Archive for the ‘ECOLOGY’ Category

Ecology offers hope to Northport, as EPA continues to deny cluster of health issues

Listen to the Spokane Public Radio news story live by clicking here.

My Questions to the EPA

The EPA recently explained to the community of Northport, WA, based on the EPA’s analysis of existing data they have decided not to conduct additional air monitoring in our area.

After analyzing the existing data, the EPA concluded;

  • For arsenic, the air concentration is 0.0042 ug/m3.  Although this level is higher than safety standards they felt that it would only correspond to a cancer risk of 2 in 100,000.  So, the community should be “safe”.
  • For cadmium, the air concentration is .00136 ug/m3. Although this level is also higher than safety standards they felt that it would only correspond to a cancer risk of 2 in 1 million people. So, once again, we are “safe”.

The existing data the EPA analyzed is the following:

  • All 4 Air Monitoring Studies conducted by Ecology in Northport between 1992 – 1998.
    • All four concluded that our levels of arsenic (.02ug/m3) were 100 times the safety standard and our levels of cadmium (.04) were 18 times higher than safety standards.
  • Air Data measured at a monitoring station Teck Smelter operated near Northport from 1999 – 2009.

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In 2017 The Department of Ecology conducted a preliminary review and evaluation of past air quality monitoring data from our area and consideration of potential present-day health risks. (So basically, they analyzed the same data the EPA claims to have reviewed). When Ecology realized a very important gap of data to accurately evaluate our situation they conducted an air modeling algorithm to get a more specific idea of the actual concentrations of the toxins in our air.

After analyzing the existing date Ecology concluded;

  • Some quality assurance and uncertainty issues arose in Teck’s air monitoring and reporting. Some anomalies were noted when comparing variations in PM emissions that do not correspond to variations in As, Cd, Pb, and Zn emissions. Meaning the accuracy of the emissions being reported and recorded should be called into question.
  • Another issue was the quantitation limit for sampling Arsenic was measured in a bucket of 0.01 ug/m3 to 0.39 ug/m3. Meaning any levels that fell into this category were reported as a .01 ug/m3 in concentration.  When in reality over 40% of those samples were actually closer to 0.39 ug/m3 . That means 40% of the samples had concentrations recorded as .01 when in reality those samples could have been as high as 0.39.  That would mean the actual concentration of arsenic in our air (on average) would be 0.152 ug/m3.
    • Per the EPA guidelines; if the toxin exceeds the Acceptable Source Impact Level (ASIL) it is evaluated as a risk, and additional analysis is needed, especially if the toxin falls within the Risk-Based Concentration (RBC) levels.  The ASIL for arsenic emissions is .0023ug/m3, and the RBC is .0023 ug/m3.
    • The EPA is claiming the concentration of arsenic in Northport is .0042 ug/m3. Under the EPA’s ASIL and RBC levels they would be required to gather “additional analysis” (AIR MONITORING) on the situation.  Worse yet, based on Ecology’s assessment of the data the EPA reviewed the concentration of arsenic in Northport is much more likely to be close to 0.152 ug/m3.  This is a very dangerous level to be chronically exposed to.  I think the results of our health studies (see below) are proof enough of that.
  • Due to the lack of monitors in the areas upriver from Northport to the border, and therefore the lack of data, Ecology applied a smoothing algorithm to mean concentration estimates as functions of time and downriver distance to estimate average As, Cd, and Pb concentrations.
  • The results of this algorithm concluded that between 2009 – 2014 the average level of arsenic in our air was .02 ug/m3. This is similar to the results of the other air monitoring studies done in our area in the past, and not by Teck. .02 ug/m3 is 100 times the recommended safety level.

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Results from the 2012 Northport Community Health Survey

  • 18 people, in a population of 315, had been diagnosed with cancer.  (This seems to blow EPA’s theory of the toxins we are exposed to will only correspond to a cancer risk of 2 in 100,000.)
  • 17 residents had been diagnosed with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s. 17 residents out of a community of 315.  Nationwide approximately 7 people out of 100,000 are diagnosed with UC or Crohn’s annually.
  • 23 residents had been diagnosed with either a brain aneurism or tumors.
  • 13 residents had been diagnosed with either Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis.

Since the 2012 Community Health Survey the health issues have not stopped

  • 8 more residents were diagnosed with cancer
  • 4 more residents have been diagnosed with UC or Crohn’s
  • 3 more residents have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and 1 more resident has been diagnosed with Multiple Scoliosis
In a community with a population of approximately 315 people.

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EPA also informed us after their analysis of existing data that the air data is sufficient to conduct the human health risk assessment for our area.  They stated, The EPA believes that our evaluation of the potential risk to people from outdoor air, using existing air data, is technically sound.”

