HERD ABOUT IT?
by Ana Grarian
Yeah – I know all those pictures of flooded shopping centers are compelling, but how about covering what’s IN that water. Where’s the news?
From the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Flood waters may contain fecal matter from sewage systems, agricultural and industrial waste and septic tanks. If you have open cuts or sores exposed to the floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and disinfected or boiled water. Apply antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection.
Where are those pictures and news articles? I’ve been searching for photos and information since Hurricane Irene, and except for information on
the American Cyanamid Superfund site leaking into the Raritan River in NJ, information has been hard to find, and pictures almost impossible. I’ve been requesting my favorite news agencies to look into this but hey – those shopping malls are right along the highway and more people identify with them than industrial or agricultural sites.
Here’s a map of Superfund sites in the areas around CNY most recently hit by flooding.
See anything there to cause concern?
Do you know what else is located on the banks of lakes and rivers?
Just after noon on Thursday, the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant was forced to cease operations as Susquehanna River flood waters overran the facility.
Superintendent Cathy Aingworth said the river, which abuts the plant, had engulfed much of the plant. The flooding caused a “fairly catastrophic” impact, she said.
Some pieces of key equipment were rescued before they were hit by flood waters, but it’s too soon to tell what permanent damage occurred, according to Aingworth.
“The water is higher than in 2006,” she said.
Raw wastewater is being discharged into the river until the plant can be brought back on line.
Treatment capabilities at the plant had already been hampered by an unexpected wall collapse in May, which was expected to cost millions to repair even before the most recent flooding.
The plant serves residents and businesses in the city and town of Binghamton, Johnson City, Port Dickinson, Dickinson, Conklin, Kirkwood, Binghamton University, and parts of Vestal, Union and Fenton.
And then there is the little talked about radioactive material stored around the country.
Thousands of people including children and the elderly are busy cleaning out their homes and moving back in. They are trying to determine what can be saved and what can’t. Authorities are warning them that precious memories may have to be discarded because they are contaminated. Contaminated with what? Shouldn’t we be honest about that? What is in the air they are breathing and what has seeped into their walls and wells?
And what is flowing downstream from those flood zones to the next community and the next? It’s time we take a good look at the waste we are creating and how it is being disposed of and stored. Ignorance is bliss they say, until we all get sick.