High Levels of Radium Found in PA Stream Near Drinking Water Supply
Pittsburgh's Action News 4 reported yesterday that high levels of radiation—up to 60 times higher than the maximum allowed in drinking water—were found in Ten Mile Creek, which flows into the Monongahela River in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
Ken Dufalla of the Izaak Walton League conservation group has been taking samples from 10 Mile Creek for years, frequently finding high levels of total dissolved solids, according to Action News 4.
“I wouldn't touch it. As you can see, I try to keep my hands off it all I can because I don't know what's in this water,” Dufalla told the Pittsburgh news station.
Dufalla pressured the Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to do comprehensive testing. The DEC results showed levels of radium 226 and radium 228 totaling 327 picocuries per liter at one location, and 301 picocuries per liter of radium 226 at another location—meaning both samples had 60 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standard of 5 picocuries per liter.
Ten Mile Creek feeds into the Mon River near Fredericktown and less than a mile down river is a water treatment plant, which has regulators and residents very concerned.
Action News 4 interviewed John Stolz, a biologist at Duquesne University, who says radium can be hazardous.
“The reality is, if it's getting into the water that is being used as a source of drinking water, then it is a problem,” Stolz said, since standard filtering process does not easily get rid of radium.
Drinking water isn't the only concern. "The Izaak Walton League canceled plans to stock 10 Mile Creek with trout this year after consulting with state officials," said reporter Paul Van Osdol.
“Do you want to eat fish that has radiation in it? It's that simple,” Dufalla said.
Finding the source of the radiation is now a top priority for the DEP. Stolz told Van Osdol, the test results offer a clue.
“It's highly suggestive that it may be due to drilling operations, or at least the wastewater,” Stolz said.
However, gas industry officials dismiss that theory, saying there is no evidence that fracking wastewater is being illegally dumped into abandoned mines or streams, according to the news station.
“That stuff coming out of there will eventually get in your drinking water in Pittsburgh. Eventually it's going to get there,” Dufalla told Van Osdol.
Van Osdol finished his news cast by sharing with the other news casters in the studio that, "radium does not go away quickly. The half-life for radium 226 is 1,600 years, meaning even then it will still be half as potent at it is today."
"So what happens if you drink water that has radium in it?," asked his co-host.
Van Osdol answered, "Well it's not good. Studies have shown that people exposed to high levels of radium for extended periods of time have a wide variety of diseases ranging from anemia and cataracts to bone, liver and breast cancer."
Watch the news report here:
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By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
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