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Friday, August 24, 2007

Wasting $58,000?

The city announced that it will hire an outside firm to the tune of $58,000 to test the air quality surrounding the myriad dewatering projects on the island. We suggest that the results can be inferred today: there is nothing wrong with the air.

We put forth one feasible supposition for affording this prediction.

Today, the process by which the toxic water is now handled is different from when the initial complaints were made to the health practitioners, the EPA, the FDEP and the city.


As evidenced by the myriad videos and pictures, the polluted water was initially being pumped directly into the open – swales, streets, lawns, etc… With the toxic water basically in the open, the hydrogen sulfide easily and readily escaped from the water.

The pumping of the contaminated water onto the streets, swales, lawns, etc… is no longer taking place. As also evidenced by the latest pictures and videos, the contaminated water is being funneled through a near-sealed environment directly into waterways. Vents and grates are sealed, no more open-air dumping, all of the polluted water flows through pipes that lead directly to waterways.

In this process, the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is impeded from escaping from the water due to the pressure and flow. If any escapes it is at the point where the water leaves the pipe just above the waterway. Therefore we can surmise that the greatest concentration of hydrogen sulfide does not escape but stays in the water – now in the water of the waterways.

Where the poisonous stink infested entire neighborhoods, the noxious odor is now on and near the area where the toxic water is being dumped into the waterways. Arguably in lesser concentrations given the considerably smaller area by which the hydrogen sulfide can escape.

A casual inspection of the leaking containment areas (notice the ill-placed yellow plastic rims in the pictures) clearly shows the water to be a deep red to murky copper color. We suppose and induce that the hydrogen sulfide is reacting with organics in the water, as well as metals, and creating sulfuric acid (H2SO4) – ergo the color.

Forgive us for delving into basic chemistry to try to prove a point: notice the difference between H2S and H2SO4 – the difference is O4 – or four molecules of oxygen. If it is found that the area where the contaminated water is oxygen depleted, then the likelihood of sulfuric acid being “created” in these waterway dumping areas is high.

Without testing the waterways in and near the discharge areas, the premise that there is sulfuric acid is merely a hypothesis.

So … back to the $58,000. It seems to us that this testing is for a problem that has been somewhat obviated.

And not a new turn of events. By the time the city stalls long enough, and the plethora of environmental groups sympathize with us but tell us they can’t do anything about it, and the alphabet-soup bureaucracies are tortured into responding, the problem is migrated. Its like calling your insect control company to complain about termites eating your door, and by the time they show up to do “tests,” your door is gone so they look at you like you’re nuts.

So … can we skip the test, save the $58,000 and just jump to the point where we are once again looked at like we are nuts? (As opposed to the people responsible for contaminating the environment of course.)

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