Archive for the ‘Citizens for a Clean Columbia’ Category

Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC) Newsletter – January 2017

Our mission: to advocate for a clean Columbia River ecosystem.              

                    

Who are we? 

Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC) is a volunteer organization focused on advocating for the health of the Upper Columbia River (UCR) and Lake Roosevelt. 

Visit us at http://www.cleancolumbia.org


 NEWS IN BRIEF:


Residential Soil Study 2016: Northport, WA

•  144 residential properties were sampled between August and October 2016.

•  Data are undergoing validation; results are expected by Spring, 2017.

Macroinvertebrate Study

•  The study will determine the concentrations of chemicals in the tissues of mussels, clams and crayfish in the Upper Columbia River (UCR)

•  The information will be used in exposure assessments for people and wildlife that consume these organisms

White Sturgeon Sampling

•  White sturgeon fillets are being evaluated for contaminants.

Northport 2016 Brigham and Women’s Hospital /Harvard Crohn’s & Colitis Study Underway

•  This case control study will attempt to understand potential exposures responsible for a health cluster of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease in Northport.

Lake Roosevelt Forum (LRF)

•  256 people attended this falls LRF conference.

Technical Advisor Update

•  Joe focused on the 2016 residential soil study, the macroinvertebrate study, the 2013 sediment toxicity data summary report, the level of effort (LOE) memorandum for sediment treatability in the Columbia River, the upland soil split sample results memorandum, and the quality assurance project plan and field sampling report for the 2016 sturgeon fillet study.
 


DETAILED NEWS:


Residential Soil Study in 2016
An expansion of the Residential Soil Study conducted in 2014 by the EPA was performed in 2016. The study was based on findings of aerial contamination above national screening levels for lead and arsenic. The 2014 study findings are described in our July 2015 newsletter. Additional information can be found in the EPA fact sheets on CCC’s website or on the epa.gov website searching under “region10 Upper Columbia River remedial investigation”.

The 2016 study was led by Teck America, Inc. (TAI) and extended the southern boundary of EPA’s 2014 Residential Soil Study to approximately the intersection of Williams Lake Road and Highway 25. There are 144 residential properties for which property owners volunteered to have their property tested that were sampled. Additional information on the study methods can be found in our July 2016 newsletter.

Two kinds of soil samples were collected at the properties:

  • “Incremental composite samples” for which soil was collected at 30 places within each decision unit, and then combining the soil into one sample.
  • Ten “discrete” samples collected from a single decision at 0 to 1 and 1 to 6 inches deep from five locations each with results reported for soil at each location.

Surface soils collected from these properties were tested for metals including aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, nickel, potassium, selenium, silver, sodium, thallium, vanadium, and zinc. This study is intended to produce data representative of potential exposure associated with metal-enriched soil particles and to support risk management decision making for the human health risk assessment.

Data are undergoing validation and a final version of the results should be out by spring, 2017. CCC provided comments on the draft results letter that will be sent to participating land owners.

     – Mindy Smith, CCC secretary


Sampling for the Macroinvertebrate Tissue Study Underway

Details about this study are also provided in the July 2016 newsletter. In brief, the primary objective of the macroinvertebrate study is to determine the concentrations of chemicals present in the tissues of mussels and crayfish. Two rounds of sampling were completed, in spring and fall; in the fall, some of the mussels were collected by diving in the study areas and by wading in the reference area.

The EPA has made recommendations to Teck on compositing the specimens for analysis. CCC provided comments to EPA on both the original sampling plan and the compositing plan. Additional information about these reviews are provided in our technical advisor’s report. At present, the way the individual organisms are being composited for analysis is still under discussion.

      –  Mindy Smith, CCC secretary


White Sturgeon Sampling

With the success of the Lake Roosevelt Fishery, co-managers are considering allowing a recreational and tribal subsistence fishery catch for hatchery white sturgeon. However, safety of eating white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt is unknown. This prompted the addition of a study of white sturgeon.

In summer of 2016, 72 hatchery white sturgeon of different sizes and from various locations were sampled. Fillets were taken from the fish and combined into composite samples for analysis. Results are pending.

     – Mindy Smith, CCC secretary


Northport 2016 Brigham and Women’s Hospital /Harvard Crohn’s & Colitis Study Underway

Dr. Josh Korzenik, The Director of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and a leading IBD researcher, and his team have begun their second study of the health cluster of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease diagnosed in Northport residents. Their 2011 study concluded diagnosed cases of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease in the community was 10 to 15 times higher than national standards. This was one of the largest health clusters of these illnesses Dr. Korzenik has ever seen.

The current study is a more in-depth epidemiological case-control study. The focus is in finding a possible correlation of chronic exposure to specific heavy metals and ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The case-control study includes participants who have been diagnosed with either Crohn’s or colitis as well as participants who have not been affected. In March, I asked for volunteers for this new study. The response was overwhelming. I provided the list to Dr. Korzenick; however, if you volunteered but have not heard from them, please call or email at: IBDresearch@bwh.harvard.edu or 617-732-9173.

