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Saturday, January 10, 2009


Creating Pollution to Fight Pollution?

Any of you notice the Dec. 22 story, PCB truck route runs through De Pere? It describes changes in the truck route for hauling all the dirt dredged up from the river bottom to get rid of some of the PCBs that have been sitting there for decades. It's hard to see evidence of ongoing harm from those PCBs sitting deep in the mud of a river, but it's easy to see, smell, and hear the various forms of pollution being created to remove them. Worth the cost? I'm not sure - and I'm not sure the cost-benefit analysis was fairly considered when the decision was made.
Dredging of 3.8 million cubic yards of sediment from the lower Fox River is scheduled to start in May as part of the $600 million river cleanup project. The target is the massive amount of polychlorinated biphenyls, the waste product from years of carbonless paper production by several paper mills.

Georgia-Pacific Corp., NCR Corp., and Appleton Papers Inc., now owned by Arjo Wiggins, dumped PCBs into the river through the production of carbonless paper. PCBs were banned in 1977 and have been linked to cancer in humans and deformities in wildlife.

It is the largest river PCB cleanup project in the country.

The nine-year project is estimated to include about 168,000 truck trips for the 37 miles from the processing plant to the landfill. Officials say about 85 truckloads a day will travel between 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekdays, and 6 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The trucking will occur from April through October, depending on the weather.
168,000 truck trips, 37 miles each way - that's well over a million gallons of fuel being burned. Go down to the river or Little Lake Butte des Morts and smell the diesel fumes being generated 24 hours a day (during summer and fall) by the noisy equipment that sucks up the bottom of the river/lake and pipes it to acres dedicated to draining and packaging the waste. Acres of landfill will be consumed. On top of that, the deljavascript:void(0)icate life at the bottom of the river and lake is disrupted. It's an assault on the environment in the name of cleansing the environment. Has the need to remove buried PCBs really been established? Is it worth a billion dollars and hundreds of lost jobs in this painful economic downturn?

Maybe. Just asking. . . .

One thing is for sure: the lake and river were a lot prettier when the fume-spewing barges weren't there.
with all of the financial problems our state and country face and we are blowing money on projects like this without good reason
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