Alan Muller, Green Delaware, questioning and commenting at the meeting

Tuesday night, there was a meeting in Delaware City regarding the “Standard Chlorine of Delaware, a/k/a Metachem Superfund Site.”  This meeting was to gather comments on the “OU3 Proposed Plan.”

Here’s a link to the News Journal article about it — and the full story is below:

EPA: Metachem toxins will linger

Comments must be sent in by August 14, 2009, postmarked if mailed by that date, to:

Hilary Thornton, Mailcode 3HS23
US EPA, Region 3
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA  19103


Here are my comments, sent just now:

Overland Comments – Metachem

Now, take a few minutes and work on yours!


The way they handle these proceedings, it’s misleading and diversionary, a false, technical compartmentalization of the problem and solutions, which leads to a preordained, incomplete, and probably ineffective “clean-up.”  Part of the problem is that it’s  not clear that cleaning up is a priority.  My impression is that they’re just interested in “dealing with it” in some way, the CHEAPEST way, checking off the “OU3 box” and moving on.

Their plan, their PREFERRED plan, is to cover it up and move on to “OU4.”  Their “Preferred Plan” is, direct from their powerpoint slide 8:

2A.  Surface Cap/Institutional Controls
Impermeable Surface Cap
  • Cap materials TBD during Remedial Design Phase
  • Cap materials and thickness would vary depending on future land use
Institutional Controls
  • Future land use must not interfere with ongoing remedies
Five-Year Reviews
  • Required for any Superfund Site where contaminants remain
Est. $11.5 – 18.5 Million

Why look! Imagine that!   This is the CHEAPEST of the options.  All options are “cap” crap, with “materials TBD” and, based on prior past bad experience with DNREC’s “hare-brained” ideas (yes, that’s a direct quote)for “beneficial use” and using coal ash and sewage sludge to cap the dump next to the river:

  • I asked whether they’d use coal ash in the “TBD” cover material, and they would NOT commit to rejecting coal ash.
  • I asked whether they’d use sewage sludge in the “TBD” cover material, and they would NOT commit to rejecting sewage sludge.

This is where that compartmentalization becomes a problem.  They said that was not an issue for “OU3” and that it would be addressed in the “design phase.”  Uh-huh, and the public is involved in that exactly HOW?  And hello — WHAT the impermeable surface is has much to do with the appropriateness of using an impermeable cover.  Rainfall on the impermeable cover will trickle off the cover over the edge, onto and into the ground, groundwater, etc.   Even if it’s asphalt, that should be considered.  Isn’t the EPA is in the process of addressing coal ash, and a rule pending?

Cost… Their “preferred” option 2A costs $11.5-18 million.   The others?

The other options, from their powerpoint:

2B Surface Cap/ICs, with Soil Vapor Extraction
Same surface cap and ICs as mentioned in 2A, plus an in Situ SVE system:
  • Est. 200-500 air extraction wells at 50′ depth
  • Treat contaminated air from beneath the cap
  • treat off-gas from SVE system before discharge
  • Additional sampling to identify “hot spots”
  • Pilot study first, to test effectiveness
  • Est. $19.1-20.2 Million
2B Surface Cap/ICs, with ISTD
Same surface cap and ICs as mentioned in 2A, plus in Sit thermal Desorption:
  • Est. 2,800 heater and 1,400 heated vapor extraction wells, 8-12′ apart through 330,000 sq. ft. area
  • Additional sampling to identify “hot spots” within 10′ of barrier wall
  • Pilot study first, to test effectiveness
  • Est. $92.8-99.8 Million

Let’s see… $11.5-18.5 v. $19.1-20-2 & $92.8-99.8.  Doesnt’ take a rocket scientist to see that the cheapest “option” is “preferred,” and since when is cost the primary driver?  Is this an indication of how they value those living here, drinking the water, breathing the air?

Oh, and did I mention they admitted, finally, that the contamination goes down at least 140 feet!  That’s something they haven’t wanted to talk about before.

