Monday, April 18, 2011

Make it Right

[StBernard] One Year Later: St. Bernard Parish Refuses to Bend to BP Oil

We learned in Katrina to take a pro-active approach to disaster response,” Taffaro said. “Our fishermen, our business owners, our residents, and our public officials acted swiftly in our fight to protect our coast and the unique Gulf seafood industry. Admittedly we have a long way to go, and we will not rest until we have ensured that BP and all responsible parties, ‘Make it right.’”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

45 days until Hurricane Season

April 16 2011

45 days until Hurricane Season


April and May typical rain events have rainfall upwards to 10 and 12 inches.  Oil refineries are usually required to segregate oily waste water treatment from storm water basins.  Additionally, the storm water basins generally require a spill control and prevention plan which include berms.

As recently as December 2009, a parish councilman reported receiving an email which indicated Murphy Oil was in the process of writing procedures for high water events; procedures one would expect already existed.

Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery solid waste permit  for the secondary storm basins   is now under administrative review .

The community expects improvements  for storm water capacity; improvements which prohibit use of neighborhood canals as an emergency discharge.  The same improvements are expected by the community for the water discharge permit, also under review  along with April 11 2011 revised application.

The state's recent settlement with Murphy Oil for alleged water violations did not require any improvements.  The EPA's  recent consent decree requires Murphy Oil improve its storm water management during rain events, but is vague as to how this will be achieved.       . 

 Problems arise even before Hurricane Katrina, when 5.40 million gallons  of waste water and storm water were discharged into the neighborhood during a waste water treatment plant bypass in July 2005.  The Louisiana DEQ's public service announcement reminds residents that just one gallon of motor oil  from the oil  change of a vehicle will pollute a million gallons of water.  How much water in the estuary of the central wetlands is contaminated?

June 2009 rain event shown in video around the 4:14 mark

.Today's weather forecast:  Cloudy, with a chance of oil

Monday, April 11, 2011

Enough is Enough

Mallard Duck Ballad


There is a systemic problem with those who are supposed to protect our environment.  Whether or not the source is an oil refinery or a construction site, the state inspector states there is no problem and that the agency doesnot handle parish drainage issues.  The residents are not included in the decision making process and in the meanwhile, the water is polluted.

We want all our neighborhood canals protected, including both the Jacob Drive canal and the Bluebird canal.
.  .June 2009 rain event in Southeast Louisiana causes refinery to flood. (around 4:14 mark) "no problem areas were found with the facility. No further action"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fair and meaningful before decisions are made

Environmental Justice is "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people ..... with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." 

"EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.""

In the opinion of St. Bernard Parish residents, the Louisiana DEQ and the United States Army Corps of Engineers denied citizens equal access to the decision making process, denied public notice in the local parish official journal, denied the opportunity for public comment, and failed to uphold their constitutional duties as trustee of OUR environment.  Residents were denied their right to fair and meaningful public participation, BEFORE the decisions were made.

The Louisiana DEQ has issued water quality certificates and  water discharge permits at an increasing rate, but at what cost?

All residents ever asked of the state DEQ was to protect our water shed from the visible cement chemicals and sand sediment  and require the construction company make improvements to its storm water pollution prevention plans.  We also asked, where are their permits. Unfortunately, the state inspector commented it was not cement, but grout, and that the state does not get involved in parish issues. We did not receive notice of the quickly issued permits.  Residents contacted the EPA but have yet to receive a reply..

Saturday, April 9, 2011

non source point

“they need to follow the rules just like everyone else"

above, excavated pit photograph from April 11 2011, with possible lack of saftey embankment for workers

duckling protection

Wildlife habitat in designated wetlands area, home to a widowed mother duck and her orphaned ducklings.

The least that could be done is to respect these original inhabitants of the restricted-access designated wetlands area of the construction site.  April 8 2011 photos by Hippics

Illegal wetlands destruction photo folder

Project Site Photo folder shows the pink-flagged area, marked by the US Army COE as restricted-access designated wetlands. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

illegal water discharge permit

April 8 2011 another incident day, witnessed by adjacent property owners:  sand sediment discharge from the construction site drainage pipe into the Bluebird canal....updated photos coming the N.O.W. website.

Photos from previous incidents.

Not exactly content with the quality of Environmental Protection from the state agency, residents resorted to contacting the local sheriff office and report " my surprise I almost got arrested."  This same United States citizen was rudely assaulted, literally, with mud slinging and other harassing and intimidating behavior by the worker who represented himself as the supervisor or construction foreman.   