It is not too late to volunteer if you haven’t. They are still recruiting participants.
The scope of this study, and the study itself, has the likely possibility of providing groundbreaking information the scientific community is greatly lacking.

Thank you to the many past and present Northport residents who have volunteered to participate in this study.

We cannot change the past or the damage Teck’s pollution has caused to countless Northport residents. However, by participating in studies like this, valuable information on the routes and duration of exposure to specific environmental toxins and their potential link to triggering or causing rare diseases will be better understood. This could help accomplish prevention, regulatory changes, and better treatment options for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and possibly many other autoimmune diseases.

      –  Jamie Paparich


Lake Roosevelt Forum (LRF)

Once again, CCC members attended the wonderful LRF conference held at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane on November 15-16, 2016. Over 250 individuals attended, including a mix of members from area tribes, natural resource managers, agency personnel from throughout the Northwest, elected officials, conservationists, teachers and students, and the public. Sessions were presented on fisheries, water quality, recreation, climate change and lake operations. 

Information about the presentations can be viewed at http://www.lrf.org/conference-presentations/2016/#p=1

I found particularly interesting the outlined five-year process for preparing an environmental impact statement to operate 14 multi-purpose federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. Also, the discussion of projections and plans to address future power, irrigation, flood control, fisheries, recreation and other demands was quite interesting, especially in consideration of expected flow increases in winter and decreases in summer due, in part, to changes in snowpack melts.

Favorites were the wonderful presentations from high school students – Colville students who presented a touching tribute to Jono Esvelt and the Reardan High School students lively debate on introducing salmon into the upper Columbia watershed. 

I also loved learning about the salmon cannon for shooting salmon over dams.

     – Mindy Smith, CCC secretary
 


Technical Advisor Report

My efforts over the past six months focused on the 2016 residential soil study, the macroinvertebrate study, the 2013 sediment toxicity data summary report, the level of effort (LOE) memorandum for sediment transport in the Columbia River, the upland soil split sample results memorandum, and the quality assurance project plan and field sampling report for the 2016 sturgeon fillet study. I reviewed several LOE memorandum drafts for potential 2017 studies. CCC used my reviews as the basis for their comments to EPA. I also attended the Lake Roosevelt Forum Conference in Spokane in November 2016.

I reviewed the final residential soil study quality assurance project plan (QAPP) and the split sample QAPP. No major issues were found for either document. Both documents required updating completed tasks and timelines. I observed two days of residential soil study sampling. Early sampling efficiency was hindered by each crew having only a single sampler. This problem was quickly remedied with the arrival of additional samplers. The teams I observed were well organized and professional. The minor issues I observed during field reconnaissance were all resolved prior to sampling. A total of 144 properties were sampled. Analytical results should be available for distribution to property owners in early spring. Once final results are available, it will be determined if there is a need for any time-critical removal actions.

I reviewed two versions of macroinvertebrate study sample compositing plans for the organisms collected in April 2016. A major concern was the proposed compositing of large organisms with small organisms. If metal levels differ between large and small organisms, the difference would be lost. Levels in small organisms would be swamped by levels in the large organisms. A second major concern was the proposed incorporation of organisms obtained in the Columbia River-influenced area of the Sanpoil River arm with organisms collected in the uninfluenced area of the river for the reference area composite samples. I also supported analysis of the clams collected in Area 6 in April 2016. Compositing plans were then placed on hold pending completion of a second round of sampling in the fall. The fall sampling plan required two drafts to establish the required effort for the project. Additional mussels were collected by diving in the study areas and by wading in the reference area. Additional crayfish were collected using traps. One crayfish was again collected in the Columbia River influenced area of the Sanpoil River arm. CCC requested that this organism not be composited with reference organisms. The compositing plans then underwent four rounds of modification to reach a plan acceptable to the participating parties and CCC in December. The compositing plan separated mussels and crayfish into two weight classes for each collection area. Teck American, Incorporated (TAI) is currently not in agreement with the compositing plan proposed by EPA in December 2016. Sample compositing and analysis awaits the development of a compositing plan agreeable to all parties.

EPA provided TAI with compiled comments on the 2013 sediment toxicity study data summary report. Most of CCC’s comments were included in the compilation. CCC was surprised to learn that only analytical chemistry analyses undergo formal data validation. The toxicity data generated at Pacific EcoRisk and the slag determination by computer controlled scanning electron microscopy in the backscattered electron imaging mode (BSEM) data generated by the RJ Lee Group did not and will not undergo formal data validation. CCC’s concerns with BSEM slag determination, particularly the failure to detect a type of slag, and the lack of data on how slag composition varied over the course of 100 plus years of discharge into the Columbia River carry forward into several studies under discussion for 2017.  

I reviewed two versions of the sediment treatability study LOE memorandum. CCC had no major concerns with the LOE memorandum, it was very similar to the soil treatability LOE memorandum. EPA sent a letter to TAI on December 14, 2016, indicating the need for a sediment treatability study. A summary of toxicity data from the 2013 sediment toxicity study and the toxicity data from a separate study performed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) were attached to the letter. The USGS study was not a formal RI/FS study and did not undergo review by the participating parties, TAI, or CCC. TAI responded with a letter to EPA on December 22, 2016, and elaborated several concerns with EPA’s letter. A meeting to discuss a path forward was proposed for the end of January 2017.