My Questions to the EPA:

  • Even if our air concentration for arsenic is 0.0042 ug/m3, as Teck stated, that still exceeds the ASIL and should be evaluated as a risk, and additional analysis (AIR MONITORING) is needed, especially if the toxin falls within the Risk-Based Concentration (RBC) levels.
  • Based on Ecology’s findings, what if our air concentration for arsenic is .02ug/m3, or even 0.152 ug/m3, if Ecology’s concern of quantitation limitation on Teck’s sampling is correct?  Our arsenic and cadmium concentrations are already over the safety standards. Scientific data shows that it is very likely those concentrations are significantly higher than the EPA believes.
  • Why did you not evaluate the findings and concerns Ecology advised you of?
  • How did the EPA and The Department of Ecology reach such different conclusions based on the same information?
  • Why are so many residents in our community continuing to get sick if what the EPA is saying is true?
  • How do you plan on conducting a Human Health Risk Assessment based on this lacking, and possibly incorrect data?

The EPA had a choice.  You could have listened to the over 100 Northport residents who signed a petition asking for your help, you could have taken the recommendations of The Department of Ecology and The Tri-County Health Department to conduct a long term, multiple location air monitoring program in our area.  Instead you used limited, inaccurate, outdated data from Teck’s air monitor to conclude no additional air monitoring is needed. This means the HHRA the EPA conducts will be dangerously  inaccurate before it is even began. Do us a favor and don’t waste your time.  The HHRA will ensure we are safe, just as you are telling us we are safe now. I hope you have reason to come visit us five or ten years from now.  You can look around this very room, full of some of the same people that are here today, and explain to them why you left us in danger.  Why you not only told us we were safe, but refused us any sort of assistance to ensure we are safe….again.  The EPA stood where you are now in 1992, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2015, 2017 and now 2018.  Would you like to know how many people have either gotten sick or died from similar health issues in those 26 years?

TECK SPILL ALERT: Toxins from Teck’s Landfill/Arsenic Storage Area spilled into Columbia River ~ April, 2016 ~

 

April 13, 2016

 

SPILL ALERT:  Teck Smelter, Trail B.C.

Due to a failure of a sump pump at Teck Smelter in B.C.,  leachate from an old landfill and arsenic storage area has been released into Stony Creek, which discharges into the Columbia River. The specific toxins and the amounts released is not yet known at this time.     

Response and Monitoring – in progress.

Matt Schanz, with the Environmental Public Health Director for Northeast Tri-County Health District, will be in contact with Board Members of the Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC), and the CCC will keep the Northport Community updated on more information as it becomes available.

Thank you to Mindy Smith, from the CCC, in making the Northport Community  aware of the most current, and possibly dangerous release by Teck Metals.

Click here for updated news report.

Plan for Air Monitoring Study in Northport…. Please read and help if you can

The Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC), myself, and other Northport residents have been trying to get a well planned air monitoring study done in the area.  The last air monitoring done in Northport was from 1993-1997.  The results of these 4 air monitoring studies showed that levels of arsenic and cadmium exceeded the recommended health levels many times over.  The EPA and Ecology were aware of this.  Further testing was promised to continue, sponsored by Teck, and monitored by the WA State Dpt. of Ecology.  No further air monitoring has taken place since 1997.  So the air, known to be toxic in 1997, has been unchecked for the last 18 years.

It is absolutely necessary that a well planned air monitoring study in the area be conducted to determine if contamination is ongoing.

We need everyone to accomplish this!

A form letter has been created by Mindy at the CCC. All that would be required of you is to sign it and email it to the email/contact listed below.  If you would like this form letter please email me at: northportproject@hotmail.com

Then, email the signed form letter to Laura Buelow, the EPA Project Manager of the RI/FS Study being conducted in Northport at: buelow.laura@epa.gov

It will only take you a few minutes to complete this, but the impact the air monitoring could have on keeping current residents, and future generations of Northport residents healthy is invaluable.

These air monitoring tests done in the 1990’s were done on my Grandparents farm.  I saw the results first hand, typed out along with the daily readings.  The levels of arsenic and cadmium were astonishing.  Risk level base for arsenic is 0.0023.  The mid level base of arsenic found in our air was .03.  The risk level base for cadmium is 0.0056.  The mid level base of cadmium found in our air was .01.

Research what chronic exposure to arsenic and cadmium via air emissions will do to a human body.  You will see a lot of similarities to all the clusters of health issues found in Northport residents.

Please just take a moment to complete the form letter.

