preliminary conversations with:
- Friends of Penobscot Bay (Ron Huber)
- Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, via Will Ward
- KCT Discovery Days, via Will Ward
- Code for Maine/Code for America Brigade via code4maine (profile)
Friends of Penobscot Bay. http://www.penbay.net We are a mix of commercial and recreational fishers, fish-huggers, marine wormdiggers and recreation boaters organized as a state nonprofit, who all have an interest in a clean and naturally productive bay and river. Ron Huber is founder and current executive director of Friends of Penobscot Bay.
PENOBSCOT BAY MAPPING NEEDS AND RESOURCES 1/23/18 VIRTUAL PENOBSCOT BAY: A GAMING PLATFORM? http://publiclab.org/notes/RonHuber/06-18-2014/virtual-penobscot-bay-a-gamer-platform-available Using a porpoise persona as an avatar, helps planners better understand herring. Bathymetry data, seasonal currents, winds water temperatures,and hydrology are all available and up to date and go back decades if not centuries. HISTORIC FISHERY MAPPING http://www.penbay.org/wrich/fginnergom2.html HUMAN IMPACTS MAPPING * Coastal forest cover changes Aerial photography from 1940s to present * Sealevel rises Waste water Outfalls http://www.penbay.net/waste/37outfallsaroundPenobscotBay/index.html
HAPC MAPPING New England Fishery Mgmt Council designation protects juvenile cod habitat * Criteria for designation as an HAPC http://penbay.org/hapc/hapc01.html * A map of the Gulf of Maine with Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC's) outlined http://penbay.org/hapc/hapc_2015/hapc_2014_gom.jpg *A closer-up of Penobscot Bay and surrounds with the HAPC fori nshore juvenile cod in redhttp://penbay.org/hapc/hapc_2012_map_juvcod_inshore_midme_20m.jpg * Close up of HAPC around Vinalhaven and North Haven , Penobscot Bay http://penbay.org/hapc/hapc_inshore_gom.html * Two alternative configurations 10 meter contour v 20 meter contour http://penbay.org/hapc/hapc_10_20_meter_contours.jpg (We supported 10!) AERIAL VIDEOGRAPHY * Belfast shoreline overflight. south side of Passagassawakeag River to Little River, May 1, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACtReh14yC8 * GAC Chemical Corp fly by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s-MPd2bFN8 UNDERWATER VIDEOGRAPHY * Six minutes on the floor of Rockport Harbor, Maine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzyIciqRssY * 16 minutes of Rockland Harbor floor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXYK7rlxPBU
TOP ISSUE: STOCKTON HARBOR LEGACY SHORELINE WASTE REMEDIATION BACKGROUND Between 1900 and 1970 fertilizer makers in Searsport manufactured thousands of tons of superphosphate and other fertilizers that shipped northern Maine by railroad, made the Maine Potato as iconic as the Maine Lobster.
But every ton of fertilizer left behind five tons of highly acidic waste known as phosphogypsum. Dumped by long-gone companies as a slurry in wooden containments along the southwest shore of Stockton Harbor during that era, these wastes are now eroding steadily into the harbor as their barriers collapse. Tainted,discolored and highly acidic the adjoining beach and intertidal flat, where pH below 2 have recently been measured!
Alum production, using bauxite ore and sulfuric acid, also left a large waste stream along the shore atop the phosophogympsum. -
The above two waste streams, mixed with demolition debris ,oily wastes and more make up a layer up to twenty feet thick, atop impervious marine clay. Rainwater and snowmelt that strike the waste dumps either sheet-erodes over the exposed waste surface to the shore, or percolates in & travels downslope along the top of the buried clay layer - a shallow aquifer - then migrates through the acidic wastes, bringing a toxic tea of acidic leachates to the beach and flats and.into the harbor, View a 60 page slideshow (pdf) detailing & illustrating the history and issues of concern at this location
RECENT ACTIVITY Earlier this year, Friends of Penobscot Bay gathered sediment samples under the direction of Dr Mark Green of St Josephs College, a leading ocean acidification researcher and marine biologist. The results of Green's examination and analysis of these samples and his suggestions of what should be done suggest that a the site is a public health hazard.
NON-ENFORCEMENT We consider this eroding shoreline to an uncontrolled hazardous waste site, and a health threat for beachcombers, clammers and wormdiggers - and the wildlife - that visit these flats. Touching these wastes or the bits of ceramics and sulfur lumps riddling the mud and beach causes both skin irritation and a slight numbness of the hands along with something somewhat similar to a niacin blush.
Despite more then a decade of efforts, Maine DEP refuses to force the present company - a politically powerful one - that owns the site, to end the erosion of legacy wastes left by its predecessors into Stockton Harbor, This coupled with the present day owner of the site's disinterest in dealing with its wastes, has created a public health problem. A thousand tourists and local residents innocently enjoy that very cove that is fouled so colorfully and acidly by the eroding shoreline waste dumps. Due to the state's and company's intransigence, we are now turning our attention to federal and county governments with an interest in preventing or ending pollution into Penobscot Bay
WHAT WE NEED Historic government and business documents note and describe these wastes. But in order to force action by state & federal agencies that under the current administration have seemingly adopted an "anti-precautionary" policy toward pollution, _ we need to do it ourselves_
The presence of sulfuric acid in the mud and sand is firmly established. But we need to determine whether any heavy metals , including lead, copper and cadmium as well as radium and U235 - common in waste from fertilizer made from Central Florida-sourced phosphate ore used by these companies 1900 and 1970 as well as PCBs and other undesirable chemicals and or petroleum products and solvents associated with large chemical factory operations if present have all been getting leached out of the waste slopes and into the beach and flats. for decades. .
We hope that using the spectrometers field and desktop made available via public laboratory, and taking advantage of the great pool of knowledgeable folk that share their expertise via Public Laboratory we will be able to solve this identification task. If the eroding wastes' chemistry matches the intertidal chemistry then the people have a powerful tool to press ever-reluctant regulators to remediate these uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that long vanished businesses left behind,
WHAT WE HAVE (1)A fairly exhaustive archive of the surviving records of the factories onsite during the 20th century, accumulated in paper form by governments and local media over that century and their mishaps and (2). some people very committed to relieving Penobscot Bay of its legacy waste burdens., with a broad spectra of bay-useful skills. (3) access to _some _ academics both of the state university and the private colleges and access to environmental and conservation agency officials, and a fair bit of coverage by regional media.
OTHER ISSUES The 19th and 20th centuries also left many other industrial wastes like sawdust, coal ash, coal tar and poultry butcher wastes lining the bayfloor and river bottom, contaminating clamflats and public access beaches in Stockton Harbor and other upper Penobscot Bay locations
Culvert remediation or replacement is needed a dozens of locations around the bay's and rivers' many streams Most prominently a tremendous tidal Penobscot River mercury spill plume has shuttered Penobscot tidal river lobstering permanently - and is now slipping its way down into Penobscot Bay threatening to cause the closing of upper Penobscot Bay lobstering too: - an economic disaster for a well regulated fishery.
Public Lab folk can, we hope, help us learn what we needed and help rally other Penobscot Bay-huggers to generate the needed facts to trigger high quality response and remediation efforts at this site.