I reviewed the draft upland soil split sample data summary memorandum. Major concerns included differences among text, table and spreadsheet presentations of data, and the missing quality assurance memorandum for the analyses. A second draft of the memorandum that includes the quality assurance memorandum is under review.
I also reviewed the QAPP, field sampling plan and compositing proposal for the 2016 sturgeon fillet study. Hatchery sturgeon are doing so well in the upper Columbia River that the Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Co-Managers (LRFCM) harvested hundreds of hatchery sturgeon in late summer to minimize the impact these fish may have on the genetic pool of wild sturgeon. LRFCM may open a sport and subsistence sturgeon fishery in the near future. The sturgeon fillet study was developed to evaluate the levels of potential chemicals of concern in sturgeon fillets and inform Washington State Department of Health for a sturgeon fish advisory if needed. This study was developed very quickly, but all concerns with the study were addressed prior to sample collection, compositing and analysis.

     –  Joe Wichmann, PhD; CCC Technical    Advisor


Want to be More Involved?

•  CCC welcomes new members; you can join on our website (http://www.cleancolumbia.org). You can also find meeting minutes and links to other organizations involved in protecting the environment.

•  Our next General Member Meeting will be in the fall. We will post updated information on the website. Please join us.

You can also write to our EPA project managers:

•  Laura Buelow (buelow.laura@epa.gov)  

•  Kathryn Cerise (Cerise.Kathryn@epa.gov)

Or the EPA region 10 administrator;

•  Dennis McLerran (McLerran.Dennis@epa.gov)

 

Northport Residents – Meeting with multi-media project “Their Mines, Our Stories” – May 28th

Their Mines, Our Stories, is a multi-media project started by two professors from the Evergreen State College. Anne Fischel (Media and Community Studies) and Lin Nelson (Environmental Health and Community Studies) began this project by documenting the experiences of individuals in communities who worked at, and/or lived close to, one of the ASARCO smelters. ASARCO is the largest polluter in the United States and is responsible for 20 Superfund sites.

Their project grew to involve research, film, photography, oral history, analytical writing, a website and a documentary sharing the experiences and struggles of people in Ruston/Tacoma, WA; Hayden, AZ, and El Paso, TX. The project focuses on the complexity of the relationship between communities who relied on ASARCO for employment, while later discovering the smelter was poisoning them at work with unsafe working conditions, and impacting their families health and safety from their massive, unregulated pollution. All this and then fighting with the EPA and other government agencies to help protect them.

Anne and Lin, as well as Carlos Martinez, a representative of the Smeltertown community in El Paso, will be visiting Northport Saturday, May 28th. There will be an informal meeting with the group at Northport High School, Saturday, May 28th at 2:00 p.m.. We will discuss our similar experiences, share ideas and strategies on how small communities impacted by big polluters can come together and create a larger information network and make positive changes, as well as “impact and strengthen the policy frameworks that shape environmental…health.”

We will also be screening their documentary; “Under the Smoke Stack.”

Anne would also like to film interviews with any Northport residents interested in sharing their stories.  She will provide me with the edited filming she completes to share on our website and attract the attention of documentary makers.  If you would like to share your story on video we will be filming those Sunday, May 29th.

If you are interested in attending the meeting and/or being interviewed on film please e-mail me a short note letting me know so I can have an accurate head count.
E-mail: Northportproject@hotmail.com

“Their Mines, Our Stories” – Northport Meeting
Date:          Saturday, May 28th
Time:          2:00 p.m.
Location:   Northport High School

Filming interviews with residents
Date:          Sunday, May 29th
Time:         TBA
Location:   Paparich Farm (4598 Mitchell Road)

Radio interview on Northport IBD study results

Tuesday August 14, 2012

Doctor confirms high rate of colitis south of Teck smelter

teck smelter.jpg

Teck’s lead and zinc smelter in Trail, B.C., upstream from Northport, Washington. (Contributed by: Teck Resources)

To residents of Northport Washington, the news might not be a surprise — but for many, it might be validation.

Northport is a community of about 300 people located on the Columbia River.

For years, residents have claimed that something is making them sick, and they point north to the Teck smelter, just 35 kilometres upstream, in Trail.

We still don’t know exactly what’s behind the illnesses.

But now we do know for sure that something strange is going on in Northport.

A new survey by researchers at Harvard Medical School shows rates of colitis and Crohn’s disease are 10 to 15 times higher than normal in Northport, and those researchers have ruled out genetics as a possible cause.

Jamie Papparich is a community activist from Northport who’s been raising the alarm for years. In fact, she lobbied the medical community to get involved and to undertake this very survey.

She spoke with Daybreak host, Chris Walker……

To hear my radio interview with Chris Walker click on the below link:  

http://www.cbc.ca/daybreaksouth/news/2012/08/14/doctor-confirms-high-rate-of-colitis-south-of-teck-smelter/#socialcomments#socialcomments

Quote of the week

“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”   -Galileo Galilei

Frank Ossiander

highwaterfilters.com

Highwater Filters

An amazing web company owned and operated by Hilary Ohm. Hilary has not only dedicated so much of her time to the Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC), but she is also currently working on helping organize a big event down near Hanford on April 15. It’s called Hanford: America’s Fukushima. It’s being organized by Occupy Portland and so far the lineup of speakers scheduled to present is amazing!

