4 companies fined $1 million for ship pollution

August 9, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A whistleblower’s complaint about a cargo ship dumping waste in the ocean led Thursday to a $1 million fine levied against four companies that own and operate a fleet of vessels that regularly call on New Orleans.

The conglomerate also was banned by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier from operating in the United States for up to five years.

In April, Stanships Inc. of the Marshall Islands, Stanships Inc. of New York, Standard Shipping Inc. and Calmore Maritime Ltd., pleaded guilty to 32 felony counts of violating ship safety and pollution standards, along with obstruction of justice.

A whistleblower aboard the M/V Americana — part of the conglomerate’s fleet — told the Coast Guard last November that the ship was dumping sludge and oily waste through the use of a pipe to bypass required pollution equipment. Prosecutors said the whistleblower provided cell phone pictures of the device being used at sea.

The ship’s owners also were accused of falsifying a record book to hide the illegal discharges.

An ensuing investigation also resulted in the owners being accused of violating safety standards for trying to conceal the failure of the ship’s generators. According to prosecutors, the ship arrived at the Southwest Pass — a major entry point to the Mississippi River — after losing power for several days at sea. A manager ordered the ship’s captain to falsely tell the Coast Guard that the ship had two operating generators. The master eventually ordered tugboats to guide the ship into port.

According to court records, Stanships Inc. of the Marshall Islands, was a repeat offender, committing new violations after it was fined $700,000 for illegal discharges and falsifying records with another ship on Sept. 29.

On April 27, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan revoked the company’s probation and banned the company’s ships from further trade in the United States.

Barbier ordered $250,000 of the latest fine to go to projects benefiting fish resources.

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/4-companies-fined-1-million-apf-1974536903.html?x=0&.v=1

Groups: 2 coal operators breaking Clean Water Act - AP

June 29, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

A team of environmental groups says two coal companies that were fined in Kentucky last year for violations of the Clean Water Act continue to break the federal law.

ICG and Frasure Creek Mining exceeded the limits of pollution discharge allowed under law more than 4,000 times altogether in the first three months of 2011, the groups said. They made the allegations Tuesday in intent-to-sue letters required by the Clean Water Act.

Last year, the environmental groups took a similar action against the same two coal operators, but never filed suit because Kentucky officials and the companies reached a $660,000 settlement. The environmental groups are challenging the settlement in court, saying it’s not enough.

A spokeswoman for Arch Coal, which completed a merger with ICG in June, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday. A number for Frasure Creek, based in Scott Depot, W. Va., was disconnected.

Frasure Creek and ICG reported the violations from earlier this year to the state, according to Dick Brown, a spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. State officials are planning to issue citations based on the violations, but Brown said the fines are pending. The state recorded 937 violations for Frasure Creek, and ICG number is still being prepared, Brown said.

Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper and New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance said they filed the notices this week to force the companies to comply with federal law.

“These violations represent a toxic soup being poured into our drinking water and streams,” said Ted Withrow, a member of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and former officials with the state Division of Water.

Under the Clean Water Act, the companies have 60 days to respond to the allegations in the notice letter. Then, if the violations are not corrected, the environmental groups have the option to sue.

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43584067

Marine pollution problem for China

June 20, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

BEIJING, June 20 (UPI) — Explosive economic growth in China’s coastal regions has led to levels of ocean pollution that threaten human and marine life, a government report concluded.

The State Oceanic Administration of China says 18,000 square miles of Chinese coastal oceanic territory is seriously polluted, an increase of 7,000 square miles from last year, Inter Press Service reported Monday.

As expanding coastal centers dispose of a growing amount of industrial and domestic waste at sea, about 56,000 square miles of the country’s coastal waters failed to meet standards for “clear water” in 2009, the SOA reported.

Overall, 14 of the 18 ecological zones monitored by the SOA were found to have unhealthy levels of pollution. SOA’s 2010 China Marine Environment Bulletin reported that 86 percent of China’s estuaries, bays, wetlands, coral reefs and seaweed beds were below what the agency considers “healthy.”

Government officials acknowledge much remains to be done in tackling the problem of ocean pollution.

