February 12, 2010

Navy Tests Say Waller Mill Fish Not Toxic to Humans

Does that sound "fishy" to you?

Love might not last forever for a lot of couples, but you can't say that about PCBs. These dandy little chemicals, manufactured in the U.S. by the Monsanto Company from 1929 to 1977 under the trade name Aroclor, don't last long in water but instead settle to the bottom and persist in the fish. The manufacturing of PCBs (officially called polychlorinated biphenyls) was finally banned in 1979.

So that's 50 years worth of nasty stuff, some of which migrated through a drainage swale from an abandoned pool at Camp Peary toward Waller Mill Reservoir. Several water quality tests show the chemical is no longer in the water, but that doesn't mean the stuff isn't in the mud under the surface. Last February, analysis of soil and sediment samples taken outside of Camp Peary revealed PCBs in the drainage system. So that soil and debris (1500 tons of it!) was carted away.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is also reviewing the draft report that states that PCB concentrations in Waller Mill Reservoir fish are within acceptable risk limits to humans. This report is from third party chemists hired by the Navy

"PCB concentrations in Waller Mill Reservoir that are attributable to releases from Site 49F do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment," the statement said. Plus no additional remediation for the site is mentioned.

Want to know more? The Navy will hold a Community Open House on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 6 to 8 pm. at the Williamsburg Community Building.

Wouldn't it be a nice touch if they served fish and chips, with some of Monsanto's famous PCB tartar sauce on the side?

Speaking of fish:
Look at the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico where the fish "sleep with the fishies."

Wonder why? LOTS of fertilizer runoff and sediment from the farms--more than 7.8 million pounds of it a day, if you accept the findings of the Environmental Working Group--flow down the mighty Mississsippi especially during spring rains.. The United States Geological Society has identified Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi as the primary contributors. These states are responsible for more than 75 percent of the nitrogen and phosphorus that enters the gulf.

Why does it continue? Billions of dollars in federal farm subsidies that reward production rather than impact on the environment. The Clean Water Act, that was supposed to improve the nation’s waters so that natural chemical, physical, and biological conditions could be sustained, sits on a nearby shelf. This legislation determined that pollution from point and nonpoint sources should be minimized. Too bad it hasn't been enforced.