She is trying to get enough folks interested to charter a bus down to the event from our area.

Please check out her website at www.highwaterfilters.com and her blog at  http://blog.highwaterfilters.com   

                                                                    

Although she is struggling to raise money for her own business she has so generously offered to find a way to donate towards the Northport Project in any way she can.

Instead, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all the loyal followers of The Northport Project (Facebook page and blog) to check out her website and the invaluable arsenic filters she offers.

 Also, contact her through her website or blog about attending the Hanford: America’s Fukushima even on April 15th.

CCC’s January Newsletter

Citizens for a Clean Columbia
Our mission: to advocate for a clean Columbia River ecosystem

NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2012

Who are we?
Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC) is a volunteer organization focused on advocating for the health of the Upper Columbia River and Lake Roosevelt. Visit us at http://www.cleancolumbia.org.
**************************************

News in Brief
Young America Mine Contamination
• In 2006: the Washington State Department of Ecology found high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and zinc exceeded state and/or federal standards in a sample from a mine trench.
• In 2011: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did a site visit and found heavy metal contamination over about 7 acres at the mill site, impoundment area, and on the hill between them.
• EPA recommends a removal action be conducted at the mill site and considered for the mine site.
Bossburg Flat and Adjacent Beach Closed
• Bossburg flat and beach area were also checked by the EPA for contamination. High lead and arsenic levels were found.
• The National Park Service closed this area on January 10, 2012 and they are working with the EPA to find out how big an area is contaminated and how best to clean it up.

Early Results from Two Sturgeon Studies
• Native white sturgeon are on the endangered list. In the Columbia River, although eggs may hatch, the young do not live long.
• Twostudygroupslookedatthepossibleeffectof sediment contamination on young sturgeon as part of the remedial investigation. University of Saskatchewan investigators found no increased death in young fish in flow‐through chambers from samples of sediment from the Upper Columbia River. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) group used longer periods of contact with sediment and found that one third to one half of the young fish died. They think copper in the sediment may be the cause.

• In addition, the USGS group found changes in the way the young fish hide and swim when placed with copper that may put them at higher risk of being eaten.

Technical Advisor Update
• CCC members are happy about getting 3 more years of funding from Teck for our technical advisor’s work as part of the Technical Assistance Program.
• Dr. Joe Wichmann’s work the past 6 months reviewing several draft reports helped CCC provide input to the EPA about our concerns.

With this newsletter, we are providing a new section entitled “News in Brief” for quick referencing by our readers. Details for each report will follow.

Teck Spill News
• November 9, 2011 discharge of cadmium (5.67 kg) and copper (13.14 kg) into the Columbia River.

Waneta Border Crossing Expansion
• Work on the Boundary United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities planned in 2009 was stopped in April 2011 to allow for soil analysis for contaminants after public concerns were raised.
• Soil was found to be contaminated with cadmium, arsenic and lead which lead to further study and a plan to remove the contaminated soil.
• The 4780 tons of contaminated soil was taken to the Stevens County land fill; other material was dumped into the old gravel quarry at Cedar Creek and used as fill at local properties.

Young America Mine Contamination
The Young America Mine (located on Hutson Jones Way in Evans, Washington) operated from 1897 through 1953 for mining zinc, lead, silver, and gold. A mill and tailings impoundment area associated with the mine are located across Highway 25 about half a mile west of the mine on the east bank of Lake Roosevelt and the Columbia River. There is a berm surrounding the south, west, and north sides of the impoundment while the east side is bordered by a hill leading to the remnants of the mill. The mine itself is mostly on land currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management while the mill and
impoundment area are located on private land subdivided into four plats (parcels of about 2 acres each). In 2006, the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) obtained a single sample from a utility trench near plat 4 as part of another study. The sample results for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and zinc exceeded state and/or federal standards.
In June 2011, WDOE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a site visit of this area and identified the tailings impoundment and a recently installed drinking water well within the impoundment on private property being sold for residential and recreational purposes. WDOE referred the site to EPA to assess potential risks to human and ecological health from contaminated soil, sediment, and water originating from mining operations at the former mill site. This assessment is outside of the ongoing CERCLA investigation.
In July and August 2011, a field analysis was conducted by an EPA contractor. The team used a field portable X‐ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer (a handheld instrument used to measure the concentration of certain metals) to screen for hazardous metals at the mill and mine site and the adjacent roads to delineate the extent of potential contamination and select sampling locations. Soil sampling was completed for five locations with the highest screened lead results. In addition, two groundwater samples were collected from drinking water wells and one sediment sample and one surface water sample from the mine entrance.
Based on draft findings discussed with the region 10 EPA team, screening lead levels were elevated above the Washington Model Toxics Control Act Method A Level for Unrestricted Soil Use (250 mg/kg) for a number of soil locations in the mill and mine areas and some of the road samples. Levels decreased with increasing distance from the impoundment. Elevated lead concentrations were also found outside the berm area and in the surface soil on the hill between the mill and impoundment.
Laboratory results confirmed elevated lead levels along with levels of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and manganese above EPA Regional Screening Levels (RSL) for residential soil in samples collected from the mill and mine areas. These samples exceeded Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure disposal criteria for cadmium and lead. The Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure results indicated that water run‐off from the mill area may contain
antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and lead exceeding applicable human health risk screening criteria. The arsenic concentration in the groundwater sample collected from the well located in the tailings impoundment exceeded the EPA RSL for tap water.
In summary, this assessment found that berm material, some surface soils outside the berm, and surface soil on the hill between the mill and the impoundment exceeded human health screening criteria for some metals. The contaminated material volume in the berm and surface soils outside the berm is approximately 700 cubic yards and the area of exposed contaminated soil on the hill is about 0.3 acres; the area just south of the mine also of potential concern is about 7 acres. The soil sample Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure results indicate that water run‐off from the mill area may contain antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and lead exceeding human health risk screening criteria. The residential access road passing through the investigation area exceeded the action level for lead.
Following discussion with the EPA, one of the land owners has already had ten cubic yards of crushed rock placed on top of the most contaminated part of the access road on his property and clean sand placed on the access road from the edge of the crushed rock cover to the northern edge of his property. EPA recommends a removal action be conducted at the mill site and considered for the mine site. EPA is currently discussing next steps with the landowners and the WDOE. The assessment report will be available this spring.