These options are the only ones looked at, the only ones that are under consideration.

CONSIDER THIS: One other option I want them to consider is to dig up part of the site, the cleaner part, and put a liner down there and take the contaminated dirt from the rest of the site and bury it there with the solid multi-layer liner, and then cover it.

Here’s an example of that in Minnesota, showing that it can and should be done.  This is a scenario where it’s been sitting there since before the mid 70s, it has contaminated ground water in Lake Elmo and Oakdale, Minnesota.  They’re using three layers of liner over packed clay and another three layers of plastic, plus sand with a collection and draingae system.  In the Metachem case, they know groundwater is contaminated, that it’s seeping down, so what, short of this, will stop it?  Take a look — Tom Meersman did a very good job on this:

History-making landfill do-over in Washington County

Hazardous 3M trash buried decades ago in Washington County is being dug up and will be reburied with a protective lining.

By TOM MEERSMAN, Star Tribune

In a $20 million job that’s the largest of its kind in state history, workers in protective suits are unearthing trash in Lake Elmo that hasn’t seen the light of day for more than three decades.

Their mission is not to burn the wastes or haul them off to another state, but to rebury them in a state-of-the-art pit that will keep chemicals that went into Scotchgard and other 3M products from getting into any more drinking water.

Excavating 33 acres of garbage, and then putting it back in the same place, may seem like a curious way to handle trash that has rested undisturbed since 1975.

However, the former Washington County landfill is not your typical dump. Wastes taken there from the 3M Co. in the early 1970s have contaminated groundwater in nearby Lake Elmo and Oakdale.

That has led to one of the biggest attempts to go back and undo decades-old environmental practices that the metro area has ever seen.

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Carleton’s wind turbine goes up (this photo may have been taken by Jonathan Larson, Bruce Anderson or ??? and not moi).

YEAAAAAAAAAA – The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is going to address the concerns that many groups and individuals have raised about wind turbines, particularly the setbacks required to protect the health and safety of those living nearby.  First, the Minnesota Department of Health release a white paper:

MN Dept of Health – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

Now, following up on that, the PUC has issued notice of a comment period to address “PermitConditions on Setbacks and the Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Health Division’s White Paper on Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines.”  And here’s their notice — LOOK AT WHO IS ON THE SERVICE LIST, LOOK AT WHAT SERVICE LISTS THEY USED:

PUC – Notice of Comment Period 7-21-09


The service list used are the ones for 04-1616, a docket regarding multi-state tracking and trading system for Renewable Energy Credits; and  03-869, a docket for electric utilities subject to Minn. Stat. 216B.1691.  Yup, that really gets it out there, doesn’t it… and the service lists for Bent Tree, Kenyon Wind, Clay County, New Ulm Utilities were NOT used… hence my first comment to be filed!

Overland Comments – Request for Broader Distribution of Notice

It’s very good that  they’ve opened this docket, that they even did that White Paper on Public Health Impacts of wind turbines, BUT that they’re only giving notice of this docket to industry parties is problematic to say the least.  Let’s do it right, PUC!

Let’s hear it for California!

They’re getting the message — transmission is not needed and transmission is not wanted.  If they try to push it through on the landowners across the state, well, they’re in trouble.  And so they did a study of what’s necessary to accomplish their Renewable Energy Standard and here it is.

33% RPS Implementation Analysis – Executive Summary

Here’s a statement from p. 10 of the Executive Summary that leads me to think they’re on the right path — just the simple recognition of this point:

California IOUs are currently on a procurement path that in effect prioritizes long-term market transformation over other policy objectives.

Here’s the full report:

33% RPS Implementation Analysis — Interim Report

And here’s a Power Point that hits the highlights:

Power Point – 33% RPS Implementation Analysis

A day off…

July 24th, 2009


… but not a day off…


How can a beautiful area like this, worthy of being a National Park, be sandwiched in between coal plants?

