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legacy environmental pollution advice wanted please

 
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dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35902
Location: yes
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 19 2:33 pm    Post subject: legacy environmental pollution advice wanted please  Reply with quote    

firstly a few parameters:
i will not be specific on location etc at the mo
anecdote is not data
what is stated is based on local knowledge and observation along with a good understanding of the historic and geographic context of the site.

basics:

landscape
steep valley side, flat top, deep valley, sandstone/gritstone fractured and somewhat quarried/built upon. there is movement here and there.
multiple springs and streams over and underground, some piped/channelled quite a lot free range water.
the basic hydrogeology goes top rainfall>through rocks/over rocks>in and out of the slope via some buildings and an A road on the flatter sides and cut ins>canal>river.

history 3 mill dams fairly close to top of valley side, flatish bits and cuttings into hillside used industrially.
dams infilled circa 1970 ish, housing and open space( footie field, dog park,wooded slope) created.
flat open space rather wet and clay type soil

anecdote infil done from top down wooded slope, land fill was mostly dug out and reclaimed victorian rubbish heap, top dressing of clay/nowt, another site with a similar profile was/is owned by the same owner.(that one has not shown any major environmental issues but the hydrogeology is very different)

current situation.
10 yrs ago no known issues, 5 yrs ago changes noticed.

public area of slope, trees die, multi species saplings die, grey squirrels and most territorial birds gone.
on the slope there are fresh seams of landfill, these are consistent with the reused victorian tip hypothesis.
anecdote has a very high and odd types cancer rate among the dogs that are exercised there(multiple rare forms in several mutts)
my eyeball is the flora and fauna look rather oddly absent or unwell/dead and it was very wet for a flat bit several hundred M above the river

that is the easy bit

HERE COME THE QUESTIONS

as the story unfolded and i asked some relevant questions it seemed there might be a problem.
is that reasonable?

as a considerable component of the reused victorian rubbish that i know of is coal based ash that set of chemicals is plausible, ie tars,phenols,dioxins,metals,etc.
there are all the other things that might have got into a victorian to edwardian rubbish heap in an industrial northern town:shock:
what if anything else went into the dams to fill them in is unknown
does finding lab facilities from an interested party seem like a good idea?

who might be interested?
my list of possible agencies who might be interested include:
environmental health
environment agency
the waterways board
the local water company
local whoever:?:

it seems that evidence is needed and evidence needs interest based on anecdote and basic observation of the site with an explanation.
how do i do that with minimum resources?

last time i paid for analysis the evasion revealed far more than the results might have done:twisted:

this time the problem is a little different but in some ways more disturbing in a local way as there quite a few folk nearby.

if they are right not in their back yard(Tm. NITBY.disorg), but there is a lot of downhill/runoff issues from that "yard" as well as any local effects

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4290
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 19 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Victorian rubbish dump,i`d be looking more for Arsenic than coal ashes,a component the Victorians used a lot of.

derbyshiredowser



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 870
Location: derbyshire
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 19 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Given the resulting devastation and suspicious causes I would think about contacting your local Greenpeace , wildlife trust and Friends of the earth groups to bring it to their attention and a possible source of funding.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11129

PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 19 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Firstly, because of the clay, are the trees at a distance from the path dying. If not, the main problem with loss of flora could be compaction.

If yes, then there is probably something nasty in the rubbish. The local water company will only be interested if it is going to affect their supply, but if it has the potential to do so, then they could be very interested. they will also have the right equipment to measure the nasties too. The waterways people probably less so, as most canals through industrial areas carry loads of horrible things. Rumour has it that coal dust was scattered on the Birmingham canals during the war to stop them showing up from the air. Not sure is is true, but they are still very murky. Environment Agency should be, but have severe lack of funding.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5475
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 19 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ty Gwyn said what was first on my mind.

Heavy metals testing in a soil fertility test shouldn't be that expensive, so ruling arsenic out at least would be maybe $25 around here (and lead, and maybe others).

