Tag Archives: environment

Fight to force B. C. legislation to protect waterways

 BC SALMON The following article is taken from WaterCanada’s Mar/Apr issue; “A Legal Hotbed – Environmental groups in British Columbia are fighting to force the government into using legislation to protect its waterways” by Siobhan McClelland.
Environmental groups are testing the litigation waters in British Columbia to challenge government actions that put the marine environment at risk.

PIPELINERight now, British Columbia is a
hotbed for environmental issues, with private companies interested in using the province’s waterways as part of their operations, including fracking and natural gas businesses.

               
ECOJUSTICEBut Ecojustice, a Vancouver-based organization that represents several environmental groups, is pursuing many legal cases against the government. The organization claims the government hasn’t used its legislation or has violated its legislation, resulting in too much power being handed over to private companies that are making decisions that affect the environment.
WATERWAYS PROTECTION PROGRAMWhile there are environmental laws that provide protection for Canada’s waterways and marine life, some question how effective the legislation is.

“It’s frustrating to have legislation on the books, which the various levels of government ignore or OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAinterpret in a manner different than what was represented to the populace when proclaimed,” Maureen Bell,
(see link at end for one of Maureen’s articles on water rights) a Calgary environmental lawyer, said. “In such cases, the politicians get full points for creating the legislation, but if it languishes on the shelf or is perverted in its application, it isn’t much good.”
MARGOT VENTONMargot Venton, a staff lawyer at Ecojustice, said that people have been using the courts to try to protect the marine environment since the 1980s, when the rules changed to allow public interest parties standing, or the ability to become involved in environmental cases and bring lawsuits.

VANCOUVER COASTLINE“I think right now, in the British Columbia coast, there’s a lot of tension over how we will develop resources and what we are willing to risk in the development of these resources,” Venton said. “Some of the FISH FARMpotential resource uses, like pipelines or fish farms or whatever it is, are really placing these issues front and center in people’s minds, and we’re realizing that the threat is becoming really obvious.”
BC OIL AND GAS COMMISSIONEcojustice is currently challenging the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission’s decision to issue short-term water approvals to fracking companies, arguing that the companies should have to go through the more stringent process of bringing water-license applications.
RANDY CHRISTENSENEcojustice staff lawyer Randy Christensen said short-term water approvals, which are usually good for two years, are being renewed by the same company five or six times. He said Ecojustice wants the companies that use water for fracking purposes to go into the water-licensing process, where the government would then assess the impact of the water withdrawals more carefully and look at the cumulative impacts of many water withdrawals in one area.
“Our concern right now is that there are really two different routes of getting the water. One has minimal oversight and one has more robust oversight,” Christensen said.
SALMON LIFECYCLEHe added that the cumulative impact of the fracking operations could affect water flow conditions in certain areas and fluctuations in water flow could affect the life cycles of fish in rivers and streams. This could possibly result in shortages at certain times of the year that would affect other people’s water use.
“These are all the kinds of things that need to go through the licensing process so that you have studies and assessments, and you know the impact of what those uses could be,”
Christensen said.
DISEASED SALMONFracking operations aren’t the only concern for Ecojustice. In another case, Ecojustice alleges diseased farmed Atlantic salmon have been unlawfully transferred into an open-pen fish farm, where the diseased fish would share water with wild fish. The claim is that FISHERIES LOGOFisheries and Oceans Canada has unlawfully given a private company the power to decide whether to transfer the diseased salmon.

Venton said decisions about the risks associated with the transfer of diseased fish should be made by the government, not private companies.
FISH FARM BEST“It’s more appropriate for the government to make the call about that risk than it is for a private individual or private company running a farm to make that call,” she said, arguing that the law doesn’t allow anyone to put fish that may carry a diseased agent into the ocean because this could potentially harm the conservation and protection of fish in the ocean.
PRIVATE CO MAKE DECISIONS“I think there is a general trend, in particular in the federal government, to get out of the business of governing,” she said, adding that this is her personal opinion. “There’s also a trend
in Canada toward deregulation and toward handing more and more power and decision making to the companies, with less and less oversight. You see that in British Columbia.”
DON'T FRACKKirsten Ruecker, a communications advisor at Fisheries and Oceans’ office in the Pacific Region, wrote in an email that the government was unable to comment on the fracking and salmon cases as these matters are currently before the courts.
ECOJUSTICE SAVE SALMON IN COURTThe fracking case does not have a hearing date yet. The salmon-farming case is scheduled for a hearing on June 9.