Mindy Smith, MD, MS

Bossburg Flat and Adjacent Beach Removal Assessment and Closure
Bossburg, originally named Young America, was a mining town with a population of 600‐800 people in the late 1890s and early 1900s. It is currently listed as a ghost town with only a few inhabitants. The abandoned town, in fact, was flooded when the Grand Coulee dam gates closed in 1942, damming the Columbia River and creating Lake Roosevelt.
Bossburg Flat is located on the east bank of Lake Roosevelt and the Columbia River (picture below), approximately three miles NW of Evans, Stevens County Washington. The site is west of Highway 25 and is accessed by Bossburg Road and an unpaved road for approximately a half mile, followed by a quarter mile walk southward along the beach. The property is managed by the National Park Service.
Bossburg flat beach was targeted for a Removal Assessment following a beach sediment sampling event in April 2011 associated with the UCR Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). Elevated concentrations of lead were found that may be related to operations and/or disposal practices at the former Young America Mine. As with the Young America Mine site, the Removal Assessment was conducted to assess potential risks to human and ecological health. Additional objectives were to determine if contamination was associated with the upstream tailings impoundment at the former Young America Mine, and whether contamination could reasonably be attributed to waste slag from the Teck Cominco smelter.
An EPA contractor conducted field analyses in August 2011 to identify potential areas of contaminated soil along the stretch of beach where lead contamination had been found during the RI/FS. As with the Young America Mine Removal Assessment, an XRF (handheld instrument used to measure the concentration of certain metals) was used to analyze beach soil and beach material samples over about 1000 feet of the beach. Elevated lead levels were identified over a 50 foot stretch of beach that extended 150 feet up the embankment onto the open ground of Bossburg Flat. Remnants of a wooden and metal structure were found in the embankment where the highest concentrations of lead were observed on the beach. In addition to some sample locations where lead levels exceeded the State of Washington’s Model Toxics Control
Method A soil cleanup level for unrestricted land use, several samples also exceeded this level for arsenic. Manganese may also be of concern.
There was no visual evidence of material similar to the Young America Mine mill waste material on the beach. In addition, the team saw no evidence of slag on the beach and there were no similarities in the proportion of metals to the Teck Cominco slag sample used in the analysis. For these reasons and because the contamination extended up a steep bank and was higher than on any other beach between Bossburg and the US/Canadian Border, the team believed that the smelter was unlikely to be the primary source of contamination.
The Park Service issued a closure notification for an area of Bossburg flat and beach on January 10, 2012 based on the EPA information indicating that lead and arsenic levels in this area may be a risk to human health. The NPS and EPA are working to determine the next steps such as identifying potential sources, better defining the contaminated area, and how best to clean it up. A copy of the notice can be found on our website.