Additionally, residents report an updated followup determination that the construction company does not have a permit to siphon water out of the Bluebird canal, a neighborhood rain drainage canal, as that is not permitted activity.  The construction company was seen pumping water from the neighborhood canal either onto the site and / or into the drainage pipe, causing polluted water, sand sediment, etc. to discharge back into the Bluebird canal, in violation of the clean water act.

All residents ever asked of the state DEQ was to protect our water shed from the visible cement chemicals and sand sediment and require the construction company make improvements to its storm water pollution prevention plans.  Unfortunately, the state inspector commented it was not cement, but grout, and that the state does not get involved in parish issues.  Residents contacted the EPA but have yet to receive a reply.

Perhaps the Louisiana DEQ could use some of the recently EPA granted two million dollars to perform their constitutional duties as our trustee of our environment. In the press release,  the funds are to be used to "enable Louisiana to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act by implementing the Nonpoint Source Management Plan....The source of the pollution may come from lawn fertilizers, improperly managed construction sites, or oil and grease from highways."   There have been several incidents of improperly managed constructions sites as our community rebuilds from the man-made disaster of the levee failures and the largest land-based crude oil spill on the planet. Yet, Bluebird canal is not being protected and another local neighborhood, the 20 arpent, is still permitted as the emergency discharge route for an oil refinery.

Come on.  It's Our Louisiana, Our Environment.

Even a third grader can see the simple solutions.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

salinity levels

Residents and scientists report salinity levels and tides have changed since the rock barrier placement in the MR-GO, and some believe full closure will not require the existing freshwater flowrate at the Violet canal siphon.  Oyster farmers fear additional fresh water will kill off restoration efforts on reefs that have suffered effects of past hurricanes and the massive BP oil spill last year.

To Fix Damage From Old Canals, Corps Plans New One  


MERAUX, La. April 6, 2011

"On a wedge of land where criss-crossing canals have killed off native plants and sped erosion, the Army Corps of Engineers has a controversial proposal for undoing environmental damage: They want to dig another canal."

The Corps held several public meetings, even before the BP oil spill.  If dug, the "new canal would also come with levees on either side to guide the water out toward the MRGO and Lake Borgne. Without that, the surge of water would threaten to put Paris Road under water during high flows." 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

US EPA to raise radiation limits

Fukushima, you see, is doing to the Pacific Ocean what BP and the Deepwater Horizon did to the Gulf of Mexico last summer. Except that in the case of Fukushima, that radiation doesn't just disappear with the help of millions of gallons of toxic chemicals. Nope, that radiation sticks around for decades.

So what to do? If you're the United States Environment Protection Agency, there's only one option: Declare radiation to be safe!

Yes indeed, friends, we have reached a moment of comedic insanity at the EPA, where those in charge of protecting the environment are hastily rewriting the definition of "radioactive contamination" in order to make sure that whatever fallout reaches the United States falls under the new limits of "safe" radiation.

Before its news EPA_to_raise_limits_for_radiation_exposure_while_Canada_turns_off_fallout_detectors

Sunday, April 3, 2011

storm water concerns

Concerns for storm water runoff pollution.

March 11, 2011 - St. Bernard Parish NOW post Provident Realty Advisors and Aberdeen Court apartment construction workers dump cement and trash into our wetlands!

The photos in the March 11, 2011 folder were taken in the northern portion of our wetlands designated and marked off by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Construction workers dump cement and wash cement-filled buckets in the access-restricted, designated wetlands area of the Parc Place construction site in Chalmette, LA.

The buckets were used to carry the cement from the cement-mixer truck to the fence posts. The area used to dump the cement and wash the buckets is a designated area of wetlands which the developer was restricted from using. It is in this wetlands area that the cement was dumped.
The same Parc Place site needs improvements to its storm water runoff and pollution prevention practices, as a recent rain event discharged cement chemicals and large amounts of sand sediment into the municipal storm drains and municipal storm drainage canal, Bluebird canal (photos above).

An after the fact LDEQ permit was issued in late March for Parc Place, but not the adjacent Riverview site.

The public notice was not published in the municipality’s Official Journal, “The St. Bernard Voice Newspaper”. Residents have not been able to locate an Environmental Assessment Survey. From the LDEQ EDMS “The AI is 175060. According to the applicant the project is under 5 acres..." However, it is uncertain if anyone independently verified the acreage or considered the total acreage of both developments, Parc Place and Riverview, along with the 2007 Master Plan for the entire track of land. The land is located in Chalmette, just west of Jean Lafitte Parkway and between St. Bernard Hwy and West Judge Perez Drive. The master plan for the development of the site includes a water retention pond, rural hospital, and even a YMCA.   Development Master Plan 2007


after the fact, notificiation, page 3 ...."No materials to be discharged to waters"

Blog Archive