Submitted by Zebra Mussel on Thu, 04/20/2006 - 21:23.

Please keep everyone injured in your hearts and prayers.  Let us learn from our mistakes....and keep in mind it could have been worse.  The river could have caught on fire.

Let the discussions begin.

Have you seen the pictures of violations of federal regulations regarding the duck tape patch jobs on fluid lines used for carrying hazardous waste in this facility?  They are pictured in the article in the free times here 

Does this duct  tape job violate 40 CFR 112 (Federal Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Regulations) which provides a regulatory HAMMER for the federal, state, and local authorities regarding the applicability of industrial standards to process piping?

Does the American Petroleum Institute applicable industrial standard known as API 571 provide the basis for regulatory enforcement action under the federal SPCC regs via the documentation of noncompliant process piping runs, and was it ignored by inspectors?  

Do the inspectors know the laws?

Are the inspectors familure with the attached document?

Who inspected the site, when, and will they be held accountable?

Assuming oil related compounds are present in the lines..WHY WAS THIS NOT ENFORCED?  (after all the paper printed pictures of violations of federal law).

How many gallons and of what were spilled into the river, how much did firefighting waters move to transport pollutants into the biosphere from impervious surfaces, or less pervious surfaces?

Why did this happen? 

Did you see the article months ago in the paper about the dangers assocaited with this site?

Did you pick up on what the City portrayed  the danger level to be in the Free Times article?

How did environmental oversight by regulatory agencies fail to prevent this from happening in one of the most heavily EPA  scrutinized businesses in our city?

What if any evacuations were there?     How was the plume modeled, who was notified?

Did your businesses have hazardous waste that went up in flames in this fire?   Are you liable?  

How much insurance does the place have for the damage to people, planet, and the biosphere?   Are they even required to have insurance to cover damages to any of the three former externalities?

OMG** Formatting is driving me NUTS in here...  please fix or make it intuitive! Bolding is having issues.. the article is either totally bold or not after much tinkering... Aaaah.  I am ready to RANT and its impeding me!  ;-)

API 570 Inspector Exam.pdf53.8 KB

Hmmmmz.. Where does my drinking and bathing water come from?

Forget the air plume that may have flowed thru the city, thats water under the bridge....who knows where our drinking water comes from?   How about the 5 mile crib... probably 3 miles from the mouth of the receiving waters of this reportable release.

*nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide*  a song comes to mind....  My mind is like a juke box.

Anyone know factors of dillution?  Anyone know how long a single molecule of that hazardous waste released into our drinking water source will take to flow into our intake.  Not a high ppm, just a molecule?   Anyone?  Any biological modelers out there?  Hmmm I know a few.

We are connected.  Our river, our city, our lake, our children, our society... its a living system.   Learn about this situation!

What was put into your drinking water source illegally today?  

Does this mean its been put into your system, your families system, your irrigation, your coffee? 

How much is too much, how much is too little to need to worry?   Are the USEPA, OSHA, and Drinking Water Standards tough enough to protect us in general?  How about from spikes / slug loads like this? 

What types of treatment processes does the City have to filer out of our system a mistake it downplayed a few months back in the Free Times?   Water treatment processes?  Information managment processes?  Inspection processes?

What type of accountability will there be?

Whos going to lawyer up first?

We're going after lead - need to do the same with all hazards

For dealing with lead, major foundations and over 50 area, state and federal health and service organizations have come together to form the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council. Even with that much force, and separate subcommittees for Medical, Workforce, Property, Outreach and Sustainability, we still find it very difficult to spread the word, and 14 children in the area are lead poisoned daily.

Of course, folks living in housing built after 1979 don't need to worry about lead and they don't. They don't worry about the cost to 1,000,000s of people poisoned over time, or the burdens on the criminal justice system (and victims), and the education system, and society and our economy. In fact, they don't even know anything about lead, because our society doesn't care either.

Perhaps this summer - 90 in the shade - Ozone action days over and over - grandmas dying... of course, the same people who don't care about lead have central air and SUVs with uber-climate-control, so it's unlikely they'll care about ozone action days either... and out in the country it is 10 degrees cooler, the air is fresher and cleaner, they have wells, buy bottles water... I suppose most of them at least still bath in normal water, although probably softened and purified...

Sad thing - beyond how detached people are from reality - is that while we can fix lead in a decade (at $billions in cost) , it'll take decades (and more money than America can print) to get the air and water issues remotely under control, if we started today, which we aren't.


Great follow up ZM.   These are great questions, and tough ones.  It makes all the more sense to have process controls that constantly? monitor our waters for blunders like this one.  Are the right people in the right places to rectify ALL the secondary effects beyond the imminent ones?

GEM just part of problem

You raise lots of important questions ZM. I also think the whole matter is being downplayed in the media, perhaps to keep fear down, or even out of home land security directive - what better terrorist target than a nearly abandoned valley full of sulfuric acid tanks and big tall bridges. All the more reason to be worried about everything you mention above.

My understanding is this incident didn't even activate the reverse emergency warning system to notify area businesses of an emergency. There is no doubt the response systems and process controls need to be reengineered. This is especially true as the entire Tremont lip overlooking this toxic valley is now overdeveloped with high density townhomes seeking that industrial view. They are now right in the line of fire from any toxic releases in the air in the flats.

I'm not convinced the hazard was well contained, so water and air in the area should be monitored. We also need to take a look at all the business in this industrial valley to make certain they are not harming public health. Imagine a bit worse disaster effecting a few more facilities in toxin valley, down by GEM or even closer to downtown, and picture 100,000s gallons of oil, gasoline, acid and other toxins flowing into the river and down to the lake, killing everything it touches... toxic fumes filling the Cuyahoga Valley now surrounded by offices, public gathering places, housing and soon in the depths of that death valley the proposed upscale East Bank developments... perhaps that's why the press is downplaying our industrial exposures. While I dn't think we want to promote Cuyahoga as the toxic valley, so we need to keep it safe and clean.

Until everyone in this region at every level get serious about pollution and toxic hazards, we will not have serious economic development in Cleveland. It may happen in trusting little pockets like the East Bank Flats and around Tremont but who seriously wants to raise kids within minutes of a toxic gas cloud potential, or downwind from Mittal? If we can't get rid of them, we'd better get serious about minimizing the damage they cause our health, economy and society.

3M's role

living in the toxin valleyI sent an email to alert 3M that their product "duct tape" is being used as a solution for a chernobyl like hazmat situation in Cleveland, just in case they want to go public with a disclaimer and suggest that GEM did not read the package instructions. Maybe they should consider rewriting them. Anyway, I thought to put a fright into a major corporation might re-energize the news media. A class action suit might be just the thing to awaken EPA operatives who are asleep at the wheel.

This is all dramatic as it

This is all dramatic as it is, some people made mistakes and other people payed for those mistakes. This reminds me of other things in our history, it reminds me of asbestos ignorance, people with mesothelioma cancer pay for others ignorance, it reminds me of nuclear accidents, and the list is too long to even mention it... I just hope those injured will have the chance to have a normal life again.