 

Siobhan McClelland is a former lawyer now working as a freelance journalist and the new media editor at Canadian Geographic. She has written for several law publications on a variety of topics.

Maureen Bell – “Water Rights Set To Make Waves” ~
http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&articleid=757

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Relaxing Friday – pool flashmob Gran Canaria

COLLAGE2

Here’s a lovely way to start your weekend by watching as more than 30 musicians from the Municipal School of Dance and Music play “Bolero” by Ravel poolside.

Youtube video,”Splashmob Hotel Cordial Mogán Playa”, Published on May 3, 2013
A flashmob straight from the wonderful pools of Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa, in Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria. More than 30 musicians from the Band of the Local Municipal School of Dance and Music of Mogan, surprise our guests playing “Bolero” (Ravel). Music splashes in Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa. Thank you for sharing it, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Un flashmob desde las maravillosas piscinas del Hotel Cordial Mogán Playa, en Puerto de Mogán, Gran Canaria. Más de 30 músicos de la Banda Escuela Municipal de Música y Danza de Mogán sorprenden a nuestros huéspedes con una original interpretación de El Bolero de Ravel. La música se moja en el Hotel Cordial Mogán Playa. Gracias por compartirlo, que lo disfrute tanto como nosotros.

Have a great weekend and we look forward to having you visit with us a while next week.

http://www.cordialcanarias.com

Plastic pipe lining to “protect” drinking water from contamination

 LINE OF DEFENCE
Line of Defence
INPIPE FLEXLINERPipe lining is quickly becoming a cheaper alternative for protecting drinking water from corrosive material and contamination—so what are the benefits? written for Water Canada magazine by Rachel Phan

Who are the major players?
While this trenchless pipe lining technology is relatively new to North America, a number of Canadian companies are offering similar technologies and services to municipalities dealing with rapidly aging infrastructure. These companies include:
FER-PAL  • FER-PAL Infrastructure
INSTITUFORM• Insituform
LIQUIFORCE• LiquiForce Services

ROTHESAY LIGHTHOUSEWhen the town of Rothesay, New Brunswick began to receive complaints about dirty water, it was discovered that the source of the problem was a section of cast iron watermains constructed in the 1960s. Rather than digging up and replacing the pipes, the Town opted to explore other cheaper and less disruptive options. Pipe lining—a relatively new technology in North America—was chosen as the most convenient solution.
Liners are primarily used to solve the problem of municipal water pipe deterioration. When pipes are corroded over time, pipe liners are applied to the inside of unlined cast iron or cement mortar-lined pipes. While older structural spray lining, often called Cured-In-Place- Pipe, is slow setting and requires a minimum 16 hour cure period and an additional 36 hours of service shutdowns, the new generation polyurea pipe linings are rapid-setting and quick cure.
RENEWABLE PIPE LINER“Generally speaking, pipe liners have been specifically developed for the rehabilitation of potable water pipe infrastructure to help extend service life, reduce leaks, and improve water quality by preventing tuberculation—the build-up of corrosive material on the inside of iron piping—that can lead to colour, taste, and odour 3Missues,” says Sylvain Masse, the business development manager of the 3M Infrastructure Protection Division.
“Essentially, liners reduce the contact water has with piping, which in turn reduces the likelihood of water discolouration and poor pressure,” he adds.
Aside from acting as a thin layer of protection, liners can also be applied as a structural addition to the pipe, which means the layer of liner can act as a pipe in the event that the actual pipe fails due to age or corrosion.

