Posts Tagged ‘ECOLOGY’

Ecology Memo Recommending Additional Air Monitoring in Northport, WA

Department of Ecology

 

13 April 2017

TO:  Karen Wood and Chris Hanlon-Meyer

FROM:  Matt Kadlec

SUBJECT:  Regional PM10 Air Monitoring Speciation Network Comparison to
Measured and Predicted Conditions in the Upper Columbia River Valley
near the U.S.-Canadian Border

 

An analysis was recently completed on observed and estimated recent air quality
conditions for arsenic, cadmium, and lead within the upper Columbia River valley near
the international border.[1]  The report recommended a renewal of monitoring of certain aerosol elements in that area in order to conclusively determine current air quality conditions there.

Those estimates are matched to comparable data from monitors in Washington,
Oregon and Idaho as follows.

In the histograms below, the mean concentrations of US EPA Air Quality System
(AQS)[2] PM10 speciation data are compared to estimates of the mean concentrations
near Northport and the upper Columbia River Valley near the border (UCR). All the
means are of the February 2009 through December 2014 interval.

arsenic

 

 

 

cadmium

lead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISCUSSION

The upper limit of each location’s histogram bar is the ≈ 6-year mean PM10 element
concentration in micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). The purple bars are the
estimated concentrations in the upper Columbia River Valley area and near Northport.
The blue bars are the observed mean concentrations at the AQS monitor locations.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Average airborne PM10 arsenic and lead concentrations in the upper Columbia River
valley near the international border are potentially the highest known levels in
Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Likewise, the average airborne cadmium
concentrations are potentially the highest known anywhere in three states except at the monitor at 2231 N Flint Ave, Portland, OR, which is about 500 feet from an art-glass
foundry known to have emitted high levels of cadmium in particulate matter.[3]

Previously interpreted air monitoring data from 2009 through 2014 suggest that current
emissions from the Trail smelter continue to influence upper Columbia River valley air
quality. PM10 arsenic, cadmium and lead concentrations in the upper Columbia River
valley near the international border exceed expected air quality conditions for a rural
setting. Absent smelter emissions, the particulate metal concentrations in this rural
portion or northeast Washington likely would be about as low as those at the monitors
in rural Oregon and Idaho.

These findings reinforce the need for current PM10 speciation monitoring in the upper
Columbia River Valley near the international border and Northport area.

 

 

1 https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1702003.html
2 https://www.epa.gov/aqs accessed by Jill Schulte, 6 April 2017

3 http://www.opb.org/news/article/why-portland-heavy-metals-pollution-went-undetected-for-so-long/ Accessed 11 April 2017

Ecology’s Air Quality Assessment Concludes Air Monitors Needed in Northport

by Jamie Paparich

 

In 2008 I began looking into the decades of toxins the Canadian smelter, Teck, had been allowed to dispose of into Northport’s air, water and soil, literally slowly poisoning us.  The further I looked into it the more disillusioned I became with our Government agencies, specifically the EPA, the ATSDR, and the DOH.  There was one agencies that surprised me.

 

The WA State Dpt. of Ecology represents the state of Washington in working with Tribal, federal, and local government organizations who are addressing imageslong-term concerns over the smelter’s contamination, on cleanup and community outreach.

 

Ecology has conducted eleven independent studies in our area evaluating smelter contamination between 1992 through 2017.  The Dpt. of Ecology surprised me because their studies were scientifically, technically, and logically well thought out and conducted with total accuracy.  The most significant difference between Ecology’s studies, as compared to the other agencies, was simple; they were ethical and honest. They did not slant their results, or blame “data gaps” as a recurring reason as to why their studies could not be completed, and they did not manipulate the wording to make it seem the results of their research was not something Northport residents, Teck, or their own agencies should be concerned with; referring to Northport as an “intermediate health hazard”.

 

Ecology’s study conclusions statethe facts, the actual levels of toxins found, and the danger the levels found of arsenic, cadmium and lead in our air and soil could likely put the residents of Northport in danger.

 

Ecology has proven again and again they worked for us, to protect us.

 

In the 4 air monitoring studies they conducted between 1992-1998 each of the studies concluded that levels of arsenic and cadmium were consistently found to be way above the Acceptable Source Impact Level (ASIL) set by the EPA.   Ecology provided their findings to the EPA because Ecology conducted these studies to provide the EPA with information as to whether or not they should allow Teck a renewed air permit for a new source (Kivcet smelter.)  Although Ecology’s results provided accurate reasons not to allow Teck a new air permit.  Instead, the EPA approved the new permit and Ecology’s air monitoring results were never discussed or shared with anyone, including the residents being impacted by the air.

 

In 2007 Ecology sampled sediments in Lake Roosevelt and the upper Columbia River.  Their results concluded that widespread industrial slag could forensically be tied to Teck Resources, and that it had contaminated the soil and water from Lake Roosevelt, up through the Columbia River to the Canadian border.  In 2006 Teck, under the supervision of the EPA, began a remedial investigation of the area.  The study is still ongoing.  What the EPA and Teck have been able to accomplish from an eleven year study is not a fraction of what Ecology’s 2007 study accomplished.

