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[GreenYes] Alert: 470: EPA drops objections to DuPont/Army nerve poison waste-dumping

Green Delaware Alert #470
(please post/forward)

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EPA drops objections to DuPont/Army nerve poison waste-dumping

(But there is no reason for anyone else to.....objections remain valid)

February 25, 2006

As expected, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dropped
its objections to the proposal by DuPont and the U.S. Army to dump
treated VX nerve poison wastes into the Delaware River from the
Chambers Works plant near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.


Numerous inadequacies were identified in the original DuPont reports
attempting to justify this dumping. Opposition was strong from the
public everywhere and from Delaware and New Jersey
regulators. Delaware legislators opposed the dumping.

DuPont Chambers Works is already one of the most polluting sites in
the world, doing enormous damage to the air and water.

Further review was requested by the Federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) and this agency requested EPA region II
(covering the state of New Jersey, but not Delaware) to review
"potential ecological effects" on the Delaware River.

DuPont and the Army have continued a relentless lobbying effort but
at the same time were forced to propose a more effective treatment
process. (Originally, they planned to simply dump the wastes into
the existing "treatment" plant, not designed for,or able to treat
effectively, such wastes.)

In a letter and enclosure leaked or released Friday, Feb. 24th, EPA
official Walter Mugdan wrote: "EPA believes that all of our
previously identified ecological concerns have been resolved."

However, EPA also says:

"DuPont plans on alternating the processing of NCH through the PACT
system with other wastes such as Aberdeen caustic hydrolysate
(ACH). [Other chemical weapons wastes!] These chronic tests
conducted to date do not take into consideration any chemical
constituents which may remain in the PACT. The ability to conduct
such tests will not present itself until the actual alternate
processing of the NCH and ACH begins.

Accordingly, EPA recommends that bioassessment studies be conducted
in-stream to establish baseline in-stream benthic macroinvertebrate
and fish community structure in the vicinity, including downstream of
the DuPont discharge, before NCH processing begins. A team, with
members from EPA, NJDEP, DRBC, and DuPont should be established to
design the ambient study and monitor the final processing of NCH. In
fact, recent correspondence that EPA has received from DuPont
indicates that the company has already taken initial steps to
assemble ecological baseline data from various participants in the
Delaware River Estuary [sic] project."

EPA also notes that the present river-dumping permit:

" ...specifically prohibits the acceptance of VX hydrolysate. In
other words, DuPont Chambers Works is not authorized under its
current NPDES permit to treat the Army's VX hydrolysate. DuPont
would need to obtain a permit modification from NJDEP in order to
accept this wastestream."

(The full text of the letter and enclosure is available from Green Delaware.)

Comments from Green Delaware:

In typically manipulative fashion, the decision emerged on Friday
afternoon, providing limited opportunity to contact responsible officials.

The bioassessment team proposed by EPA does not seem to include
participation by Delaware, even thought the actual discharge of
DuPont Chambers Works pollutants is into Delaware waters.

EPA says (above) that DuPont intends to treat and dump other chemical
weapons wastes into the Delaware and admits that the implications of
this are unknown, and "The ability to conduct such tests will not
present itself until the actual alternate processing of the NCH and
ACH begins." This, alone, is more than enough reason to say "NO."

DuPont is controlling and manipulating investigations of the Delaware
through stooge organizations such as the "Partnership for the
Delaware Estuary." (See "The Partnership with the polluters,"

DuPont is also controlling and manipulating press coverage of
Delaware River issues. For example, a "News" Journal series on the
river in August, 2005 (author mostly Victor Greto) was written from
the perspective of regulators and polluters, with little or no input
from advocates for cleaning up the river.

Similarly, a Feb. 16, 2006 "Cleaning up the Delaware River" article
by reporter Molly Murray was written from the standpoint of the same
Partnership with the Polluters.

So far, we have not received any calls from reporters regarding the
currents news.

Since EPA admits to "numerous discussions with DuPont," we assume
DuPont and the Army were aware of the timing of the recent releases
and were able to perform advance manipulations on Delaware
media. DuPont is very good at this.

The dumping proposal is as unacceptable as ever. Delaware and New
Jersey officials need to be pressured to stand firm.

Governor Ruth Ann Minner: 1.800.292.9570

Green Delaware is a community based organization working on
environment and public health issues. We try to provide information
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