||Good and Bad
Settlement Funds for Little Lake Butte des Morts
How YOU Can
Help Clean The
River and Bay!
|News release: Oct. 1, 2003
The Clean Water Action Council expressed both relief and concern over
today’s announcement of an interim $50 million settlement with P.H. Glatfelter’s
Company and Wisconsin Tissue Mills to pay for PCB-contaminated sediment
cleanup in Little Lake Butte des Morts, at the head of the Lower Fox River
in Northeast Wisconsin.
The agencies are misleading the public when they claim their project will achieve a 0.25 ppm AVERAGE concentration of PCBs on the surface of the sediment.
This means hotspots of 10 ppm or more could be left behind, as long as statistical averages over the entire lake can be achieved. And that 10 ppm could extend several feet deep (including hundreds of pounds of PCBs) without affecting the Lake's average SURFACE concentration.
“This is the wrong way to measure the cleanup’s effectiveness. The cleanup should eliminate the MASS of PCBs, not focus on a temporary surface concentration. That surface could erode downstream tomorrow. What matters is the total amount of PCBs remaining in sediment pockets which will continue to erode downstream for years into the future. The cleanup should remove each entire PCB pocket (even 10 feet deep), to eliminate potential for future erosion and recontamination downstream. This means dredging down to remove all sediments with concentrations higher than 0.25, not just achieving a 0.25 ppm “average.”)
“Keep in mind that our recommended 0.25 ppm PCB cleanup target is already a compromise that does not achieve full public health protection - but at least it would allow fish consumption advisories to be lifted, at a minimum,” added Katers. (The governments' so-called "safe" level of fish consumption still allows considerable health risks.)
Another serious concern is the governments’ approval to cap PCB contaminated sediments in place with sand and gravel, if it is deemed less expensive during the design phase.
“A cap would be just a temporary fix, leaving the PCBs for our grandchildren to clean up in the future. It would set a terrible precedent,” concluded Katers. “Wisconsin rivers should not be used as permanent toxic dumps by private corporations.”
To view the detailed legal consent decrees with Glatfelters and Wisconsin Tissue Mills, visit the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources website: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/lowerfox/whatsnew.html
The following is a sample of media coverage of the announcement:
CONTENT BY: Rebecca Leighton Katers
WEB DESIGN BY: DataScouts
WEB HOSTING BY: Doteasy