Fixing the Waste and Garbage Problems (Sort Of)


Garbage, pollution, toxins, diseases: All can be carried in the air, via the water supply and through the land, itself. Anyone who doubts that this is so needs only to look at what Indian Point nuclear plant, concerning which 17 million people live within fifty miles of it, has done:

It doesn’t take an accident at the Indian Point nuclear power plant to release radioactivity into our air, water, and soil. As a matter of regular operation, radiation is released from Indian Point in the form of liquid, gaseous, and solid radioactive wastes. Solid radioactive wastes include laundry (considered low-level waste) and irradiated spent fuel (considered high-level waste.) …

Since at least August 2005, radioactive toxins such as tritium and strontium-90 have been leaking from at least two spent fuel pools at Indian Point into the groundwater and the Hudson River. … – From Radioactive Waste and Pollution – Riverkeeper

Indeed poisons from our waste can infect nearly everything with which we come into contact, especially in well developed countries that don’t have support systems in place to deal with high levels of contaminants. So we end up with acid lakes, which kill off much life that live in them and on them, as happens in the pristine Adirondacks of NY, USA.

Even worse, the water supply can be permanently damaged or at least for an inordinate amount of years, such as happened with the Flint, MI, USA lead-water crisis:

… Melissa Mays, a local activist and organizer of the group Water You Fighting For?, is pushing for more extensive testing for homes in Flint to check for bacteria like Legionella, which led to a local outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease that followed the water switch in April 2014 and killed 12 people. Mays says she still develops a rash from water in her home and questions the official findings about improving water quality. At a town hall meeting last week, a number of Flint residents crumpled plastic water bottles in protest … – From Flint Water Crisis: Where It Stands a Year Later |

Meanwhile we, in parts of the USA, end up gasping due to poor air quality on some days and have medical alerts about staying indoors. This happening, of course, impacts schools, wherein children are not allowed onto playgrounds.

Then there is the land, itself, practically contaminated beyond redemption in some locations:

Superfund: National Priorities List (NPL) | Superfund | US EPA

Apr 5, 2017 – 84 partial deletions have occurred at these 63 sites. With FY14, the universe of potential site-wide CCL sites includes final and deleted NPL sites as well as Superfund Alternative Approach (SAA) sites. In FY16, CCL was achieved at three SAA sites.

NPL Site Status Information · ‎Basic NPL Information · ‎Proposed NPL Sites

My mother’s land was involved with one Superfund site in NY involving mercury. I was involved with another one in MA involving a number of dangerous poisons.

The fact is that companies create these messes and the taxpayers largely fund their cleanup. Is that right and fair?


One in four Americans drink water that fails safety standards

Danger on tap.

Antimony (total) – EWG Tap Water Database ……/1074/

National Drinking Water Database … Danskin Utilities – Boise, ID … Antimony is a metal that enters water from petroleum refinery pollution, fire retardants, …

Cadmium (total) – EWG Tap Water Database ……/1015/

National Drinking Water Database … Danskin Utilities – Boise, ID … Water utilities are noted as exceeding the legal limit if any test is above the maximum …


We have in my part of town swimming pool levels of chlorine in our water to fight coliform bacteria and a limited number of other contaminants. It stings your eyes when taking a bath.

I won’t even serve it to my two cats, although I do use it for cooking. So I recommend that you use bottled water for the most part if you, too, have a stressed water supply due to overpopulation and inability of a local water treatment plant to keep up with the pollutants. …

So I drink Poland Springs water in bottles. Yes, a plastic mess for the world, but better than the alternative of being slowly poisoned.  … and I don’t drink Danskin brand. All that this product is composed of is filtrated tap water, I read, and probably is still filled with some contaminant molecules too small to be caught by filtration systems.

Do I have nightmares and personal guilt about filling the oceans with plastic? Am I feeling culpable for this outcome or a similar one in the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere located across the world:

Great Pacific garbage patch’ far bigger than imagined, aerial survey … › Environment › Oceans

Oct 4, 2016 – The vast patch of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean is far worse than … The north Pacific gyre has accumulated a soup of plastic waste, including … of more than half a meter in size have been “heavily underestimated”.

