Posts Tagged ‘Teck Resources’

BWH/Harvard Northport IBD Study to begin next month

2016 BWH/Harvard Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis study to begin in November

In 2011  Dr. Josh Korzenik, The Director of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), one of the leading IBD researchers in the country, and his team conducted a study of Northport residents through health questionnaires and medical record confirmations. He discovered a health cluster of Northport residents with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease that was 10 to 15 times higher than national standards. This was one of the largest health clusters of these illnesses he has ever seen.

The causes, and a cure, for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have long baffled the scientific community.  Northport’s historical exposure to specific heavy metal toxins may be a contributing factor to the abnormally high number of residents with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Dr. Korzenik is moving forward next month with a new epidemiological case-control study of Northport residents; focusing on a possible correlation to chronic exposure to heavy metals triggering ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

In March I asked for volunteers for this new study. Participants needed are residents diagnosed with either Crohn’s or Colitis, as well as residents who do not have either of these illnesses (a control group).  I received many volunteers to participate.  Thank you!   However, I do not want to miss anyone who may want to participate in this ground breaking study.

If you have not already contacted me* to volunteer and you are willing to participate in this study, both diagnosed residents and non diagnosed residents, please e-mail me as soon as possible.  The study begins in the next two weeks.  

Contact Info:  jamie_paparich@hotmail.com   or  northportproject@hotmail.com

* If you are not sure if you contacted me already please feel free to e-mail again!

The study is simple, and will take only a few minutes of your time.  You will be contacted by the research team, either by telephone or e-mail depending on your preference, to give your consent to participate in the study.  A questionnaire and a kit including scissors and nail clippers to obtain hair and nail samples will be sent to your home.  You will then send the packet back to the researchers, and the assays will be done at their lab.

Thank you so much to the community for your amazing support in volunteering for this much needed study!

 

Contact Info:  jamie_paparich@hotmail.com   or  northportproject@hotmail.com

Teck’s “dissapointment” is disgraceful

Sept. 9, 2016

By  Jamie Paparich

Last month a U.S. District Court Judge ruled Teck, a Canadian smelter, must pay the Confederated Tribes of the Colville (Washington) Reservation $8.25 million in reimbursement of the Tribe’s legal expenses that have mounted in the two decade long legal battle with the smelter.  The battle was over the millions upon millions of heavy metal toxins Teck admittedly dumped into the Columbia River for over a century.

Teck responded to this ruling, stating it was “disappointed.”  A spokesman for Teck said that the smelter has already spent over $75 million on human health risk assessments and environmental investigations of the Upper Columbia River, as part of the agreement they reached with the EPA.

In 1999 the EPA issued a unilateral order, forcing the smelter to cooperate in the studies and clean-up of the Upper Columbia River.  Teck fought this agreement, spending millions of dollars in legal fees, until 2006.  They finally began their investigation into the area in 2008, insisting on redoing studies the EPA had already completed.  The studies, assessments and clean-ups they have completed have been less than earth shattering.  As a matter of fact most of them appear to be more for good PR then for the people and the land.  If they have spent $75 million so far the majority of that money was likely spent on attorney fees for the countless appeals they have filed trying to get out of their responsibilities. 

The company also stated that they have invested $1.5 billion upgrading the smelter, in an attempt to be in regulation with their environmental permits.

I am having a difficult time sympathizing with the financial burden Teck feels has been placed upon them.  If they want to talk numbers how about these numbers; 

  • Between 1906 thru 1995 Teck dumped 58, 611, 000 tons of heavy metal toxins into our river, our beaches, our land, and our lives.   
  • Between 1982 thru 2016 over 240 Northport residents have been diagnosed with similar, rare, auto immune diseases linked to chronic heavy metal exposure. 
  • 23 residents have suffered, or died, from brain aneurisms, the majority of those 23 people lived in a 2-3 mile radius.
  • 110 residents passed away from one of four cancers often diagnosed in the community, and also linked to chronic heavy metal exposure.

If Teck is disappointed in the $8.25 million they have to pay to the Colville Tribes maybe they should take a moment and add up our numbers.

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)

AIR MONITORING IN NORTHPORT: PART III *LETTER PETITION- For Air Monitoring in Northport*

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 buelow.laura@epa.gov, 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:  buelow.laura@epa.gov):

Ms. Beulow:

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.

Sincerely,

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.

AIR MONITORING IN NORTHPORT: PART II

Summary of Ecology’s Northport Air Quality Studies, Phases I – IV, (1992-1998) 

 

ECOLOGY/EPA  ACRONYMS

Screening Acronyms used by Ecology and EPA in testing certain heavy metal toxins:

    • Acceptable Source Impact Level (ASIL): Toxins must be found at or below the ASIL set by the EPA based on Standard ambient air background levels throughout the State.
    • Risk Based Specific Concentration Level (RSC): Toxins found at or above the RSC set by the EPA are considered high enough to pose as a risk to the environment and human health.

