Sep 25 2007
08:01 am
By: WhitesCreek

The Bush Administration has proposed environmental disaster in the form of mining law changes that would destroy much of the hills and streams of East Tennessee. The last time they tried this, the public comments were vast and vehemently opposed. Now they plan to cut the public out of the process.

It's not about you, America.

It's about our business partners, and the public welfare be damned!

Roane County has long borne the brunt of environmental stupidity and even disasters simply because we lie downtsream of a lot of things.

Our most famous accomplishment, contributing to the atomic age, is also the cause of our most famous environmental disaster, the rupture of the dam on the White Oak Creek containment pond in 1955.

This is why smart people don't eat fish from Watts Bar Lake, and why everybody from Chattanooga to Paducah, Memphis, and new Orleans better hope the Army Corps keeps a close watch on Watts Bar Dam. If that baby ever goes, a staggering amount of mercury and radioactive material will be on the move. For now it actually lives safely, for the most part, at the bottom of our lake.

So things that happen upstream of us are pretty important in our quality of life, and I think the biggest outrage of the moment is the Bush Administration's proposed changes to the "Streamside Buffer Zone Regulations."

This would be an action that would devastate the hills and streams of East Tennessee.

I've added a link to SOCM just to get us started. There'll be more.

What are some details of the proposal...

that would affect Roane County and how would they affect us? I don't know and need information.


Thanks for the info

the rupture of the dam on the White Oak Creek containment pond in 1955.

I've often heard how our lake here is contaminated. Some blame recreational boating, others have said some municipality is pumping sewage in to the lake, and others say we have three-eyed fish because of Oak Ridge.

I've also heard of a rare birth defect (undeveloped brain in the womb, but I've forgotten the formal name) which causes the infant to die shortly after birth. Warning among some ladies I know is don't swim in the lake if you're pregnant. This defect I have heard has the highest incidence in our neck of the woods and Brownsville, Tx. (I think that's the name of the other town).

So the 1955 incident you mention is very interesting to me. I never really got any factual information as to what has caused our lake to be so dirty. Obviously been asleep at the wheel here, but can you tell us more?


There's not much risk from swimming

There's not much risk from swimming in Watts Bar Lake. Frankly, I say you are more likely to be run over by a jet ski than suffer ill effects from the radiation. Here's a study you can worry through.

The radionucleides that washed into the lake are pretty well situated deep in the mud, as core samples show, and human contact is unlikely. So even though there is a whompus amount of zoomies in the lake, that is a pretty good place for it to be.

I would worry more about the mercury and PCB's that came with the radiation. PCB's are persistent, being carried out of the mud by insect larvae which become fish food and so on up the food chain. This is also easily avoided by not eating fish from the lake, but it's a shame.

There is another worisome factor and that is the case of the missing radiation. Core samples failed to locate enough bad stuff so some of it is no longer in the lake. I suspect dredging operations in the channels relocated it. Where to, is anybody's guess.



Why we should Care !

The Watts Bar boat dock operators have already successfully sued the Oak Ridge Operation (might have been Carbide then) for their financial loss, once, due to the mismanaged of their run-off. If I remember correcty it was for $3M. Bill Vines was their legal-beagle.
> > >
> > > There is a bunch more stuff ready to leak our way.
> > >
> > > Corvus

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