Looking for organics is going to be a lot trickier unless you know which ones you're looking for.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35902
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 19 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

the clay is capping the backfilled dams, the slope is not compacted, it is quite friable and mobile.
it is trees on the slope dying, i am pretty sure it is not compaction or root disturbance, some seem to have died from the roots.
multi species so disease seems possible but it would need a multi species disease or multiple diseases.

re water supply afaik there is no abstraction from the river for domestic use in the local downstream length, but what happens between local and the north sea is unknown.

any water running down the valley side will end up in the river eventually, the canal is no barrier as springs go under as well as into it and it does leak quite a bit(see huddersfield narrow canal history :roll)

any water running down the valley side can go over, under and through the stuff below it.
any surface water on the flat bit over the filled in dams is accessible to the public or those who live in the housing built on part of the flat bit.

metals are possible but the high number and odd types/multiple types of tumours does narrow it down for metals and points towards organic carcinogens such as dioxins and others from coal ash and tars.

i will phone a few folk on monday and see what they think.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4290
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 19 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You haven't mentioned the area,but were there any coking plants in the area,type of coal mined in the area etc?

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11129

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 19 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Arsenic can be associated with cancer, but tar oils and other organics are possible culprits too, as you say.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5475
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 19 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I wouldn't be surprised if arsenic were involved in different cancers depending upon the habits of the dogs and therefore how they are exposed. I.e., skin exposure versus a more meticulous dog that ingests it while grooming its paws

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35902
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 19 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ty Gwyn wrote:
You haven't mentioned the area,but were there any coking plants in the area,type of coal mined in the area etc?


a few miles west of huddersfield in the colne valley.
afaik none of the local coal measures would leak onto that slope, coal was taken from drifts and shallow mines up to about 1800 iirc it was low grade brown coal and there was too much water to get most of it or the really deep better stuff pre steam pumps and by pump time the canals were in use to fetch coal so it never really took off as a local industry.

by 1800 coal imported by canal from manchester area and from anywhere easterly via leeds,
by 1850 by rail from barnsley area and elsewhere.

mostly domestic and boiler coal for hundreds of woollen mills, a municipal gas works and some iron casting engineers.

the industry of the area was textile, engineering and chemicals

the landfill was from a seam of the municipal dump that was deposited circa 1870 to 1910 and dug out in circa 1970 for reuse and to provide extra capacity for new landfill
the reused landfill has domestic and boiler ashes as well as broken plates etc etc.
folk were a bit slack about environmental health so almost anything industrial or domestic could have ended up in the domestic waste stream, that said the largest chemical works had/have their own dumps but the many little ones did not. (those who did not just dump it in the river must have dumped it somewhere)

at the mo my money would be on organics and/or metals either from the reused landfill or from something dumped along with it when the dams were backfilled

the latter does seem plausible as the other site which has the same type of backfill has not shown any major environmental issues like this one appears to have.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4290
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 19 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you had mentioned a coking plant with its by products of Benzine,tar etc then I would go with your idea of carcinogens.

The chemical plants you mention,in them days everything was dumped and records of where were dismal,and of course illegal dumping that has happened in our lifetimes could be a cause.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35902
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 19 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

the chemical industry was both big and small and varied from textile stuff like dyes and soaps to mustard gas over a couple of hundred years . plenty of scope for a range of horrible stuff to be in any filled hole.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11129

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 19 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If all the trees have died, it suggests some fairly major pollution or continually waterlogged soil. A few species will survive waterlogging, but not with static water around their roots for any length of time. It may be on a slope, but that doesn't mean the ground is dry. Otherwise, from what you say, it could be virtually any chemical contaminant.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35902
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 19 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

not all, some.
saplings not thriving/dead and more mature trees ditto.

less insects and other wildlife over 10 yrs as well.

re the drowning thing, it is possible that springs have changed location but the trees unaffected should still have the usual fauna levels.

the anecdotal oncology stuff is not something a landslip or changed hydrogeology would cause unless the new flow released some sort of carcinogenic agent.

i recon i need to take a few hours for a proper eyeball survey.

iirc the surface water on the flat bits during times of heavy rain had a mineral load high enough to give a "sheen" to some puddles but that is fairly normal for the area(there is iron stone/clay and ochres and small amounts of other mineral odds n ends, none of which are problematic, in the geology)
as far as i am aware there are no coal measures above the site and the nearest are several hundred meters below it(usable ones are a lot further down than that)

having just looked from above, i noticed the things above the site

the long term firework factory is a lot closer than it looks from down the slope and there are lots of quarry holes on the flatish top bit:roll:

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