PIPE CONTAMINATIONAs a result, pipe liners can prevent contaminants from reaching water in cases where the earth surrounding a corroding pipe is contaminated.
The Town of Rothesay came across the new lining technology after receiving complaints about poor pressure and water becoming yellowish or rusty during high flow events. While these issues are not generally health hazards, the discoloured water is often unsettling for customers. In 2011, Rothesay started a trial run project where 1,000 metres of cast iron pipe were relined in about three to four weeks.
“Initially, it was very attractive to do the relining versus digging up pipes and replacing them because there was minimal disruption to the customer and it was cost saving for the municipality,” says Bruce King, Rothesay’s utilities coordinator. “The benefit of relining outweighed the process of replacing the pipe.”
In Rothesay, approximately 100 metres of pipes were relined in a day, and for the most part, the water was back in service by night on sections that were relined that day (albeit on a boil water advisory while the process was ongoing). This made the process relatively pain-free for residents.
The original trial run was so successful that the Town of Rothesay applied the liner to an additional 1,600 metres of iron pipe in 2012, which took approximately four to five weeks to complete. An engineer estimates that the 2012 project was about 36 per cent of the cost to replace the pipe.
DIRTY WATER“There was a dramatic drop in dirty water complaints and the process was fairly easy,” King says. “We received a lot of immediate positive feedback, especially about the water quality improvement.”
He says Rothesay has plans to reline its last remaining cast iron mains in 2014. In the meantime, the technology continues to gain popularity with municipalities looking for a cost-effective alternative to replacing aging infrastructure. WC

RACHELRachel Phan is Water Canada’s managing editor

http://watercanada.net/2014/line-of-defence/

 

Road Deicer ~ Beet Juice! Sugarcane Molasses! Cheese Brine! ~ Say What?

ROCK SALT1

Article, “What Happens to All the Salt We Dump On the Roads?”, by Joseph Stromberg, smithsonianmag.com, Jan. 6, 2014
I’ve included 2 videos – see below.
NEW SALT TRUCK

In the U.S., road crews scatter about 137 pounds of salt per person annually to melt ice. Where does it go after that?

As much of the country endures from the heavy snowfall and bitter cold that has marked the start of 2014, municipalities in 26 states will rely on a crucial tool in clearing their roads: salt.

Because the freezing point of salty water is a lower temperature than pure water, scattering some salt atop ice or snow can help accelerate the melting process, opening up the roads to traffic that much sooner. It’s estimated that more than 22 million tons of salt are scattered on the roads of the U.S. annually—about 137 pounds of salt for every American.

But all that salt has to go somewhere. After it dissolves—and is split into sodium and chloride ions—it gets carried away via runoff and deposited into both surface water (streams, lakes and rivers) and the groundwater under our feet.

POT HOLEConsider how easily salt can corrode your car. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a problem for the surrounding environment—so much that in 2004, Canada categorized road salt as a toxin and placed new guidelines on its use. And as more and more of the U.S. becomes urbanized and suburbanized, and as a greater number of roads criss-cross the landscape, the mounting piles of salt we dump on them may be getting to be a bigger problem than ever.

MOHAWK RIVERData from long-term studies of watersheds bear this out. A group of scientists that tracked salt levels from 1952 to 1998 in the Mohawk River in Upstate New York for instance founds that concentrations of sodium and chloride increased by 130 and 243 percent, respectively, with road salting the primary reason as the surround area became more developed. More recently, a study of the Mohawk River in Upstate New York, for instance, found that concentrations of sodium and chloride increased by 130 and 243 percent, respectively, with road salting the primary reason as the surround  area became more developed. More recently, a study of a stream in southeastern New York State that was monitored from 1986 to 2005 found a similar pattern, with significant annual increases and road salting to blame for an estimated 91 percent of sodium chloride in the watershed.

ROAD SALTBecause it’s transported more easily than sodium, chloride is the greater concern, and in total, an estimated 40 percent of the country’s urban streams have chloride levels that exceed safe guidelines for aquatic life, largely because of road salt.
This chloride can occasionally impact human water use, mostly because some penetrates into the groundwater we tap for drinking purposes. Water utilities most frequently report complaints of salty drinking water during the winter, when chloride concentrations are likely to exceed 250 parts per million (ppm), our taste buds’ threshold for detecting it.

This is an especially DANGERS OF SALT CROPbig issue for people on salt restrictive diets. Overall, though, road salt-laced drinking water isn’t a widespread problem: A 2009 USGS study found that fewer than 2 percent of the drinking wells sampled had chloride levels that surpassed federal standards.

GREEN GLOBERoad salt pollution is generally a bigger issue for the surrounding environment and the organisms that live in it. It’s estimated that chloride concentrations above 800 ppm are harmful to most freshwater aquatic organisms. Because these high levels interfere with how animals regulate the uptake of salt into their bodies—and for short periods after a snow melt, wetlands nearby highways can surpass these levels. A range of studies has found that chloride from road salt can negatively impact the survival rates of crustaceans, amphibians ROCK SALTsuch as salamanders and frogs, fish, plants and other organisms. There’s even some evidence that it could hasten invasions of non-native plant species—in one marsh by the Massachusetts Turnpike, a study found that it aided the spread of salt-tolerant invasives.