Mindy Smith, MD, MS

Preliminary Results from Two White Sturgeon Toxicity Studies Reported at SETAC Conference
White sturgeon populations in the Pacific Northwest have been declining for decades. The species is
listed as endangered in the Kootenai River system. Although mature sturgeon continue to lay viable eggs in the Kootenai River system, the eggs fail to hatch. No free‐swimming larvae or older young have been found in the Kootenai River system in over 14 years. In the Upper Columbia River (UCR) system, mature white sturgeon lay viable eggs that do hatch. Unfortunately, very few UCR white sturgeon larvae survive to become young‐of‐the‐year. Factors leading to the population decline are thought to include increased water temperatures, lack of suitable spawning substrates, reduced nutrients, increased predation because of high water clarity (low silt), an increase in predators including non‐ native predators, habitat loss from reservoir drawdowns, and water contaminants. More information on sturgeon and efforts to recover sturgeon populations may be found at http://www.uppercolumbiasturgeon.org/.
Two studies were performed in 2010 to evaluate the toxicity of metals and UCR sediments to white sturgeon using hatchery‐obtained eggs. Preliminary results from both studies were presented as posters at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry (SETAC) held in Boston, Massachusetts in November 2011. The study performed at the University of Saskatchewan (UofS) examined the toxicity of UCR sediments to 1 to 60 day post hatch (dph) white sturgeon. The study performed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) laboratory in Columbia, Missouri evaluated the toxicity and behavioral effects of known levels of metals to white sturgeon ranging in age from 1 to 160 dph.
The UofS study used flow‐through chambers to examine survival rates and the general body condition of white sturgeon swimming above UCR sediments collected from two control sites in Canada and five test sites located between the international border and Kettle Falls, WA. Water only and artificial sediment were also tested as controls. Preliminary results showed no differences in white sturgeon survival or body condition between any of the test site or control site samples and any of the controls.
UofS investigators also collected water samples from all test chambers during the study. Water samples were obtained from the middle of the tank, near the bottom of the tank and from within the sediment (porewater) and analyzed for copper, cadmium, lead and zinc. Preliminary water sample results reported at the conference were the average of all weekly sample results. Individual weekly results were not reported. Porewater samples from the Deadman’s
Eddy and Little Dalles sediment samples had average copper levels that were near threshold levels of concern. Threshold levels of concern were not reached for any other metals in any of the other averaged water sample results.
The USGS white sturgeon study was multifaceted. One study element examined the toxicity of water extracts (leachates) of UCR sediment samples to 30 dph white sturgeon. Five of the UCR sediment samples used in the UofS study were also used for this study. In this study, 75 grams of sediment were held in 2 liters of water and the water tested immediately or after aging seven days with the sediment. The white sturgeon were then exposed to the leachates for a period of 96 hours. Preliminary results showed 50 percent mortality (death) of the 30 dph white sturgeon to the aged and 30 percent mortality to the fresh Deadman’s Eddy leachate sample. The authors suggested that copper may be primarily responsible for the sediment leachate toxicity.
The study also used dual flow chambers to evaluate the ability of 30 dph white sturgeon to avoid various copper concentrations ranging from 1.25 to 20 μg/mL. The dual flow chambers allowed fish to freely swim from the test side to the control side. The preliminary results reported that white sturgeon had no ability to avoid any concentration of copper in water, including lethal concentrations.
A second USGS study element compared the behavioral sensitivity of white sturgeon and rainbow trout to copper, cadmium, and zinc over exposure periods of 72 or 96 hours. The metal concentration at which 50 percent of the fish show a noticeable behavioral effect on equilibrium or mobility (EC50) was determined for white sturgeon and rainbow trout ranging in age from 1 to 95 dph. Preliminary results showed rainbow trout to be more sensitive to cadmium than white sturgeon at all ages tested. White sturgeon were far more sensitive to copper than rainbow trout at 30 dph and younger. White sturgeon 61 to 89 dph were much less sensitive to copper concentrations. Rainbow trout were found to be more sensitive to zinc than white sturgeon at all ages tested except the very young, 1 and 2 dph. Based on the EC50 values, the preliminary data indicated that EPA water quality standards for copper may not protect white sturgeon 30 dph and younger or rainbow trout 96 dph. The preliminary EC50 values indicated that EPA water quality standards for zinc may not protect 2 dph white sturgeon or 18 to 96 dph rainbow trout. The authors found that most behavioral effects occurred within 24 hours of exposure to the metals. The authors also found that young (1 to 8 dph) white sturgeon did not show typical hiding behavior when exposed to copper levels well below the EPA water quality standard.
Final reports on these studies are expected from both groups later in 2012. Also available in 2012 will be an EPA Office of Research and Development peer review of both studies. The peer review will help EPA determine how the results from these unique studies will be considered in the RI/FS.

