Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Monday, May 10, 2010

Transfer of Bacteria-Contaminated Particles in a Karst Aquifer: Evolution of Contaminated Materials from a Sinkhole to a Spring

Proceedings of 9th Multidisciplinary Conference, 2003, on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst

The transport of particle-associated bacteria during rain events in karst waters has been investigated.

In this aim, we studied the correlations between water turbidity and enumerations of sessile and planktonic bacteria. We monitored physico-chemical, i.e., turbidity, conductivity, size and nature of the transported particles, and bacteriological properties of waters since their infiltration on a karst plateau to their discharge at a karstic spring.

Results show a decrease of the concentration of sessile bacteria at the sinkhole for high turbidities. This phenomenon might be explained by the arrival of lower contaminated material.

On the other hand, the amount of sessile bacteria is not modified at the spring whatever the turbidity values.

These data highlight that slightly contaminated larger particles are not recovered, whereas small-size particles which exhibited a higher bacterial contamination are directly transferred (i.e., not affected by intra-karstic deposition) through the aquifer.

Our study confirms the storage/resuspension function of karst aquifers that was previously advanced by Massei et al. Moreover, we show a decrease of the concentration of planktonic bacteria after transport through the system whereas no reduction of the sessile population occurred.

The present data confirm that a high turbidity obviously reflects a bad sanitary quality of water but also demonstrate that low turbidity values do not systematically exclude a risk of contamination by sessile organisms.

These results and the present data point out the role of biofilms as potential environmental sources for water-borne infections and confirm that karst terrain, by its nature, is highly vulnerable to bacterial contamination.

Turbidity---Turbidity is a measure of the degree to which the water looses its transparency due to the presence of suspended particulates. Murky is high turbidity.

Sessile---Bacteria anchored or fixed to a surface.

Planktonic---Bacteria that are suspended or growing in a fluid environment as opposed to those attached to a surface (sessile)

Biofilms---slimy films of bacteria, other microbes and organic materials that cover underwater surfaces and act as a medium for pathogens to grow. These are sometimes called scums when they appear on surface water.

So what this means in layman's terms is just because the water is clear that does not mean it's "clean." Heavy rainfall is going to add to the process of contamination when the sinkholes they say will not happen, do happen.

Our underground terrain is very sensitive to any fluctuations by its sheer nature, and an assault from this quarry this bodes no good for our water quality.

A call to the EPA in Atlanta revealed that Spring Creek, one of the quarry discharge sites has never been tested. Since the creek is inflow and outflow wouldn't it be helpful to know what's there now? I suppose not if you don't want the public to know you are going to be discharging into something that may already be at risk. The converse is also true; they will be pulling that water towards them as they excavate and the COD widens. If the water in Spring Creek is already compromised they will pull it through the entire aquifer.
(Fowler tells us; "Vincent's water won't be affected and Spring Creek probably won't be at risk until later, if it is ever affected." If that's true why are they discussing alternate water supplies? Ms. Goddard has in her latest recommendations to the VPC that "Vincent will have to pay for a water treatment facility to be built." That is big money and big money every year to maintain it. She ought to know; SC sued Calera over this very issue not to long ago, when the had to start getting their drinking water from the quarries.)

The situation becomes even worse if you look at the water testing for this area. Since 2006 is the last year ADEM has on record we will use that one:
National average: 420
Wilton Water Works (Vincent): 69
15% of the national average...that's comforting isn't it?

If they are charged with any testing of the water.....

Harpersville's testing for that year was even worse, (63 tests) even though the results showed the presence of Alpha Particles which are a result of radioactive mining wastes in their drinking water. We all know where that comes from, BARD member Alabama Power.

WRQ is going to use septic tanks at the site. Indeed, there are already a great number of septic tanks adjacent to the property. If one of those were to rupture from subsidence, sinkholes and/or blasting, which would be difficult to ascertain because they are below ground, the contents would be quickly absorbed in the aquifer.

Another presentation at this conference states monitoring does not always pick up the smaller bacteria levels present in the water.

The community has no choice but to rely on WRQ to do proper monitoring and reporting. As deceptive as they have been to date, there is no precedent for them to be truthful about contamination occurring to our groundwater.

Shelby County has a failure of federal proportions (34 page Fed. audit link to right) which has already been discussed, and the lack of testing is outlined in the NY Times "Toxic waters" report linked to on the right. (Vincent is under the Wilton Water System in the report, not Vincent Water System which is also listed).

ADEMs failures are also historic and chronic
and have also been discussed on this blog. The NY Times report requested, but was denied by ADEM, for more recent test results after 2006 which is noted on the individual water systems reports.

We suspect nothing has changed and increased water testing and remedies were not applied even after most systems knew they had problems with contaminants over the health limit, but under the legal limit.

There is the rub: under the legal limit. Do as little as possible if involves the public health. Public health is not a profit center.

We don't fix anything that we don't have to by law, doesn't matter that it is a health risk, the legal determining levels say otherwise.

Expect the same lax attitude with the quarry.

What chemicals will be in the explosives? Isn't it impossible to state that fuel oil, lubricating oils and other associated chemicals will not reach the groundwater? WRQ has not said what other chemicals are associated with quarrying, as usual they say nothing negative. Unless it something that calls them into question on something or someone who disagrees with them.

They think no one is really paying attention and informing themselves of real issues since it is so "late in the game".

We assure you gentleman, using that term generously, someone is paying attention.

Will Mr. Wood and Mr. Fowler will acknowledge these geologists concerns and scientific investigations that have proven the sensitivity of Karst aquifers? How about Ms. Goddard who is busily planning "wildflowers" in place of the 2 berms that would have protected the River Loop people to some extent?

Perhaps they need a little help by being hit in the face with it.

***Tomorrow: The Lord is willin' but he doesn't have anything to do with why the creek won't rise....

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