Thank you,

Jamie Paparich

Northportproject@hotmail.com

EPA to hold community meeting August 20th

Come talk to us about metals in soil and proposed actions Share your concerns and questions

In response to your requests for a meeting, EPA, Ecology, and the Northeast Tri-County Health District invite you to share your concerns and questions.

EPA and the Washington Department of Ecology will discuss Ecology’s recent reports on elevated levels of metals in soil and answer questions.

Residential soil testing

Based on recent soil testing, Ecology is asking EPA to accelerate planned residential soil sampling. EPA would like to hear from the community to better prepare a sampling plan. Local knowledge can inform EPA’s decision about where and how to sample the soil in residential areas in the Columbia River Valley close to the U.S.-Canadian border.

Please join us

… at the Northport Community Connections Center on Tuesday evening, August 20, at 6:30 pm.

Representatives from EPA and Ecology will be available to talk about Ecology’s recent study, EPA’s plans, and discuss your concerns and answer your questions.

Where: Northport Community Connections Center, 405 Center Ave.,

Northport, WA 99157

When: Tuesday, August 20, at 6:30 pm

For questions please contact:

Kay Morrison, Community Involvement Coordinator, US Environmental Protection Agency

206-553-8321, or toll free at 1-800-424-4372

Carol Bergin, Public Involvement Specialist, WA Department of Ecology – 509-329-3546

WA Dpt. of Ecology’s Northport soil study confirms fears

Link to study results below:

Soil, Lake, and Wetland Studies around Northport

EPA Awards $2 Million to Small Businesses

This is great news. I was wondering if you could share the project/research study that was awarded with the air monitoring grant?
I am curious because Northport still has been unable to get funding or approval for just the one air monitor we were promised and, until recently, thought was in place near the border, as this was where we were told a constant monitor would be operated by Teck and reviewed by Ecology due to the extremely elevated levels of arsenic and cadmium consistently detected in all four air monitoring phases done in Northport from 1992-1997. The levels of arsenic found was 200 times that of the recommended Safety levels and Cadmium was not much better. Per the agreement Ecology made with Teck (during phase 3) to approve their amended permit request to install the Kivcet smelter Teck was to monitor the air after the installation of the new smelter to ensure the toxin levels were as low as they predicted. Phase 4 was done for this purpose. The results showed that the arsenic and cadmium levels were still just as high as they were in the first three phases. Based on these results The ATSDR instructed Ecology to have Teck continue to monitor the air near the border (on the US side) and Ecology was to review Teck’s reports monthly. After phase 4 was completed the air monitor was removed and ow we find out no more air monitoring has been done in or near our area since. The closest air monitor is 35 miles away in Colville!

Is there any funding available for one air monitor in Northport? This is a major concern to the citizens of Northport since Teck’s air plumes are still visible, the same health issues are occurring, and some of the health clusters, specifically diagnosed cases of Colitis, are growing in frequency and in numbers of impacted residents, most children. Given this information along with the fact no monitoring has been done of our air since the Kivcet smelter monitoring failed to show the lowered levels of arsenic and cadmium that they guaranteed in their permit application to install the new smelter 18+ years ago. Another major concern is all the data and information I have read on the Kivcet smelter design indicates part of the reason the air odor and visibility are markedly improved is due to the extremely small size of the particulate matter. Several articles I read, one was a memo from Teck to Ecology, states the size of the particulate matter has been hypothesized to be to small to be captured by any available air monitors. Considering the smaller the particulate matter the more dangerous chronic exposure is to people and coupled with the continued health clusters diagnosed in residents living in the same two mile radius the past health clusters were discovered and the area the air monitors for all 4 air monitoring phases were set up .

Any suggestions on who could possibly help us with this would be greatly appreciated. I have been in touch with Ecology and the Wa DOH. They both informed me they have no plans to install an air monitor in Northport since they believe the four phases already conducted in our area,(17+years ago) , are sufficient enough.
They were sufficient enough to prove we were, and likely still are, in danger if we were/are chronically exposed to the toxins and particulate matter in the air we inhale and ingest as well as absorb through our skin.
The current HHRA being conducted by the EPA has no plans to do any additional monitoring of our air either, they also stated that the four air monitoring phases Ecology performed were sufficient enough to prove an individual exposed no more than 35 days out of the year does not run a likely risk of developing health issues related to their exposure to the elevated toxins of concern.

When is someone going to address the likelihood our health issues are very probably linked to the unmonitored elevated toxins of concern we were not even made aware of until decades after their monitoring detected it?
All we simply want is an air monitor, I don’t think that is to much to ask?

I look forward to any suggestions you can offer.

Jamie Paparich
The Northport Project
Northportproject@hotmail.com
http://www.northportproject.com
775-750-6384

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