On a broader scale, elevated salt concentrations can reduce water circulation in lakes and ponds (because salt affects water’s density), preventing oxygen from reaching bottom layers of water. It can also interfere with a body of water’s natural chemistry, reducing the overall nutrient load. DAMAGED TREESOn a smaller scale, highly concentrated road salt can dehydrate and kill trees and plants growing next to roadways, creating desert conditions because the plants have so much more difficulty absorbing water. In some cases, dried salt crystals can attract deer and moose to busy roads, increasing their chance of becoming roadkill.

DEERHow can we avoid killing trees and making roadkill of deer while de-icing the roads? Recently, in some areas, transportation departments have begun pursuing strategies to reduce salt use. Salting before a storm, instead of after, can prevent snow and ice from binding to the asphalt, making the post-storm cleanup a little bit easier and allowing road crews to use less salt overall. Mixing the salt with slight amounts of water allows it to spread more, and blending in sand or gravel lets it to stick more easily and improve traction for cars.


Elsewhere, municipalities are trying out alternate de-icing compounds. Over the past few years, beet juice, sugarcane molasses and cheese brine, among other substances, have been mixed in with salt to reduce the overall chloride load on the environment. These don’t eliminate the need for conventional salt, but they could play a role in cutting down just how much we dump on the roads.

JOSDPH STROMBERG SMITHSONIANJoseph Stromberg writes about science, technology and the environment for Smithsonian and has also contributed to Slate, the Verge, Salon and other outlets.

WATERCANADA MAGAZINE RELATED ARTICLE
“Where Does the Road Salt Go?”, written by Justin Clarke, appeared in WaterCanada’s Jan./Feb. 2014 issue. 
DURING MY TIME as an environmental consultant, I toured most of Southern Ontario by travelling between job sites. Over the past 15 years, I have noticed changes to our roadside landscapes. As I watched city and town limits grow, roads were often upgraded and salted in the winter to assist the local traffic… Ultimately, we must find a viable solution to keep our roadsides safe and our natural environment healthy. We must stop prioritizing one over the other. 
JUSTIN CLARKJustin Clarke who is the environmental
sales and services coordinator of
MAXIM Environmental and Safety Inc.

http://watercanada.net/archives/#

AFRAID OF YOUR COUCH? YOU SHOULD BE!!!

 

FAMILY ON COUCH

My blogs are usually water related (and some water related are a stretch of the imagination), but I’m taking a detour for this topic because it is of the utmost importance in my opinion.  This new HBO documentary, which aired a while back exposes the existence of deadly chemicals in furniture, and highlights the movement to fix a problem that touches us all.

DANGER SIGNI certainly hope that this toxic topic will be followed and acted upon in Canada – where our lives and especially our children’s lives are at stake!!!

SARAH JANSSENThe short video, “My Toxic Couch” below was uploaded to Youtube by Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist at the Natioanl Research Council in USA, on Feb 7, 2013 – Toxic flame retardant chemicals are saturated in the foam inside our furniture. These chemicals are linked to serious health effects and are worthless in preventing furniture fires. We need better regulation of these chemicals to address this problem.

The following excerpts are from an article by Gerri Miller, Nov. 21, 2013

The real concern is the troubling amount of chemicals in furniture cushions – which are dangerous for consumers and firefighters.  Are you sitting down? Before you do, think about your couch, because it could be killing you. Since 1975, in an effort to curb the number of lives lost in house fires, all furniture has been required to contain flame retardants. But these toxic substances — among the 84,000 chemicals in our products that are untested and unregulated – are dangerous to human health, causing an increased risk of cancer, mental problems and birth defects. This point is chillingly driven home HBO MOVIE SIGNin the documentary “Toxic Hot Seat,” which will premiere on HBO on Nov. 25. Filmmakers James Redford and Kirby Walker interviewed chemists, journalists, firefighters, politicians, and activists to uncover the truth behind this issue and how chemical companies and their lobbyists have spent millions to cover it up.  Initially, “We really thought it was going to be a story about legislation, how we could follow that and demonstrate whether there was progress and if not, why,” said Redford (the son of actor and environmental activist Robert Redford). NEWSPAPER2“That approach crashed and burned rapidly,” when they discovered three months into the project that the Chicago Tribune was working on a five-part series about the issue called “Playing With Fire,” and the journalists behind it agreed to be part of the documentary. “It required a lot of steps to get permission, but it really changed the complexion of the film.” Walker added that when they’d first heard stories about the chemical company cover-ups involving “front” groups and the tobacco industry, it smacked too much of conspiracy theory to be true. “We thought, ‘it can’t be this bad.’ But the Tribune found that it was indeed that bad, and we did include it. A democracy can’t function if the people who live in it don’t know the truth. Because of investigative journalism, we’re told what is happening and can advocate for ourselves. That really resonated with us.”