ARSENIC SAFETY/RISK LEVELS SET BY EPA:

  • The ASIL:  .00023 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3)
  • The RSC:  0.0023 ug/m3

CADMIUM SAFETY/RISK LEVELS SET BY EPA:

  • The ASIL:  .00056 ug/m3
  • The RSC:  0.1164 ug/m3

 

 

PHASE I:   Dec. 15, 1992 – Feb. 13, 1993

• Five air monitors installed

• 100 samples of particulate matter (PM) collected and analyzed for lead, arsenic, and    particulate matter.

PHASE II:   Aug. 10, 1993 – Oct. 30, 1993

• Seven air monitors installed

• The particulate filters were scanned for 30 toxic metals, cadmium, zinc, antimony, lead, copper, arsenic, and manganese.

• Computer Modeling conducted to better “understand the probable sources of pollutants…”

RESULTS:  Phase I & Phase II

ARSENIC

Arsenic exceeded EPA’s ASIL and RSC levels in both phases.

    • Phase I – maximum arsenic level detected:  .25 ug/m3
    • Phase II – maximum arsenic level detected: 0.1164 ug/m3

CADMIUM (*Cadmium was only tested in the Phase II air monitoring.)

Cadmium exceeded EPA’s ASIL and RSC levels in phase II.

    • Phase II – maximum cadmium level detected:  .0474 ug/m3

COMPUTER MODELING

The results of the computer modeling done in Phase II confirmed “…the monitoring data results in predicting that winds and pollutants from the (Teck) smelter can easily travel down the Columbia River Valley to produce moderately high pollutant concentrations in the study area.”

 

PHASE III:   Nov. 3, 1993 – Aug. 6, 1994

• One monitoring site – located 3 miles NE of Northport on “Paparich”

• Metals evaluated – lead, arsenic, cadmium

RESULTS:  Phase III

ARSENIC

Arsenic exceeded EPA’s ASIL and RSC levels in phase III

    • Phase III:   Arsenic maximum yearly average:  .12 ug/m3

CADMIUM

Cadmium exceeded EPA’s ASIL and RSC levels in phase III

    • Phase III:   Cadmium maximum yearly average:  .04 ug/m3

 

PHASE IV:   Sept. 5, 1997 – Dec. 31, 1998

• Three monitoring sites in Northport

• Metals evaluated – arsenic, lead, cadmium, zinc

RESULTS:  Phase IV

ARSENIC

Arsenic exceeded EPA’s ASIL and RSC levels in phase IV

    • Phase IV:   Arsenic maximum yearly average:  .02 ug/m3

CADMIUM

Cadmium exceeded EPA’s ASIL and RSC Levels in phase IV

    • Phase IV:    Cadmium maximum yearly average:  .01 ug/m3

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion;  of the four Air Monitoring Studies conducted by Ecology between 1992 thru 1998 the level of arsenic and cadmium consistently exceeded all safety levels.  Ecology agreed to approve Teck’s request for a new permit in 1996 for a new “KIVCET” smelter, with the condition that phase IV of the air monitoring proved the new Kivcet smelter reduced the levels of arsenic and cadmium to safe levels in and around Northport.  The results of phase IV proved only that the levels stayed the same, still unsafe.  Ecology approved the permit anyway, but concluded in phase IV that they would “continue its efforts to fine- tune the MM5, CALMET and CALPUFF air quality models for utilization in the Northport study area. …(I)n addition to evaluating the need for further emission reductions at the (Teck) facility, the above models will be used to determine pollutant impact “hot spots” and optimum long-term air quality monitoring site locations (in Northport).”

No air monitoring has taken place in Northport since the conclusion of phase IV in 1998.  For 18 years the community of Northport has been exposed to unsafe levels of arsenic and cadmium, levels the Department of Ecology knew about, and warned the EPA about…..but no one warned the residents of Northport.

The EPA is currently, and so far unsuccessfully, trying to obtain funding from Teck to install air monitors in and around Northport.  The Ministry of Environment in Canada recently fined Teck 3.4 million dollars for their spills into the Columbia River.  Perhaps, the Canadian Ministry could provide the funding for the air monitors needed 3 miles down river from Teck?  Doubtful.

How can you help get air monitors in Northport?  I will share how in part 3 of the air monitoring blog next week!

TECK FINED 3.4 MILLION FOR POLLUTION

 

Teck Resource’s Trail smelter fined $3.4 million on pollution charges

 

On Monday, Feb. 29th, in Rossland, B.C. a judge fined Teck Resource’s Trail smelter 3.4 million dollars for 13 accidental toxic spills they released into the Columbia river from November 2013 thru February 2015.  Teck was fined for over a dozen violations under the Environmental Management Acts and for failing to comply with its environmental permit.

Richard Deane, Teck’s manager of public affairs, stated; “These incidents we do not view as acceptable.”  He went on to say that most of the fine will go into a designated environmental conservation initiative for the lower Columbia region.

Unfortunately the toxins released in Teck’s 13 discharges , mentioned above, crossed the Washington state border 3 miles downriver. The majority of their discharges polluted the U.S. Portion of the Columbia River, as well as contaminating our sediment, soil, and aquatic life. Yet the Upper Columbia River communities, nor the State of Washington, will ever receive any of that 3.4 million dollars to conduct environmental studies on the areas the spills actually impacted.

– Jamie Paparich

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