kennedy and Cline avenues is scheduled to begin early this month."Asian carp invading Wabash River by leaps and bounds" is the heading to this lengthy Sunday story in the Lafayette Journal-Courier, reported by Ron Wilkins. It is accompanied by an interesting second Wilkins story, headed "How Asian carp found a home in the Midwest."
Cleaning a 1.8-mile section of the river is part of a partnership, costing at total of $80 million, split between federal and local revenue. The project removes PCBs, PAHs, heavy metals and pesticides by dredging over 350,000 cubic yards of sediment. * * *
Through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, cleaning up the east branch of the Grand Calumet has been a slow but steady process since 2009, not including a 5-mile dredging project funded by U.S. Steel in 2007.
To see the difference, an observer needs to travel only a few miles west from Cline Avenue to Roxana Marsh. Work on that section of the river was completed in 2012. Black-eyed Susans line the riverbed, and cranes are starting to return.
Between Kennedy and Cline, however, tall invasive plants called phragmites take over the land surrounding the river. Thousands of chemicals lie beneath the riverbed, seeping out into the water.
Jim Smith of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has worked on the river since 1992. “Our vision is to have the wetlands look close to what Roxana Marsh looks like now,” Smith said.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 8, 2013 01:38 PM
Posted to Environment