Joe Wichmann, PhD; CCC Technical Advisor

Technical Advisor Report: Update on the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS)
Ongoing work on the draft report “Surface Water Data Summary and Data Gap Report” dated November 2010, continued to be the focus of a major portion of my document review efforts since July 2011. CCC’s formal comments on the draft report were provided to the EPA in July 2011. EPA incorporated many of CCC’s comments in their comments to Teck America, Incorporated (TIA) concerning the draft document. Several conference calls with EPA and their subcontractors resolved most of the additional concerns CCC had with the draft report. An important outcome of these discussions was the clarification that analytical results from all replicate samples collected at a sampling site were averaged prior to data analysis. These average analytical values and the individual analytical values from single sample collection sites were used to calculate the results presented in the report. This clarification resolved many of the apparent database inconsistencies.
Replicate sample result averaging raised some new concerns. CCC believes averaging should not be used when the standard deviation is greater than the mean of the sample values. In addition, CCC would like to see an explicitly defined procedure for averaging replicate sample analyses. CCC is also concerned with how individual sample results that are above levels of concern will be treated for risk assessment when the average analytical results of all
the replicate samples collected at that site fall below the level of concern. Additional unresolved concerns include clear sample identification in the database, and the possible lack of data validation for isotope results.
Most of CCC’s concerns with the draft “Fish Tissue Data Summary and Data Gap Report” were addressed in EPA’s comments to TIA on the document. Clear sample identification in the database and the reporting and use of replicate sample analyses are ongoing concerns with the report.
I reviewed the draft “Tribal Consumption and Resource Use Survey” report. CCC’s major concern with the report was the apparent early termination of the study prior to survey completion. Only about half of the planned interviews were conducted. CCC was also concerned with the limited analysis of the data collected. A conference call with CCC, EPA, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and Westat, the primary survey contractor was held on November 30, 2011 to discuss CCC’s concerns. The discussion clarified that the three‐year contract with Westat expired before all the survey interviews could be completed. Westat has since been awarded a new contract. There are no plans to resume survey interviews, however, CCC’s data analysis concerns are being addressed along with several other concerns that were not covered in the conference call.
I also provided CCC with a review of the “Draft Quality Assurance Project Plan for the Phase 2
Sediment Study.” CCC has not yet issued its formal comments to EPA.
I attended the September 30, 2011 special meeting of the Eastern Washington Council of Governments held in Davenport, Washington. Mr. Dave McBride from the Washington State Department of Health (WDOH) summarized results from the 2009 fish study and presented a draft WDOH fish advisory based on those results. Mr. McBride compared the draft WDOH fish advisory to the 2008 WDOH fish advisory that was developed from the 2005 fish tissue study. The draft fish advisory presented at the meeting had less stringent consumption guidelines for smallmouth bass and walleye than the 2008 fish advisory (four meals per month (mpm) compared to two mpm in 2008). The draft fish advisory had more stringent consumption guidelines for largescale sucker (two mpm verses four mpm in the 2008 advisory). Draft fish advisory consumption guidelines were presented for five species not mentioned in the 2008 advisory; kokanee (unlimited mpm); lake whitefish (eight mpm); longnose sucker (four mpm); mountain whitefish (four mpm) and rainbow trout (8 mpm). The final fish advisory from the 2009 study will be issued by WDOH soon.

Joe Wichmann, PhD; CCC Technical Advisor

More Teck Spill News
The most recent Teck spill occurred on November 9, 2011 when there was a discharge of cadmium (5.67 kg) and copper (13.14 kg) into the Columbia
River. The Washington State Emergency Measures Offices was briefed on the situation by Emergency Management BC. No one seems concerned about the risk to human health from this incident to date.

