A large fire and explosion at a Baltimore wastewater treatment plant sparks new concerns from watchdog and environmental groups who had already blown the whistle on ongoing violations at the plant.
The flames broke out at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant (BRWWTP) just before noon on Wednesday. Baltimore County firefighters arrived to find multiple fires inside a large industrial building used by a Baltimore City contractor called Synagro. Synagro converts waste into pellets for agricultural use as fertilizer, according to the county fire department.
I'm not so sure I want to eat food grown on Baltimore sewage. It's probably OK, but . . .
Seven people were working in the building when the fire occurred. Some left immediately on their own; firefighters helped the rest out and evacuated the building.
The building contained 12,000 gallons of thermal oil, which is used in Synagro’s manufacturing process. Most of it was contained in tanks. Firefighters allowed some of the oil to burn off before extinguishing the rest. Foam was used to put the last of the fire out.
Thermal oil is not considered hazardous and all the oil was contained to the building. The Maryland Department of the Environment found no environmental or public health impact from the fire and explosion.
The water treatment plant’s operations weren’t interrupted by the explosion. The plant is on a 466-acre site on the west shore of the Back River, which flows into the Bay. It is owned and operated by Baltimore City and serves an estimated 1.3 million residents in a 140-square-mile area of Baltimore City and County.
Built back in 1911, the BRWWTP has been plagued with pollution and maintenance violations. A year ago, state regulators took control of the plant from the city after a 48-hour ultimatum. Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles ordered plant operators stop discharging inadequately treated wastewater immediately and bring the facility into compliance, but they didn’t meet the deadline.
One week earlier, a Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) inspection found treatment equipment throughout the plant broken down or in poor condition, with only two out of 11 settling tanks functioning properly.
Waterway advocates Blue Water Baltimore and the Chesapeake Legal Alliance say the recent explosion points to another lack of proper oversight to keep the plant (and its 300 workers) safe.
In a statement, the two groups say the handling and processing of solid waste at Synagro has been noted as a potential safety hazard by MDE before. They point out that the state’s “comprehensive report in June 2022 noted that problems at the Back River WWTP caused a slowdown of solids handling due to Synagro’s concerns about its ability to process it safely within the guidelines of its fire suppression system.”
So I see MDDNR is doing about as good a job at running Back River sewage plant as Baltimore did.
For the first time in 26 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has
issued new guidelines for drinking water safety. Municipal utilities will be
required to install expensive filtration systems to lower the amount of PFAS
in water supplies.
PFAS and PFOS are a class of 14,000 chemicals
that contaminate the drinking water of more than 200 million Americans. The
chemicals are used in a wide variety of products, from non-stick pans and
stain-resistant treatments for clothing and furniture to semiconductor
coatings and firefighting foam.
Iyala Simba, city programs director
at the Illinois Environmental Council, says PFAS are miniscule chemical
compounds that are impossible to see and impossible to avoid.
wrappers and pizza boxes contain PFAS to make them grease-proof,” she told The
The Illinois Environmental Council successfully
lobbied for the gradual phase out of firefighting foam, which contains heavy
concentrations of PFAS. The chemical compounds are known as “forever
chemicals” because they never break down. PFAS are linked to cancer, kidney
disease, liver problems and birth defects.
Note the weasel word "linked to" not caused by. The actual evidence that PFAs
are harmful to people in the concentrations found in water systems is, shall
we say, sketchy.
“This is an issue that we are going to be dealing with for decades, if not
hundreds of years because of how these chemicals are set up. They are not
meant to break down,” Simba said.
In 2021, Illinois received
millions of federal dollars to mitigate PFAS contamination. The new EPA
drinking water guidelines are expected to cost Illinois municipalities
billions of dollars.
“This is something that a lot of water
treatment plants are really afraid of because they can’t begin to cover the
costs,” Simba said.
Municipalities are expected to initiate
lawsuits against PFAS producers, including the U.S. military, which uses
firefighting foam at airports and training facilities, and chemical companies
DuPont, Chemours and 3M, which use PFAS in hundreds of applications from
non-stick cookware and rain gear to construction materials and packaging.
guidelines for forever chemicals in drinking water were 70 parts per trillion.
The EPA set 4 parts per trillion as the new guideline. Scientists say that
4ppt is a huge improvement, but they emphasize that no traceable level of
forever chemicals in drinking water is “safe.”
Our local water system was forced to test for PFAS this last year. As we
expected, we showed no detectable concentrations. Our water is from fairly
deep wells, and the water is isolated from the surface for many thousands of
years, so any contamination would have to come from the system itself. Water
systems that rely on surface water, streams, rivers and lakes, as Washington
DC and Baltimore do, are far more likely to see PFAS contamination. We were
gratified with the outcome, but we will still have to test the water
periodically to make sure no contamination has occurred. It's not our biggest
expense, but it's a new one.
Battered by years of criticism from U.S. lawmakers and environmental
advocates, the Department of Defense will stop purchasing PFAS-containing
firefighting foam later this year and phase it out entirely in 2024.
replacement for Aqueous Film Forming Foam has yet to be determined, and
advocates are frustrated it’s taken so long to halt the use of a product
containing a “forever chemical” that at high levels of exposure may lead to
increased risks for cancer, among other effects. The pace of cleanup at
potentially contaminated military installations and nearby communities also
has come under scrutiny by Congress.
