Saturday, September 19, 2009

Water woes

There will be a couple of posts to clarify the main subject of this post.
This first one will deal directly with what I believe are import elements when searching for contamination in the ground.
I will focus first on the searching at Scofieldtown dump area.
Lots of things were dumped there, so a review of what should not be looked for is important.
The first 2 are metals, arsenic and mercury. They are not good things period and may or may not have been dumped at the site, but guaranteed they are in the soil. Why?
Arsenic was the primary insecticide for apple trees for years. Guess what Connecticut used to (and still does in some parts) grow abundantly? Apples.
Do I expect to be able to find arsenic in wells? Yes. Is it related to the dump? No.
Is it important? Very and my predecessor will have a machine to be able to do those surveys. I just could not coax the necessary sensitivity out of the 1985 Perkin Elmer graphite furnace AA that I got for our lab.
Mercury. the reason we have to be careful of the fish we eat is mercury and in Connecticut its main source is the Ohio coal burning electric power plants that the EPA refuses to regulate.
Right now of course the big furor is over pesticides and the residents have every right to be concerned, they are dangerous, but did it come from the dump? I doubt it.
The pesticides found were used extensively for years. Are they dangerous? Yes.
Do they get into wells after years of not being used, Yes again.
The wells in question are only a few feet from the homes, but that is a topic for another day.
The city needed to help the people. That was my push. They did.
So what should one look for?
Solvents. VOCs is the technical term, but when I find methyl ethyl ketone or toluene or trichloroethylene or any oil cutting solvent in any of the test results, that is definitely coming from the dump.
Chromium would be anothwer one, but all the past and recent tests do not show it even at the dump site.
That is my thinking.
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