Mindy Smith, MD, MS

Waneta Border Crossing Expansion
The replacement, expansion and modernization of the Boundary (Waneta) United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities began in 2009. In September 2009, CBP sent copies of the draft environmental assessment for the project to the local libraries (Stevens County, Spokane, Republic and Kettle Falls) and legal notices to local papers (Indian Country Today, the Statesman Examiner and The Pacific Northwest Inlander). This started the clock on the 30‐day review period (September 15 to October 14, 2009) for environmental assessment.
The final environmental assessment for the project with a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) was issued by U.S. Department of Homeland Security in March 2010 with a supplemental environmental assessment and FONSI issued in August 2010. Neither assessment identified the possible contamination of the surface soil as a potential hazardous material.
On March 8, 2011, the Stevens County Commissioners scheduled a hearing for April 5, 2011 to consider CBP’s request for Stevens County to convey the right‐of‐way for the road leading to the Boundary port of entry. The CBP plans specified regrading the road to a shallower grade. The right‐
of‐way hearing was rescheduled for April 11, 2011 when it became apparent that public interest in this hearing was very high and the original hearing room would be too small to hold the anticipated crowd.
The construction phase of the CBP replacement and modernization project started in early April 2011 at approximately the same time that the rescheduled hearing was to take place. The April 11, 2011 hearing was well attended and overflowed the sheriff’s ambulance training room. A number of issues were raised by concerned citizens at the hearing, including whether the soil planned for removal along the right‐of‐way had been tested for toxic metals, given the site proximity to the Trail smelter. The hearing was continued to April 19, 2011. At that hearing, the commissioners agreed to deed the right‐of‐way to the U.S. Government, contingent on analysis of the overburden soil for toxic contamination prior to removal of the soil from the construction site. The original construction plan had all the overburden soil being trucked to an abandoned quarry in Cedar Creek and other private properties near the construction site.
As a result of the April 19 hearing, construction work at the site was halted pending soil analysis results. CBP contracted the Englewood, Colorado company HDR to perform surface soil analysis for silver, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead and selenium. A total of 6 composite soil samples were collected on April 27, 2011 from five places at the site (1 duplicate sample was collected). The samples were analyzed by TestAmerica Seattle and results reported on May 2, 2011. The resucompared to WDOE unrestricted land use limits. All five samples exceeded the allowed limit for cadmium and three of the five samples exceeded the allowed limit for arsenic and lead. (Comparison to the DOE industrial property cleanup levels revealed that all 5 samples exceeded the industrial cleanup level for cadmium, 3 samples exceeded the industrial cleanup level for arsenic, and one sample exceeded the industrial clean up level for lead). It was determined after this original sampling that the unrestricted land use limits applied to the construction site.
As a result of this report, a more extensive soil sampling and analysis plan was developed and followed. The expanded sampling plan specified the collection of thirteen additional composite surface samples (the road berm, stockpiles of soil already removed, and undisturbed samples at the construction site) and sub‐sampling from twenty core sample boring sites (0‐3′, 3‐5′ and then in 5 foot intervals to the maximum depth of 35′ bored); this occurred May 9 to 11, 2011.
Of the surface composite samples, only the three collected from the road berm had no metal levels exceeding regulatory limits. All ten of the other surface samples had cadmium levels exceeding regulatory limits. Seven samples had arsenic levels above the limits and five samples had lead levels above the limit. Six of the twenty core samples had cadmium levels above regulatory limits. All six were in the 0‐3′ sub‐samples.
Six of the surface composite samples were further analyzed to determine if the soil could be disposed of at the Stevens County landfill or if the material was considered to be dangerous waste and would have to be disposed of at a dangerous materials disposal site.
The results of the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (estimates the amount of material that may dissolve in a landfill and enter groundwater) for all six samples were well below levels of concern. As a result, the contaminated soil could be disposed of at the Stevens County landfill; this plan was accepted in June by the Northeast Tri County Health District.
Shannon & Wilson, Inc. of Richland Washington was contracted by Randolph Construction Services, Inc. of Pasco, Washington (the primary contractor for the construction project) to develop and implement a Cleanup Action Plan (CAP) for the construction site. The August 4, 2011 CAP specified that in phase 1, all soil be removed from the construction site to a depth of 10”. After phase 1 soil removal was completed, the entire construction site was sampled at 37 surface sites to determine the success of phase 1 soil removal and at 3 additional surface sites to determine if other undisturbed areas required remediation.
Three areas found to have cadmium levels above regulatory limits had an additional 8‐12” of soil removed in phase 2 remediation. An additional 12 surface samples were collected and analyzed to evaluate phase 2 success and all 12 passed (arsenic, cadmium and lead levels below levels of concern).
Phase 1 and 2 information was released in the October 24, 2011 summary report of the soil remediation at the Boundary Land Port of Entry prepared by Shannon & Wilson, Inc. for Randolph Construction Services, Inc. The report concluded that all contaminated soil had been removed from the site.
Approximately 4780 tons of contaminated soil was disposed of at the Stevens County landfill from August 17 to September 15, 2011 as a result of the soil remediation work done for the project. Had citizens not voiced their concerns at the April 11 and 19 Stevens County Commissioners hearings, all of the hazardous material would have been dumped into the old gravel quarry at Cedar Creek and other private sites nearby.

One can’t help but wonder about the usefulness of an environmental assessment process that failed to identify the possibility of soil contamination at this site, especially in light of federal litigation involving Canadian smelter contamination issues in this region.

Perhaps environmental assessments should not be performed by the organization proposing to do the work.
Some government agencies and programs, both federal and state, tend to dismiss and minimize the usefulness of public input. This project is a perfect example of why public input should be sought and respected throughout the life of government projects.

Submitted by a concerned citizen

Lake Roosevelt Forum (LRF)
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The annual meeting of the LRF will be April 16th and 17th, 2012 at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane WA. To sign up, go to http://www.lrf.org/conf/index.html. Scholarships are often available to those who can’t afford to attend and are not attending as part of their employed organizational responsibilities.

Want to be More Involved?
CCC welcomes new members; you can join on our website (www.cleancolumbia.org). You can also find meeting minutes and links to other organizations involved in protecting the environment.

Our next General Member Meeting will be in the spring at the Museum in Colville. We will post updated information on the website. Please join us.

You can also write to our EPA project manager Helen Bottcher (Bottcher.Helen@epamail.epa.gov),
the EPA region 10 administrator Dennis McLerran (McLerran.Dennis@epa.gov)

For contact information with Washington State Department of ecology John Roland (jrol461@ecy.wa.gov) or your legislators, see our January 2011 newsletter

A note from The Northport Project:
Become a member of the CCC! Please take a moment to do so at: Citizens for a Clean Columbia

The annual membership fee of $25.00 and any donations go towards the tremendous work all the dedicated members donate their spare time to.

The work they have accomplished, and continue to accomplish, is on behalf of every resident living in the communities along the upper Columbia River that don’t get updates and technical documents or any information at all.

Currently their attention is focused mainly on the workplans for upcoming and already completed testing/sampling done in the Upper Columbia River Remedial Investigation/Fesability Study (RI/FS) being done by Teck, and the EPA’s on-going Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA).

With the extensive knowledge and experience all the board members bring to their work, they are able to catch possible in discrepancies or issues in past and current researches and data collection.

They are a respected organization who both Teck and the EPA rely on to point out issues or problems in their on going investigations. They are the watchdogs for all the communities impacted from the Smelter’s pollution.

Because of them each resident from these communities are being given a voice and the most important thing being said ,on your behalf, to Teck and the US Agencies involved is “someone is watching, this time things will be done correctly or we will not only stop them, we will hold you accountable.”

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