AIR MONITORING IN NORTHPORT: PART III
**See letter to copy/sign/paste/send to EPA contact requesting air monitoring at end of article***
So, it was established in the air monitoring conducted by Ecology from 1992-1998 that the levels of arsenic and cadmium in Northport’s air was much higher than safety standards, and risk based concentrations. The levels of Arsenic were actually 200 times higher than those found at the worst smelter Superfund site in the world, Tacoma Smelter.
EPA and Ecology have been unable to further monitor Northport’s air because of lack of funding, and honestly we fall pretty low on their priority list. They are currently trying to get Teck to fund air monitoring in the area as part of the Superfund clean-up agreement. However, Teck believes they are not responsible for their air emissions. They are currently appealing this in WA State’s 9th District Court. They claim that CERCLA laws do not specify air as a form of polluting, only that polluters can dispose of toxins by land or water. So much for making amends for their past actions! Obviously Teck is not stepping up to monitor the air in Northport anytime soon.
What the EPA and Teck did not share with the public is that Teck did continued to monitor Northport air, with one monitor, between 1994-2006.
Tucked away in appendix G of Teck’s Upper Columbia River remedial investigation/feasibility study, volume 2, is the results of this air monitoring. Arsenic and Cadmium continue to be way above safety standards and risk based concentrations. The EPA was not even aware this data existed, or that they had access to it, until I asked them about it.
To help EPA obtain the funding for air monitors in Northport a demand must be shown. If each past and present Northport resident, and residents of surrounding communities, copy, paste, and sign the below letter and send it to our EPA project manager, Laura Buelow at firstname.lastname@example.org, our chances increase ten fold.
Please, take five minutes to do this. Those five minutes can help protect generations of Northport residents to come.
LETTER (COPY, PASTE, SIGN, SEND TO: email@example.com):
I am writing to ask EPA to consider an air monitoring study. I believe that the results of the residential soil study clearly show that a formal air monitoring study should be performed in the study area. Aerial deposition of contaminants did occur in the study area and it needs to be determined if this contamination is ongoing.
An air monitoring study should be performed for a minimum of 18 months at four high level lead contamination sites and at one low level lead contamination control site, and one near the river on Mitchell Road, on property in the heavy fall out zone.
Some or all of these sites may need to be monitored over a longer period, depending on the results of the 18-month study.
I also believe that neighbors of property owners who are being offered time critical removal actions be given the opportunity to have their property sampled if it wasn’t sampled in 2014. They should also be offered time critical removal action on their property if results show a need.