Defense Department began searching for a fire suppressant that was more
effective than water after a horrific fire aboard the USS Forrestal in 1967
killed 134 sailors and injured 161.
It sure looks like Maryland and DC were hot spots for military use of firefighting foam containing PFAS.
Climate bills in the Oregon legislature are being criticized for potential devastation of rural communities and could possibly fuel further inflation.
One of the bills titled House Bill 3158, the "Clean Diesel Engine Tax" would add new taxes to off-road machinery, such as that used in farming and logging.
The Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) came out against this bill, pointing out that it would tax virtually every piece of equipment that's used in agriculture, plus the fuel and tires that are also necessary for its use.
The OFB added that this bill would put the burden on rural businesses with the cost of retrofitting trucks in the state's largest metropolitan area. Revenues from this tax would be transferred to the "Clean Diesel Engine Fund."
"Rural communities are not responsible for Portland's air quality, but HB 3158 puts that responsibility squarely, and inappropriately, on the backs of our members," the Farm Bureau stated in written testimony.
Another climate bill being criticized is SB 803 which would expand Portland's petroleum-based diesel phase-out to the rest of Oregon.
Opponents of these bills don't want to copy Portland, and say the cost of fuel would rise and wind up hurting lower-income Oregonians and rural communities, according to the Epoch Times.
Clear and cold, just over freezing, blowing like mad from the NW, and a pretty high tide made for a tough walk (except for Skye, there's no weather here that bothers her. But, in addition to a solitary small tooth, Georgia found something that must be rarer than a Megalodon tooth:
Turlington's Balsam of Life was a patent medicine developed by English merchant Robert Turlington.
He succeeded in obtaining a royal patent from King George II in 1744, which gave him the right to pursue anyone attempting to pass off their own product as his, one of the earliest medicinal patents. In his patent application Turlington claimed that the balsam contained 27 ingredients, and was effective in the treatment of "kidney and bladder stones, cholic, and inward weakness", a list of ailments he greatly expanded upon in a 46-page brochure printed shortly afterwards. Turlington's Balsam quickly became popular in England and in the American colonies.
And how old is this bottle? We haven't found an exact match, but
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the manufacturers of patent medicines began to use packaging as a tool to differentiate their products from those of their competitors, as there was often little to visually distinguish between the medications themselves. In Turlington's case that resulted in his changing the shape of the bottle containing his balsam at least four times in the ten years following the granting of his patent, culminating in an elaborately embossed tablet-shaped bottle introduced in 1754.
So it's clearly later than 1754, and it was sold up into the 1920s. The "patent lip" suggest a later, rather than an earlier year.
So are there any independent indications that an arrest is imminent? Jenny Van
Laar at Red State sees something in
Manhattan DA Bragg's Email to Employees in Anticipation of Trump Arrest. "“…Please know that your safety is our top priority. We have full
confidence in our outstanding security staff and investigators, along with our
great OCA and NYPD colleagues, and will continue to coordinate with all of
them. We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the
rule of law in New York." The Peacock,
Law enforcement agencies are prepping for a possible Trump indictment as
early as next week. "Multiple agencies are discussing potential security plans for in and
around the Manhattan Criminal Court in case Trump is charged in connection
with an alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels."
That’s the big puzzle. The payment to the Biden family came at a time when
Democrats had lost the White House, and one wonders how the Chinese clients
expected the family of the former vice president to exercise influence in
their favor. Certainly the only “business” involved was influence peddling —
what relevant expertise did Hunter Biden offer, other than being Joe Biden’s
son? Democrats (and their media allies) seem to believe that the use of
cutouts and middlemen to launder these payments from the Chinese is sufficient
defense against accusations that Joe Biden himself is guilty of corruption. No
sensible person buys this excuse, but still what intrigues me is the question
of how the Chinese purchasers of Biden’s influence expected to be repaid for
If we are free to engage in speculation, I
wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Joe getting his family members paid by
the Chinese after he left the vice-presidency was in fact the fulfillment of
some secret agreement made while he was still vice president. That is to say,
Biden did the Chinese favors during the Obama administration, with the
agreement that he’d get paid after he left office. This is just wild
speculation, of course, but there must be some explanation for this deal,
which on the surface doesn’t make much sense from an influence-buying point of
After watching this video, you do realize Tucker could be fired for saying this😳. Given how he really feels, I’d say HE’S GONE from Fox within a year🤔. Seriously, if his heart is saying this, how can he stay in legacy media🤷🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/0ArAZhJjpA
'Bonchie' at Red State, USCP Flips Its Lid in Filing Over January 6th Footage Release, "There seems to be some confusion here by the Capitol Police’s leadership in regard to who works for whom. The USCP is subservient to the US Congress and is subject to oversight via no less than four different committees. Ultimately, the police force answers to a chain of command that leads back to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy because, unfortunately for their chosen narrative, Nancy Pelosi is no longer in charge."