No, I individually feel absolved since much of my plastic and much of the rest of my garbage winds up in Wheelabrator Millbury, which lets forth water vapor steam into the air. So at least it isn’t contaminating the land, air, oceans and other waterways.

Ocean Horror Show: Dead Sea Birds With Bellies Full of Plastic …

TakePart640 × 426Search by image

Ocean Horror Show: Dead Sea Birds With Bellies Full of Plastic Garbage

Wheelabrator Millbury | Wheelabrator Massachusetts

Wheelabrator helped to establish the Worcester-based Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary, the first urban wildlife sanctuary in …

Locations | Wheelabrator – Wheelabrator Technologies

Wheelabrator has a current platform of 23 power-producing assets across the U.S. and U.K. – 19 energy-from-waste facilities (three under contruction), four …

Okay, so the Wheelabrator garbage rooms that go through flash-heat need to be scraped down and the ash removed from time to time. However, the debris can be used for concrete creation, I heard. Not a great solution, but better than:

Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health – SERC-Carleton

Nov 14, 2016 – Over a few decades, humans have managed to dump tons upon tons of garbage into the ocean. … Consequently the toxins from the plastics have entered the food chain, threatening human health. … Sources of Plastic Toxins Entering the Oceanic Food Chain.

… but back to water:

Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water – The Associated Press …

A vast array of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones have been found in the drinking water supplies of at …

I should drink water from my tap? …

Tapped Out?: Are Chlorine’s Beneficial Effects in Drinking Water Offset …

Although chlorine is widely used as an effective way to disinfect drinking water, researchers are concerned that it can lead to bladder, rectal and breast cancers.
Chlorine in the bathwater is linked to cancer | Daily Mail Online

Excerpted from article at above link:

Low levels of chlorine in tap water used for bathing can almost double the risk of bladder cancer, a study claims.

Scientists found chemical by-products from mains water containing the disinfectant can be absorbed through the skin in the bath or shower and accumulate in the bladder.

Swimming in public pools can also present a risk because chlorine levels are much higher.

The risk is caused by chemical by-products called THMs which are produced when chlorine is added to water.

Researchers found that those living in areas with high-chlorine content water, who bathed in it regularly, were 83 per cent more likely to get a tumour than those in low-chlorine areas.

Those who drank high-chlorine tap water were 35 per cent more likely to get bladder cancer.

Regular swimming in pools increased the risk by 57 per cent.

Absorbing chlorine through the skin is thought to be more dangerous because it bypasses the liver, which filters out many harmful chemicals when water is swallowed.

If chlorine is given up, then what? …

Protect Yourself from Coliform Bacteria in Well Water

The presence of these bacteria indicates that your well water is contaminated with feces or sewage, and it has the potential to cause disease. Escherichia coli is a sub-group of the fecal coliform group.
What are coliform bacteria? – National Environmental Services Center…/BacteriaAndPrivateWells.pdf

This group of bacteria has long been an indicator of water contamination and possible presence of intestinal parasites and pathogens. Coliform bacteria are.

So I have three recommendations:

First, drink from bottled water if, after checking the state of your water supply, you find it remiss. Hey, it doesn’t have to be as bad as Flint to be disgusting.
Lead Levels in Flint Water Drop, but Residents Still Can’t Drink It – The …

Jan 24, 2017 – The drinking water in Flint, Mich., is now in compliance with federal regulations on lead and copper content, officials said on Tuesday. But they …

Second, it is your duty to your family, local friends, community and self to check for results. Do not expect your government to be necessarily forthright about water conditions. After all, look at Flint.

Then push your local governments to put in better means to address not only the quality of the water supply, but land and air toxins, too. … and don’t give up. Keep at it! What do you have to lose except for a little time in the effort?
“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you’re going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins.” ― I.F. Stone

Third, push your local government to get Wheelabrator in your community regardless of the USA state or country in which you live. … Fight for your right to cheaper electricity and a cleaner environment! … I’m sure that the Wheelabrator company would be glad to set up a payment deal to set up another plant just about anywhere reasonable in the world. … Dream it and make it real!

Contact Us | Wheelabrator – Wheelabrator Technologies

Contact Us. Wheelabrator Technologies has two office locations: Corporate Headquarters 100 Arboretum Drive, Suite 310. Portsmouth, NH 03801 +1 603.929.

Sally Dugman is a writer living in MA, USA.


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