Category Archives: FDEP

Health costs of firefighting foams

It’s time for the state of Georgia and the U.S. Congress to set limits, and appropriate funds for testing and remedial actions, as the evidence and lawsuits pile up about those firefighting chemicals spilled from Moody AFB and many other places.

What is the price of fire safety? As lawsuits pile up and government pressure rises, firefighting-foam makers reconsider the environmental cost of fluorosurfactants, by Marc S. Reisch, Chemical and Engineering News (c&en), JANUARY 14, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE

Photo: Large Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires project; Firefighters spray fluorine-free foam on a hydrocarbon test fire at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
Photo: Large Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires project
Firefighters spray fluorine-free foam on a hydrocarbon test fire at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Testifying to Congress in September 2018 before it passed the legislation allowing civilian airports to use fluorine-free foams, Timothy Putnam, a 24-year civilian firefighter for the navy, said he recalled using fluorine-containing foam—in the days before scientists raised safety flags—“as a substitute for vehicle soap to wash fire department vehicles. We also used [it] to clean the fire station floors.”

Now, Putnam said, he is worried about “human impacts” of the exposure. And he didn’t accept the argument that Continue reading

Testing for firefighting chemicals in wells and waterways 2019-01-18

Those firefighting chemicals that leaked from Moody Air Force Base are on the front page of the Valdosta Daily Times today:

Moody recommends private well owners contact their county representatives for information on testing personal wells.

Paige Dukes, Lowndes County clerk and public information officer, said this is an opportunity for county residents such as Tann to have their water tested. Not only for PFAS but for any other contaminants that might be there.

Indeed, and Lowndes County operates the Moody AFB wastewater treatment plant that spilled into Beatty Branch and Cat Creek. So it’s an opportunity for Lowndes County to help organize testing for these per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), because testing for them isn’t nearly as simple or inexpensive as testing for other contaminants.

Reporter and photographer at Beatty Branch, 2019-01-07, VDT
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, nearby resident Debra Tann, VDT reporter Thomas Lynn and photographer Derrek Vaughn, at Beatty Branch, January 7, 2019. Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Debra Tann and I were back at Beatty Branch on January 7, 2019, this time with the VDT, about the firefighting chemical issue that was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the first week of January. This time it was for local reporters. Moody neighbor wants water tested, Continue reading

WWALS to PHMSA: Sabal Trail Map and Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-12-19

Sent today via email as PDF. -jsq

  December 19 , 2018

PHMSA Suwannee County, Florida, Maps

To: Director James Urisko < James.Urisko@dot.gov >, 404-832-1150

Southern Region Office

PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety

233 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 600

Atlanta, GA 30303

Cc: Community Liaisons:

James A. Kelly < James.Kelly@dot.gov >, 404-990-1848

Arthur Buff < Arthur.Buff@dot.gov >,  404-226-6153

Re: Sabal Trail Map and Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Dear Director Urisko,

On November 13, 2018, I sent you a list of sixteen questions about Sabal Trail’s leak at its Hildreth Compressor Station in Suwannee County, Florida, on September 29, 2018.

The only response I have received was Continue reading

State geologist Greenhalgh says BMPs don’t work to solve BMAPs

Someone inside FDEP has been brave enough for years to say the emperor has no clothes regarding contamination in the Suwannee River Basin.

Suiting up, Thomas Greenhalgh
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, of Thomas Greenhalgh suiting up at the Alapaha Dye Test, 2016-06-22.

Dinah Voyles Pulver, The Daytona-Beach News-Journal, 24 November 2018, State geologist challenging springs action plan raised questions before, Continue reading

WWALS to PHMSA about Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Update 2018-12-19: No answers a month later, so today we sent another inquiry today.