Anyway, the water didn’t look too bad, and the doggies had a wonderful time swimming, and the van will have “eau de aqua chein” for months!


and Mississippi’s PSC says… “Ummmmm… not so fast…”

It’s Mississippi Power’s Kemper County IGCC project.  I’ve had a few interesting conversations about this project this morning, and some productive googling time.  Like WOW, can you believe what they’re trying to do?

Mississippi Power Kemper County IGCC page here

Mississippi Power had the audacity to think it could get “construction work in progress” rate recovery, and boost the rates immediately if not sooner to pull the $$$ out of ratepayer pockets to build this boondoggle.  And there’s where the Mississippi PSC comes in, saying, “Ummmmmmm, no, not so fast!” (perhaps it was “STOP — THIEF!!!!”)

For the Mississippi PSC docket on this, go here:

PSC Docket 2009-UA-14  — Mississippi Power IGCC

And there’s DOE involvement – and EIS

Notice of Intent to Prepare EIS

And of course Richard Hargis is on this one too… I’ve fired off an email to him about the status.

Mississippi Power says that they plan to build a plant with CO2 capture and sequestration!?!?!  What a farce — it’s not been done, can’t be done, and even if it could, THAT WOULD REDUCE PLANT OUTPUT BY HOW MUCH?  Give me a break.

Here’s the page they say “CO2 capture and sequestration”

Let’s see, they say $2.2 billion cost, well, that might build about 80% of the plant, add another $440 million to complete it, add another $1 billion OR MORE for capture, and that doesn’t even include CO2 sequestration, transport pipeline and pressurization stations and place to store it, AND THEN THERE’S LIABILITY COVERAGE FOR CO2 RELEASES… and that doesn’t even include the 25-40% loss of efficiency for capture, transport and repressurization and storage FOREVER…  How dare they spout this unadulterated bullshit…

Is this a Conoco Phillips project, or ???  I’ll dig around to see what I can see…  Nope, it says “KBR” and based on some plant in Wilsonville, Alabama… again, I’ll do some digging.

Southern cancels IGCC plant in Florida

Oh my, it’s not a power plant, it’s:

The Power Systems Development Facility in Wilsonville, Alabama

“America’s Advanced Coal Research Center”

Here we go, from McMillan Scott:

Kemper County IGCC Project


And here’s a great report in the Jackson Free Press (when was the last time you heard about parasitic load in any newspaper?!?!  Very well done!!!)

PSC Creates New Hurdles for Coal-Burning Plant

Mississippi Power wants the PSC to move faster to approve a new plant.

by Adam Lynch
June 11, 2009

The Mississippi Public Service Commission met last Friday to consider multiple motions submitted by Mississippi Power, the Sierra Club, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and others regarding Mississippi Power’s proposed coal-burning plant in Kemper County.

Mississippi Power filed a motion in January for the PSC to fast-forward deliberations on development of the $2.2 billion integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant maintaining that federal money for the program comes with a ticking clock. The 582-megawatt plant will be a combination of lignite coalmine, a coal burner and a gas-powered processor, which dries out the low quality coal pulled from the lignite mine. (The net output of the plant may be reduced by as much as 100 megawatts due to the parasitic power required to dry lignite coal to a usable form.)

“This plant will diversify our fuel sources and will produce energy at lower and more stable costs than any other fossil fuel option,” said Anthony Topazi, Mississippi Power president and chief executive officer in a January statement. “By creating an additional fuel alternative—Mississippi lignite—this project creates significant energy cost reductions for our customers, such that over its life, the energy savings more than offset the cost of building the plant.”

Opposition to the plant, including environmental advocates the Sierra Club and senior citizen representative AARP, claim the plant could raise rate-payers’ utility bills by up to 15 percent.

The PSC denied motions filed by competing power suppliers Magnolia Energy and Entegra Power Group, and the state attorney general motion to suspend their review of Mississippi Power’s request to build the plant, according to The Clarion-Ledger. The denials were only a portion of the whole story, however.
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