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Radically Inept
Monday, July 19, 2004
  Trying to start the Monday Mornin' off on a positive note

Okay, from my Center For Public Environmental Oversight newsletter, came this interesting story/memo sent by Susan L. Gawarecki, Ph.D., Executive Director
Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee, Inc.:
Subject: Highly Selective, Regenerable Perchlorate Treatment System

The Highly Selective, Regenerable Perchlorate Treatment System,
developed by Baohua Gu, Gilbert Brown and David Cole of Oak Ridge
National Laboratory (ORNL) and Spiro Alexandratos of the University of
Tennessee won a R&D 100 Award. The awards are presented annually by
R&D Magazine in recognition of the year's most significant technological
innovations. ORNL's total places it first among DOE laboratories and
second only to General Electric.


The Highly Selective, Regenerable Perchlorate Treatment system uses a unique, highly specific resin to trap the perchlorate, or ClO4, destroy it, and regenerate itself so it can be reused. Perchlorate, the primary ingredient of solid rocket propellant, is increasingly being discovered in soil and water. The chemical disrupts function of the human thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism in adults and physical development in children.

The system created by ORNL uses a process known as selective ion
exchange, which is the preferred treatment technology for removing
contaminants such as perchlorate from water. However, the resins often
absorb chemicals other than those targeted for cleanup. They also become
contaminated and must be disposed of, destroyed or stored, which is
costly and often impractical.


The reaction in the ORNL treatment system that destroys the perchlorate
also produces a chemical that regenerates the resin, breaking the
perchlorate down into harmless chloride and water. The result is an 80
percent reduction in costs over other ion exchange procedures and
elimination of the problem of secondary waste.


From a July 1, 2004, ORNL Press Release, see http://www.ornl.gov/news.


MEDIA CONTACT: Mike Bradley
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Communications & Community Outreach
(865) 576-9553
Which, if you've been paying any attention at all to defense site clean-ups, you know this is a good thing, especially if you live out west, and probably even more so if it's California. Unless you don't use the water, I mean.

If you are not familiar w/ the issue, try EPA NCEA - Perchlorate Environmental Contamination: Toxicological Review and Risk Characterization (2002 External Review Draft). Be aware though, so far the EPA has failed/refused to set a standard for perchlorate. I doubt it will happen under this administration.

There is also a lot of perchlorate pollution here, back east, though so far it doesn't seem to have hit the water supply as bad as it has in California, or at least the media isn't reporting it. But, I think the really big surprise (or maybe not), is how much perchlorate contamination we are going to find in Alabama.

Boy, howdy! Here is a potential for a class action suit. Many of you may not be aware, but think NASA, Redstone Arsenal's "Firsts" and Missilery. If any place will probably benefit from an effective treatment of perchlorate, it could well be Huntsville and North-Eastern Alabama. Odd, no mention of Redstone Arsenal on the map, maybe the Army thinks they can hide it? Notice the major river systems in the area.

Oh, one more item of potential interest here, maybe the reason the people of Alabama are not concerned about perchlorate in their water supply is that they don't know about it! Ah, ignorant Alabamians, you say? Well, if you'll look Environmental Information (R), the Public Release Approval Sys (R), and Regulations | Policies (R), are restricted; hence the (R). See. Our government is making sure that the terrorists don't know about the environmental problems, and the poor citizens suffer, I guess?

Or maybe, just maybe, no one wants the Arsenal on the Superfund list, cause I'll bet the bill for clean up is more than a month's wages. Hell, I can almost guarantee, that a 'real' clean-up, will cost more than we've spent on Iraq so far.

You have to love this administration.

Anyway, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge ORNL) has a pretty good site, and there is some decent info available at Oak Ridge National Laboratory: News, and ORNL in the News on their web site.

Still trying to end on a positive note, if there is a safe, effective method of cleaning up the perchlorate, so much the better; the sooner we do it.

NOTE: sorry, I tried to stay positive, but it's just so hard now-a-days. 
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Comments:
Interesting information on Redstone Arsenal. I actually live in Huntsville and never knew about the potential contaminants in the water. Do you know what may be done about the contaminants? I checked and I think it did list the Arsenal on the super fund list...I think over $100M in clean-up so far, and around $200M to go..

What should I do since I live here? Any advice? How do I have the levels checked in my drinking water?
 
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