Sent today, as PDF. -jsq

Questions, Letter


November 13, 2018

To: Director James Urisko <James.Urisko@dot.gov>, 404-832-1150
Southern Region Office
PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety
233 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30303

Cc: Community Liaisons:
James Kelly <James.Kelly@dot.gov>, 404-990-1848
Arthur Buff <Arthur.Buff@dot.gov>, 404-226-6153

Re: Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Dear Director Urisko,

For more than 20 hours starting Saturday, September 29, 2018, the Sabal Trail interstate natural gas pipeline leaked “26.40516 MMscf” of “Non-odorized natural gas“ and “10,405.5 lbs” of “VOC” (presumably Volatile Organic Compounds) at its Hildreth Compressor Station in Suwannee County, Florida. A week later Sabal Trail filed a report with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the text of which is appended to this letter.

I have several questions:

  1. Why did Sabal Trail take more than a week to report this incident to FDEP?
  2. Did Sabal Trail report this incident to PHMSA? If so, please send a copy of that report, or how to get it.
  3. Has PHMSA filed a report about this incident? If so, please send a copy or how to get it.
  4. Is PHMSA investigating this incident? If so, when will the investigation be complete? Are there any interim results or opportunities for public comment into the process?
  5. Since Sabal Trail wrote “nothing in the yard caused alarms” and “Site is unmanned,” how did Sabal Trail discover this leak?
  6. What changes has Sabal Trail put in place Continue reading

FDEP Water Quality Monitoring Plans 2018

Thanks to Jay Bushnell for the heads-up on this FDEP notice of February 6, 2018:

Impaired Waters Rule (IWR) Notification

The department announces the availability of the 2018 Strategic Monitoring Plans. These plans represent the water quality and biological monitoring needs identified by the department in preparation for basin assessments as part of the watershed management approach.

Esri-map, FDEP MAT

The Watershed Assessment Section developed Continue reading

State and local responses to Dunnellon Sabal Trail stink

Sabal Trail did not notify state or local officials about their “odorant” leak at the Dunnellon Compressor Station site, and Sabal Trail’s response to WWALS failed to mention local people called the same stink in to 911 two days in a row. FDEP said there’s no need so long as Sabal Trail follows various permits, but gave no indication of who is checking to see if Sabal Trail does that. Apparently we the people have to keep doing what the state and federal agencies still aren’t doing: watch Sabal Trail like a hawk.

Via FL 200
Google map of locations of Dunnellon High School and Sabal Trail Dunnellon Compressor Station. You can see most of the 100-foot Sabal Trail right of way.

Below are responses from FDEP and more details from Marion County Public Relations and Fire and Rescue, and from Dunnellon Fire and Rescue: none of them were notified by Sabal Trail, and FDEP seems OK with that. For the rest, an emergency plan would be prudent: “Run like hell” as in Spectra compressor station incidents elsewhere, is probably not adequate. Continue reading

Suwannee BOCC approves Duke solar plant 2017-04-18

Duke to build solar farm in Suwannee County instead of new natural gas turbines. How about more solar farms to help reduce fertilizer nitrogen runoff and solve the BMAP problem?

Parcel 25-01S-11E-1090700.0000
Parcel 25-01S-11E-1090700.0000, Suwannee County Property Appraiser.

Thomas Lynn, Suwannee Democrat, 23 April 2017, Suwannee County BOCC approves 62 acres worth of solar panels,

LIVE OAK — The county commissioners approved a special permit to allow Duke Energy to install 62 acres worth of solar panels that will provide electricity to 1,700 homes.

During a county commissioners meeting on Tuesday, the county held a Continue reading

BMAPs: Agriculture and water at the Suwannee River Basin crossroads 2017-04-13

The conclusion from FDEP in their BMAP presented to an almost-full SRWMD boardroom on April 13, 2017 was: nitrogen runoff into springs and rivers from all sources (the biggest being agriculture, dairies, and poultry) must decrease 83 to 93 percent. For once nobody seemed to argue with research by state agencies. Rather everyone, from representatives of the biggest of farmers to Pilgrim’s Pride to a wide variety of environmental groups seemed aghast at the severity of the situation.

Title slide

This Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) for the Lower and Middle Suwannee River Basin turns out to include the Withlacoochee River almost to the Georgia line, because Continue reading