“Our environmental quality is only improving in certain areas, but overall the environment is still deteriorating,” Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun said.

Article source: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/06/20/Marine-pollution-problem-for-China/UPI-42411308614779/?spt=hs&or=tn

Clean Water Act suit to proceed against Seward coal facility

January 21, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

A Clean Water Act lawsuit alleging violations by the Seward Coal Loading Facility was allowed to go forward Jan. 10 by federal district Judge Timothy Burgess.

The coal facility, jointly operated by Alaska Railroad Corp. and Usibelli coal mine subsidiary Aurora Energy Services, has been a sore spot for Seward residents who say the coal dust from operations creates both a nuisance and a public health hazard.

Alaska Railroad Corp. and Aurora Energy Services were denied their bid for dismissal by Burgess.

The lawsuit, filed last January by Trustees for Alaska on behalf of the Sierra Club, Alaska Center for the Environment and Alaska Community Action on Toxins, alleges that a conveyor system delivering coal to export vessels allows coal to fall directly into Resurrection Bay along the length of the conveyor system to the loading facility, as well as from the belt after it loops back underneath itself.

Trustees for Alaska said coal dust from the stockpiles, railcar dumping facility, stacker/reclaimer, ship loader and the conveyor systems fall into Resurrection Bay. There are also concerns over Aurora Energy plowing snow that is allegedly contaminated with coal dust, as well as storm water that flows directly into Resurrection Bay.

The coal dust also blows off the facility’s two massive coal stockpiles into the bay, covering nearby fishing charter boats, other vessels and nearby neighborhoods with dust and debris.

“We are pleased that the Court will allow the case to move forward and address the pollution problems at the coal facility in Seward,” said Trustees for Alaska attorney Brian Litmans in a statement. “The facility is unable to contain the coal dust and keep coal from going into Resurrection Bay, which violates the law and is an ongoing nuisance and health issue.”

The statement from the consortium of plaintiffs also stated Seward was covered with coal dust both on Dec. 10 and Dec. 22.

Last July, the railroad and Aurora reached a joint compliance order with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to pay a $220,000 fine, with most of that money going toward the cost of dust mitigation measures.

Three supplemental environmental projects ordered by DEC were completed on schedule in 2010 and include the installation of additional dust suppression equipment including spray bards, high-pressure spray nozzles and a sealed chute and fogging system on the stacker/reclaimer.

According to Alaska Railroad Corp. vice president for corporate affairs Wendy Lindskoog, another $540,000 in capital expenditures are planned for 2011 regarding dust suppression projects.

Lindskoog said it is company policy to not comment on ongoing litigation.

The Seward coal loading facility, which is located on land owned by the Alaska Railroad, was originally built in 1984 as an economic development project to sell coal to world markets.

Suneel Alaska Corp., the purchaser of the coal for the Korean domestic market, negotiated with the state for construction of the coal dock and a loan from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities built the dock and Suneel installed the conveyor and loading systems.

Railroad officials said their participation was limited to leasing waterfront property for the facility and transporting the coal from Healy to Seward under a contract with Suneel.

Suneel and its successor, Hyundai Merchant Marine, continued to purchase coal and operate the facility through the 1990s and into the early 2000s, with AIDEA becoming a co-owner of the facility in 1995.

Hyundai remained the lessee on the property and operated the facility until January 2007, when the railroad entered into an operating agreement with Aurora Energy Services.

Since then, railroad officials said, the Alaska Railroad and Aurora Energy Services have spent more than $1 million on safety, operational and environmental improvements, including significant environmental upgrades to deal with coal dust.

Andrew Jensen can be reached at andrew.jensen@alaskajournal.com.

Article source: http://www.alaskajournal.com/stories/012111/oil_cwasp.shtml

Lipinski Helps Lead Bipartisan Effort to Protect the Great Lakes

January 21, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

The following information was released by the office of Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski:

In a bipartisan effort to protect Lake Michigan, Congressman Dan Lipinski and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk were joined today by Sen. Dick Durbin and Congressman Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) to announce they will introduce legislation that will increase fines for dumping sewage into the Great Lakes. Congressman Lipinski has worked with Sen. Kirk on similar legislation over the last two Congresses.

