PETCOKE POISONS POLLUTE PRECIOUS POPULATIONS and POTENTIAL RESOURCES
What is the term surfacing in the local news this week? What is this word blending in with other stories about hazardous chemicals and materials polluting our nation’s air and water, and why is this going on? It is petcoke. PETCOKE… PET COKE. We aren’t talking a dog trying to take a sip out of your glass of carbonated cola here. We are talking a hazard to the environment and the people of Chicago.
So, folks, in this corner, weighing in with 4-methylcyclohexene, with bisphenol -A, with the chemical Subway uses in their bread, called Azodiacarbonamide, and with the wonderful world of the PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – see definition below) we have a five-story pile of petcoke!
PAH’s are: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), also known as poly -aromatic hydrocarbons or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, are fused aromatic rings and do not contain heteroatoms or carry substituents. Naphthalene is the simplest example of a PAH. PAHs occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass).
The old road – you can see it. PROFIT for the CORPORATIONS, plain and simple, with no regard for the rest of the people of the areas where the industries are placed.
Chicago now has to take on the pet -coke industry. Now, what is “petcoke”? Well now, we can get this part of the story from one of the industry websites, one of the companies involved in what is happening in Chicago. According to Koch KCBX Terminals Company, petcoke is:
“Petroleum coke, or petcoke, is one of many valuable products made during the oil refining process. Similar in appearance to coal, petcoke is used to generate electricity and has a wide range of other industrial applications. Petcoke is used all over the world.” Other information about petcoke can be found by clicking other sections of the website. (See Resources at the end of this article.)
Now do you want this stuff in YOUR back yard? What part of Chicago is this in? It’s DUST, people! It’s black DUST, folks! This stuff is carbon and sulfur. What does such stuff do to areas such as the Calumet River?
Read about the origins of the name and the importance of the Calumet River. The article in Wikipedia opened my eyes! Here is an excerpt from the article, regarding pollutants found around the Calumet waterway system:
- “Contaminated sediment: The Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor and Canal contain 5 to 10 million cubic yards (3.9 to 7.7 million m³) of contaminated sediment up to 20 feet (6 m) deep. Contaminants include toxic compounds (e.g., PAHs, PCBs and heavy metals) and conventional pollutants (e.g., phosphorus, nitrogen, iron, magnesium, volatile solids, oil and grease).
- Industrial waste site runoff: Stormwater runoff and leachate from 11 of 38 waste disposal and storage sites in the AoC, located within 0.2 miles (300 m) of the river, are degrading the water quality. Contaminants include oil, heavy metals, arsenic, PCBs, PAHs and lead.
- Superfund sites: There are 52 sites in the AoC listed in the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) System, more commonly known as Superfund. Five of these sites are on the National Priorities List.
- Hazardous waste sites under RCRA: There are 423 hazardous waste sites in the AoC regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), such as landfills or surface impoundment, where hazardous waste is disposed. Twenty-two of these sites are treatment, storage and disposal facilities.
- Underground storage tanks (USTs): There are more than 460 underground storage tanks in the AoC. More than 150 leaking tank reports have been filed for the Lake County section of the AoC since mid-1987.
- Atmospheric deposition: Atmospheric deposition of toxic substances from fossil fuel burning, waste incineration and evaporation enter the AoC through direct contact with water, surface water runoff and leaching of accumulated materials deposited on land. Toxins from this source include dioxins, PCBs, insecticides and heavy metals.
- Urban runoff: Rain water passing over paved urban areas washes grease, oil and toxic organics such as PCBs and PAHs into the surface waters.
- Contaminated groundwater: Groundwater contaminated with organic compounds, heavy metals and petroleum products contaminates surface waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 16.8 million US gallons (64,000 m³) of oil float on top of groundwater beneath the AoC.
Point sources of contaminants
- Industrial and Municipal Wastewater Discharges: Three steel manufacturers contribute 90 percent of industrial point source discharges to river. One chemical manufacturer also discharges into the river. Permitted discharges include arsenic, cadmium, cyanide, copper, chromium, lead and mercury. Three municipal treatment works (Gary, Hammond and East Chicago Sanitary Districts) discharge treated domestic and industrial wastewater.
- Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs): Fifteen CSOs contribute untreated municipal waste, including conventional and toxic pollutants, to the river. Annually, CSO outfalls discharge an estimated 11 billion US gallons (42,000,000 m³) of raw wastewater into the harbor and river. Approximately 57% of the annual CSO volume is discharged within eight miles (13 km) of Lake Michigan, resulting in nearshore fecal coliform contamination.”
Think this is why the issue is being stuffed by the companies while the Mayor is trying to help out the people? What is the real business here? Monkey business. Three powerful people in Chicago Government – Alderman Ed Burke, Alderman John Pope, and Mayor Emanuel want to ban the storage of petcoke and expansion of this industry in Chicago, and the people are plainly against the poisons of petcoke further inundating their air and water.
What are the demographics of the area? According to a community post, the area is: Looking just at Southeast Chicago, roughly bounded by 67th Street on the north, Western Avenue on the northwest, the City of Chicago boundary on the south and southeast, and Lake Michigan/State Line on the east, the proportions are quite different, 14% White, 80% Black, and 6% Hispanic. Seems to me that the big business folks are doing the same thing to this community that the Catholic Church did to the area of Chicago’s south side known as Bronzeville, when they blatantly went ahead with demolishing the historic structure of St. James’ Cathedral. Despite offers from people to contribute funds, there is no doubt that the area being predominantly “black” was the real reason the church was not saved. The corporations are showing no regard for the people of the Calumet River and southeast side area of Chicago, none at all.
And the problem is not just in Chicago… it is in many areas of the Midwest. Citizens of Detroit are not very happy right now.
But do the chemical corporations that have been plaguing us with their roundabout regulations and big talk of how “safe” their products are, against which Rachel Carson and others like her wrote in an effort to awaken them to the dangers of what those products are doing to the environment, give a care about the people they hurt or sicken?
Not the time to say, “Have a Koch and a smile.” Rather I would suspect the people of the southeast side will smile once Koch and all signs of petcoke are forever removed from polluting their views and the water of the Calumet River.
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycyclic_aromatic_hydrocarbon. Wikipedia contributors. “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calumet_River Wikipedia contributors. “Calumet River.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.