Wednesday, March 10, 2010

scofieldtown dump - the investigation

As meeting progress and people leave and new people come and ideas change hands and people get angry.  I am still waiting for the science.  Yes, I am admitted "Squint" (as coined in the TV show; Bones).
All those homes that were tested (I count 197, plus some that were done by private home owners and then shared), what was the big deal?
The START survey contracted by the US EPA found pesticides in some wells on Hannah's Road.  They found a spot with some Dieldren in the playground are of the dump, but what else was found?
It is not talked about.  The public talks VOCs.SVOCs. Heavy metals, but the things found in the greatest concentrations in the area where the water drains out of the dump, were none of those.
It was old pesticides, DDT and its family (DDE and DDD) and a PCB pesticide Archlor.  Those levels were hundreds to tens of thousands of times greater than dieldren found.  If the dump was a source, they would be in the wells.  They were looked for, they were not found even in a trace amount.
The START testing looked at VOCs.  I was interested in VOCs, which are solvents and components of oil and gasoline.  The START testing found acetone, but in the quality control a "field blank" is carried with the sampler to ensure that any false contamination would not be introduced into the other samples.  The field blank had acetone.  Eliminate that as a VOC.
So out of the 197 homes tested, all for VOCs. what was the outcome?  Mostly chlorination and bromination by-products, all easily attributable to pools and hot tubs in the area and household bleach use.  There were a couple of strange chemicals found in 2 wells in trace amounts (Chlorotoluene), and two wells which had oil or gas residue.  One well with a paint solvent.  All of then very separate from each other.
The big thing about the site is there was a salt dome that was kept there, uncovered for years and some anecdotal evidence that the salt was buried into the dump after each season.  This would mean that thee are tons of water soluble sodium chloride flowing underground.
The wells in the area are very similar, most less than 300 feet in depth and only have 20 feet of casing.  there are many treatment softening systems used most disposing of the regeneration brine into their own septic systems.  Salt levels are varied, mostly along the lines of where the softeners are.  This can be further verified by levels of potassium, where the regeneration brine used was potassium chloride.
There are many other factor, the Villa Maria complex was an old farm house which farmed a large area.  there was a road leading south to what loos like a dump site for the farm, this is where Very Merry Rod ends.
Many wells were dug very close to the homes, there are no regulations and some of them abut the foundation.  Any termite treatment, which digs a hole 3 to 4 feet into the ground and then has an insecticide solution poured into it at intervals around the entire foundation of the home would effect a well that close to the foundation.
The issue is complex, but who fault is it?
All of ours because it is the years of not understanding what these chemicals could do to us and using them so haphazardly.
The dump is not the issue, all of us are the issue.
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