“After working on this legislation over the past two Congresses, I believe we’ve assembled a strong, bipartisan core of support that will enable us to see it signed into law,” Lipinski said at a press conference at the Shedd Aquarium. “The Great Lakes are our region’s most precious natural resource, providing drinking water for 30 million people, unmatched recreational opportunities, and a livelihood for many. Yet each year brings news of more beach closings and swimming bans. We can’t allow the dumping of billions of gallons of raw sewage into the same waters that we use for drinking, swimming, boating and fishing. We need to deter polluters while investing in projects that improve water quality, and this bill accomplishes that.”

The Great Lakes Water Protection Act would more than double fines for sewage dumping to $100,000 a day per violation and make it harder for offenders to avoid fines. Money collected from fines would flow to a Great Lakes Clean-Up Fund created by the legislation to generate financial resources for the Great Lakes states to improve wastewater treatment options, habitat protection, and wastewater treatment systems.

“By joining forces on this important piece of legislation, we believe we can keep our Great Lakes-the crown jewel of the Midwest - clean and safe,” Sen. Kirk said. “Not only does Lake Michigan provide millions of us with our drinking water, it is a vital economic engine to the entire region.”

“Our duty to future generations of Illinoisans is to protect the environment in which we live,” Rep. Dold said. “There is much we can do right here at home by protecting Lake Michigan and its ecosystem. I’m proud to join with Congressman Lipinski and Senators Kirk and Durbin to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure our Great Lakes remain the crown jewel of the Midwest.”

Great Lakes beaches had over 3,000 days worth of closings and advisories last year, and Illinois beaches had warnings or closings 10 percent of the time. Chicago has taken many steps to limit sewer overflow, including such projects as the Deep Tunnel. Other cities dump directly into the Great Lakes. Detroit traditionally has been one of the worst offenders, dumping an estimated 13 billion gallons of sewage into the Great Lakes annually, figures show.

“On Monday, I invited Rep. Dold to cross the aisle and sit with me during the State of the Union next week, and he readily agreed,” Congressman Lipinski said. “That same spirit of unity and bipartisanship is what brought us all together to work on this bill. The American people want to see partisan bickering replaced with productive debate and problem-solving. Democrats and Republicans will always have their differences, but we must find ways to work together for the good of the country. This bill shows that bipartisan cooperation on substantive issues is very much possible.”

(January 21, 2011)

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Article source: http://www.waterworld.com/index/display/news_display/1344233772.html

Devices to monitor lake water quality

January 21, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

BANGALORE: In its efforts to check the deteriorating quality of water in the lakes across the city due to indiscriminate dumping of waste and discharge of sewerage into the catchment areas, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is exploring the possibility of installing programmed devices to monitor the water quality in the lakes round the clock.

At present, the KSPCB is testing the accuracy of the devices offered by a private agency in Ulsoor lake, Sankey Tank and Bellandur Lake. According to the sources the cost of each device is expected to vary from `515 lakh according to the parameters that the device is expected to monitor. At present, the devices installed are monitoring the temperature, pH value, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids and turbidity. According to the readings obtained from these devices the water quality is acceptable in Ulsoor Lake and Sankey Tank and bad in Bellandur lake.

The KSPCB Member Secretary M S Gouder said, “We are also thinking of testing these devices for more parameters like E.coli [bacteria] and heavy metals. After the accuracy of these devices are proved, we will consider them in the lakes and coordinate with the other governmental agencies to maintain them in good condition as these devices will help us understand if anything is going wrong.”

According to Gouder these devices will be useful in monitoring the water quality automatically round the clock in the newly rejuvenated lakes as most of them are situated in the outskirts or the newlyadded areas of the city. They are also expected to help the concerned authorities to prevent the flow of sewerage or dumping of waste into the lakes by alerting them when the quality of water starts deteriorating.

Programmed sensors are inserted into the lakes and each sensor monitors a particular parameter and transmits the data to the centralised server every fifteen minutes. The data is later processed and updated on the website and transmitted to the concerned officials periodically.

