Friday, August 8, 2014

8/8 Mount Polley, Hydraulic Code, sea star wasting, PCBs, stormwater, purple algae, fruit trains, Cedar Grove odor

Mount Polly mine spill (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)
No reason to be confident in environmental protection
Barbara Yaffe writes: "Could there be a worse time in B.C. to have a tailings pond disaster? Never mind that the salmon are spawning. A wee debate is taking place in this province about whether to sanction a pipeline to the coast and tanker transport of bitumen along B.C.’s coastline. Albertans, hoping to get their petroleum to the West Coast, must be as distressed as British Columbians at the Aug. 4 breach of the Mount Polley tailings pond. Or they should be. ... A slurry of metal-laden sand and waste water from that Imperial Metals tailings pond could well be mistaken for bitumen, with its greyish colour and ability to carry timber and other detritus along with it on its determined path...." (Vancouver Sun)

State seeks comment on proposed in-water rule changes
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting public input through Friday, Aug. 15, on potential changes to the state’s rules for in-water construction that may affect fish habitat. The agency is accepting comments on both the proposed changes to the state’s Hydraulic Code and a Supplemental Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement weighing the costs and benefits of the proposal. Several local tribes and environment groups have commented in opposition to the proposed changes during the environmental review process under the State Environmental Policy Act. Kimblerly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Starfish wasting away in Barkley Sound
Just a little over a year since it was first spotted on B.C.’s coast, starfish wasting disease has come to Barkley Sound. “We’ve been keeping a close eye on it because we’d been expecting it to come here at some point [though] hoping it wouldn’t,” said Peter Mieras of Rendezvous Dive Adventures. Mieras, who runs Rendezvous Dive Adventures in Rainy Bay, located near the mouth of the Alberni Inlet, followed news of starfish wasting disease when it popped up in Howe Sound, Puget Sound and on the eastern side of Vancouver Island a little over a year ago. Katya Slepian reports. (Alberni Valley News) See also: Disease killing sea stars reaches local public aquariums Shelby Rowe reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Report: Banned Toxic PCB Still Showing Up In Everyday Products
New testing shows low levels of a banned toxic chemical are still showing up in a variety of everyday products including paints, newspapers, magazines and cardboard food packaging. The Washington Department of Ecology tested 68 different products for the chemical polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which likely cause cancer and were banned in 1979. The tests found the compound at low levels in 49 different products, according to a report released Thursday. The chemical is apparently an inadvertent byproduct of manufacturing many dyes and pigments. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Western Washington municipal stormwater permits to be updated
Local governments in Western Washington, including Renton, will see changes to what’s required for managing polluted stormwater runoff, the top threat to the water quality of urban-area lakes, rivers and Puget Sound.... The Department of Ecology proposes modifications to the August 2012 municipal stormwater permits for Western Washington only, and has made the changes available for public review.... The public comment period ends Oct. 6. Ecology expects to finalize the permits in December 2014. (Renton Reporter)

Birch Bay's water quality unaffected by pungent purple algae
While the algae build-up and occasional rotten odors wafting off the waters of Birch Bay have some citizens concerned, county representatives claim that water in the bay is up to snuff....“We get a lot of complaints that it’s stinky and unpleasant from people who live near the Cottonwood neighborhood,” said Ingrid Enschede, program specialist with Whatcom County Public Works stormwater division. Enschede said locals have reported increased growth of the purple algae over the last five years, but there is currently no research at a scientific or collegiate level to determine how much the growth has increased or what’s causing it. It is known that the algae develop as a result of heat and certain nutrients found on the bay floor.  As for the smell, it is a result of hydrogen sulfide gas, which is produced from decomposing plants. The hydrogen sulfide is not inherently harmful to humans, but those with sensitivity to the smell may experience headaches and mild nausea. Steve Guntli reports. (Northern Light)

Trains boot Washington fruit crops to carry more coal, oil
One of the major shippers for Washington fruits and field crops has given up on express shipments to the Midwest and East Coast, blaming delays on the BNSF Railways’ increased shipment of coal and oil. Growers of Washington apples and other major crops have already been turning to long-haul trucking, as BNSF oil and coal train traffic began to take up an increasing share of overall traffic. An April scheduling decision by BNSF doubled the three-day delivery time from Quincy in Central Washington to Chicago to six days, company officials said. At six days, rail shipments are not competitive with long-haul trucks, which can deliver in three days. Cold Train Express, operating out of the Port of Quincy, was providing service six days a week to 24 states by the end of 2013, a Cold Train statement said Thursday. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)

Owner gets jail time for boat that sank near Finley
A Portland man has been sentenced to 20 days in jail for abandoning a 41-foot-fishing boat that sank in the Columbia River near Finley and polluted the water. Brandon D. Traner, who owned the boat, also was given $540 in fines and assessments and two years of probation. He still faces a restitution hearing to determine the amount that he must repay to the state for its work to recover the boat that sank July 12, 2013, about two miles down the Columbia River from Two Rivers Park in Finley. Annette Cary reports. (Tri-City Herald)

Complaints about Cedar Grove odor return
When the dog days of summer set in, there's one thing residents in north Everett and Marysville have learned to anticipate: the stink. The smell, they say, originates from Cedar Grove Composting on Smith Island. Neighbors have complained for years about the smell, and filed their objections with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI AUG 8 2014
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7
 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SAT
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SUN
SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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