This HBO Documentary Film, “Toxic Hot Seat” HD Trailer (HBO Documentary Film, airing November 25th) was published Aug. 22, 2013
Movie comment ~ 
Amazing documentary about the toxic fire retardants found in most upholstery throughout the U.S., based on a well-intentioned by faulty specification mandated by California decades ago and perpetuated by the chemical industry. A “must-see” for architects and interior designers that specify furniture – will change one’s perspective about fire retardants.
 
FIRE SCIENCE LOGO The film depicts the impact these chemicals have had on firefighters, who have unusually high rates of cancer due to toxic chemical exposure, and via experiments, demonstrates the ineffectiveness of fire retardants.
VYTENIS BABRAUSKASDr. Vytenis Babrauskas, who published a study on the subject in 1987, asserted in the Tribune article that the amount of retardants in a typical home’s furniture provides “little to no fire protection.”
 
No wonder a large portion of the film focuses on efforts to change laws. Many states are considering legislation now, and in January, a new regulation will take effect that makes fire retardants no longer mandatory. Manufacturers don’t have to include the chemicals, but still can, so the onus is on the consumer to ask questions and buy accordingly.
FIRE EXTINGUISH
 
“We want people to demand change and reform. If enough people see this we can demand change in Washington,” Walker said. Added Redford, “My hope is everybody talks about it, gets on social media. If we speak up we can get these chemicals out of our lives. We can’t get rid of these couches with chemicals in them overnight, but it’s really about thinking ahead for our children. We act with our pocketbooks and it can really make a difference.”
Related link ~ 

Diana Nyad ~ “Never, ever give up!” ~ Remarkable!

DIANA NYAD SWIMMER

Diana Nyad is an American author, journalist, motivational speaker, and world record long-distance swimmer.  Nyad gained national attention in 1975 when she swam around Manhattan (28 mi or 45 km) and in 1979 when she swam from North BiminiThe Bahamas, to Juno Beach, Florida (102 mi (164 km)).  In 2013, on her fifth attempt and at age 64, she became the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage, swimming from Havana to Key West (110 mi or 180 km).  

In the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on salt water, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that’s how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida – at age 64.

Diana refers to her experience as “awe inspiring” ~ Diana’s talk is inspiring – what a truly remarkable woman!

This amazing motivational video is sure to inspire everyone! 

With a brand new year just beginning perhaps these quotes from Diana will have you reaching for your star:

“You can chase your dreams at any age – you’re never too old!”

“When you achieve your dreams, it’s not so much what you get, as who you have become in achieving them.”

OTTAWA RIVER KEEPER ~ IMPRESSIVE VIDEO

OTTAWA RIVER

The following video, “Ottawa River Keeper”, was uploaded on Mar. 10, 2008, by Lu Utronki.  This video is designed to bring awareness to the importance of the Ottawa River for sustainability. 

The Ottawa River flows through the provinces of Quebec and Ontario for over 1200 kilometres.  There are almost 2 million people who live throughout the Ottawa River watershed.  To the Algonquin First Nations who lived by its banks and traveled by canoe the river was known as the Kitchi-sippi, meaning “The Great River“.  Visitors such as white water paddlers, fishing enthusiasts and river trippers from around the world looking for a wilderness experience  enjoy the Ottawa River year round.  The Ottawa River is a globally significant river and is part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence watershed, and is the largest freshwater system in the entire world.

Hope to see you back here for our next blog featuring “Ottawa River Keeper Part 2” and “Alexandra Cousteau on the Ottawa River” – a Youtube video published this year on September 14th.