Article source: http://expressbuzz.com/cities/bangalore/devices-to-monitor-lake-water-quality/241452.html

Brew City Flood: Sewage Dumping Surpasses BP Oil Spill

July 29, 2010 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

By Michael George

MILWAUKEE - Just when you thought it was safe to back in the water comes word that more than 2 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm water was dumped into Lake Michigan.

Many beachgoers at Bradford Beach said they wouldn’t ever go back in the lake again.

In fact, the amount of sewage and storm water dumped in Lake Michigan last week is 10 times the amount of oil spilled by BP in the Gulf Coast.

The BP spill is estimated at 94 to 184 million gallons of oil.

The sewage and storm water runoff is estimated at 2.1 billion gallons.

Many beaches were closed for several days over concerns of E. coli contamination. Now, some beaches are reopening, and sure enough, we found people back at Bender Beach, jumping into the water

Many were fully aware of the sewage dumping, and said it didn’t bother them.

“The water’s fantastic and I’m not worried about it whatsoever,” said Colleen McCann.

McCann said if tests show the water is safe, she doesn’t feel like she’s in danger. She doesn’t mind that other swimmers are staying away.

“Good, it makes it better for the rest of us to come swimming,” McCann said.

The lake at Bradford Beach remains closed to the public, though people are allowed to sit on the beach.

source: http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/99503854.html

G.E. Begins to Dredge Hudson for PCBs

June 4, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Protecting Habitats, Water Quality

After long battle, E.P.A. and G.E. begin a cleanup of PCB hot spots on the Hudson River. Hot spots of PCBS are mapped by GPS, and a dredge barge scoops up chunks of river mud putting it into a hopper barge, to be sent on to nearby processing facility and then, eventually, transported 2,000 mile on a train ride to a Texas hazardous waste dump.

By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: May 15, 2009

The Dredging of the HudsonMOREAU, N.Y. — Twenty-five years after the federal government declared a long stretch of the Hudson River to be a contaminated Superfund site, the cleanup of its chief remaining source of pollution began here Friday with a single scoop of mud extracted by a computer-guided dredge.  

Twelve dredges are to work round the clock, six days a week, into October, removing sediment laced with the chemicals known as PCBs. Mile-long freight trains running every several days will carry the dried mud to a hazardous-waste landfill in Texas. 

An estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, flowed into the upper Hudson from two General Electric factories for three decades before they were banned, in 1977, as a health threat to people and wildlife. In high doses, they have been shown to cause cancer in animals and are listed by federal agencies as a probable human carcinogen.

“Today, the healing of the Hudson begins,” George Pavlou, the Environmental Protection Agency’s acting regional administrator, said under bright skies in a riverbank ceremony here as federal, state and local officials, G.E. representatives and environmental campaigners looked on.

Those gathered scrambled from a white tent to get a good view as a blue clamshell bucket rose slowly from the riverbed holding the first five cubic yards of mud. A lone duck paddled downriver along the far bank.

The dredging operation is the first phase of an operation that, if it continues as projected through 2015, could largely eliminate the Hudson’s last significant toxic legacy from an era of unfettered industrial activity and dumping.

While the Superfund site itself is 197 miles long, stretching from Hudson Falls, N.Y., to the southern tip of Manhattan, the initial phase involves spots along a six-mile segment south of Fort Edward, the hamlet across the river from this industrial site.

G.E. is supervising and paying for the cleanup, which federal officials have estimated could cost more than $750 million. Industry experts say the ultimate cost could be many times than that, however. (G.E. declines to give an estimate.)

While most of the chemicals were dumped when such practices were legal, the Superfund law requires the responsible polluting party, when one can be pinpointed, to foot the cleanup bill.

Yet G.E has reserved the right, after a review of the operation in 2010, to reject the project’s much larger second phase. Federal environmental officials have said that if it did that, they would most likely order the cleanup to proceed and levy enormous penalties against the company.

The first phase is projected to remove 22 tons of PCBs from the riverbed; the second phase would remove 102 tons, the E.P.A. said.Even as it embarks on the cleanup, G.E. has a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Superfund law working its way through federal court. (The company is a responsible party in 52 active Superfund sites across the country, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.)

Please read the rest at the NY Times website.
Source: NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/16/science/earth/16dredge.html