Monday, January 05, 2009

Drink Me

Hilzoy has an excellent, but disturbing and outrageous, follow-up post on that Valdez on the Tennessee spill...
[from the NYT]: Though the E.P.A., the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the authority have spoken daily about their efforts to monitor air, soil and water quality, complete results have been released for only two samples, both taken from a drinking water intake site that is upstream of the spill. The water there met drinking standards.

Heckuva job. Those samples from UPSTREAM should make good "before spill" comparisons to the water supply actually affected by 2.2 million pounds of toxic materials.

Independent testing done by environmental groups and a university are looking a little more bleak:
According to the tests, arsenic levels from the Kingston power plant intake canal tested at close to 300 times the allowable amounts in drinking water, while a sample from two miles downstream still revealed arsenic at approximately 30 times the allowed limits. Lead was present at between twice to 21 times the legal drinking water limits, and thallium levels tested at three to four times the allowable amounts.

Granted, that's straight from the river and untreated, but how many people in rural Tennessee get their water from wells? They're fucked. And for everyone else, I'm not sure even a municipal water treatment facility can cope with contamination at those levels.

And of course acres of this shit is still laying around leaching into the soil, washing into the rivers with every rainfall, and soon will begin to dry up and blow around in the air.

Can we stop hearing about "clean coal" now please? At least the waste from a nuclear plant fits in a barrel and is regulated.

UPDATE: Per the photographer's request, I've removed the pictures. They are incredible pictures—Antrim Caskey has captured some hauntingly beautiful images of the utter destruction wreaked on this area. There is a slideshow at the end of this article.

5 comments:

steves said...

Granted, that's straight from the river and untreated, but how many people in rural Tennessee get their water from wells?

I grew up in rural Michigan (granted, I don't know squat about Tenn), but who gets their water straight from the river? I can remember my grandparents getting lake water, but they had a hand-pumped well for drinking water.

Needless to say, I find it hard to believe that the water there is potable.

Mr Furious said...

In that area the water supply IS THE RIVER. The water being tested out of the river in that story is untreated. It would normally go from there into a water treatment facility before being put into circulation for households, so those elevated readings aren't indicative of the water supply people actually drink, but it does apply to the water source.

That assumes, of course that Bumblefuck Tennessee's Municipal Water Co. is equipped to properly treat and filter water with 300 times the allowable limits of lead and arsenic...

And that's only for people who get municipal water. If you have a well, you are going to be drinking that contaminated water—untreated—in one form or another once it enters the water table. It gets filtered somewhat naturally in the underground aquifers, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to drink well water from that area. Ever.

DED said...

Those pictures are absolutely brutal.

antrim caskey said...

mr furious,

you are using my photographs without permission. You've added text to the photograph. This is totally unacceptable. Please take down my photographs.

Mr Furious said...

My apologies. I've seen the photographs in several venues, I did not reproduce them for any reason other than help raise awareness to this awful tragedy. I thought they were amazing pictures that best demonstrated the destruction, yet were beautiful at the same time. You do amazing work behind the camera, and kudos to you for you efforts on behalf of the environment.

I thought using photos that were displayed on other sites and my giving you credit, a link and a compliment was okay...

I've removed them as you requested.