 

In 2012 Ecology conducted soil and sediment sampling in upland, non residential areas.  Teck, and the EPA, were conducting similar testing.  The levels of lead, arsenic, zinc, cadmium and mercury Ecology discovered were so high they petitioned the EPA to fast track sampling of residential soil, fearing residents exposed to these heavy metals at levels this high, specifically children, were in more danger than originally thought.

 

The EPA pushed Ecology’s petition through and Teck conducted sampling of 74 properties in 2014 and removed contaminated soil from 14 residential properties and 1 tribal allotment in 2015.  In 2016 they began a second round of residential property soil sampling.  The results of this sampling has not been published.    This would not have been accomplished without Ecology.

 

Residents of Northport have long worried that it is the air that continues to trigger the several, rare health issues a large majority of residents have been diagnosed with.  When Teck began their remedial investigation, under EPA supervision, we requested air monitoring again and again.  It was always pushed to the back burner, or we were told there was no funding, or no evidence to support more monitoring was needed….even though the monitoring done of the air by Ecology between 1992-1998 showed levels of arsenic 200 times higher than safety standards, and levels of cadmium were 18 times higher than safety standards.

 

In working with the Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC), Ecology listened to our concerns and agreed with them.  They explained that there were so many old studies to go through, dating as far back as 1931, and so many missing years not monitored, that it would be a difficult analysis to conduct.  After discovering Teck had an air monitor in Northport from 1992 – 2009 they requested those monitoring results. They then collected results of air monitoring Teck had collected near the Canadian border from 2007-2014.  Armed with studies done on our air in 1931, from 1992 through 2007, and the border monitoring through 2014, Ecology asked their Air Quality Program specialists to use this data to evaluate conditions in the upper Columbia River valley and assess whether more air monitoring is needed.

 

Based on there assessment, they concluded additional air monitoring in the upper Columbia River valley is necessary. 

 

Ecology will now share their analysis with the EPA and Teck, requesting additional air monitoring be done as a part of their remedial investigation evaluating the smelter-related pollution impacts done to our environment and health.

 

If the EPA and Teck agree to this Ecology would work with the EPA and public health officials to further assess health concerns once the additional monitoring is performed and data is collected. Ecology expects EPA would use the data to inform a human health risk assessment.

 

Without this data the human health risk assessment the EPA is required to conduct of the area would be no different than the assessments the DOH and the ATSDR conducted in 2004, invaluable, inaccurate, and a waste of more time and money.

 

Northport residents who continue to be diagnosed with the rare, similar health issues that plagued the two generations before them do not have any more time to waste.

 

A special thank you to The Washington State Department of Ecology, specifically John Roland and Chuck Gruenenfelder

“An underdog never loses, they find a different way to win the fight.”

– Unknown

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

Comments worth posting – a special thank you from The Northport Project to Shayla

Comment from Shayla Phillips:

I cannot thank you enough for writing this….I am in the eigth grade and I am doing a school project on Northport. There was so much info on Northport in this and I fully enjoyed reading. Im Stephanie and Levi’s younger daughter Shayla

Shayla 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Response submitted by The Northport Project  | In reply to Shayla.   

Hi Shayla –
Thank you for all the support you and your family have given me. It is actually because of you and your brother that The Northport Project even exists.

A few months after I began The Northport Project in 2008, I was so frustrated with the lies and misconceptions the DOH and EPA had told the kind people of Northport, along with the difficulty in getting past and present residents to fill out health questionnaires in order to move forward, I almost just gave up.

It was then that your Mom e-mailed me and told me of your brother’s diagnosis with Ulcerative Colitis and about your struggle with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. That was the push I needed to not only keep going but to start pushing harder for the information the DOH and EPA were trying to avoid providing me and to push the past and present Northport residents to take the time to complete the questionnaires, necessary to get the information necessary to get epidemiological studies done in the area. Two years later we were able to get two physicians from the Crohn’s & Colitis Center at Massachusetts General Hospital to conduct the first phase of their epidemiological study of Northport residents, past and present, diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. The Northport IBD Study, (designed specifically for Northport), just concluded phase I of this study, in which the physicians were able to conclude that there is a health cluster of these diseases currently in the community, and that there has been a consistent cluster of these diseases since approx. 1955-60. With this information they are currently preparing an abstract, which will be used to obtain grants and funding for phase II, and eventually a manuscript of their findings. The results of this study could very likely help in discovering the cause, or specific triggers, of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease, still unknown to the medical and scientific community.

So it is you I should be thanking. It is because of your Mom and her description of the suffering both you and your brother have endured so courageously. As well as your parents unselfishness to contact me to contribute whatever information they could in order to ensure this did not happen to any other children. They were not looking to blame anyone, or for compensation for the pain and suffering your family had endured (although they have every right to!), they honestly just wanted to help.

So thank you sweetie – and please feel free to e-mail me anytime – jamie_paparich@hotmail.com

Sincerely,
Jamie Paparich

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