Home > Uncategorized > Dupont “Pilot Test” For Groundwater Cleanup Perpetuates The Fraud

Dupont “Pilot Test” For Groundwater Cleanup Perpetuates The Fraud

[With key end notes]

(to the song “Stairway to Heaven”)

And he’s sampling the pathway for vapor.

For the last week, I’ve been off line and camping in the mountains of Coconino National Forest just outside lovely Flagstaff Arizona (more to come on that – but here’s a shot of Humphrey’s Peak, part of the San Francisco Mountains. You can’t see it clearly, but there’s still snow):


But I came into town today to get my new Arizona drivers license and van registration documents and check my email.

My friend Lisa Riggiola of CCPL sent me a Bergen Record article by Jim O’Neill on a Dupont proposed “pilot test” to cleanup groundwater, after almost 40 years of all forms of corporate crimes, negligence, denial, and foot-dragging. Read the full story:

Pretty good coverage – but the claim that vapor intrusion was “discovered” in  2008 is pure bullshit. See this post for the actual timeline about who knew what and when they knew it – it’s a coverup folks:

But this story illustrates an even larger public health scandal – what is known as the “phased approach” under NJ DEP’s “Vapor Intrusion Guidance Document”:

The technical guidance utilizes a 6-step phased approach for investigating the VI pathway.

Let me try this analogy to elucidate the problem and show why and how the DEP  “phased approach” is totally fucked up, is not “precautionary” and is not based on protecting public health – but instead is designed to allow corporate polluters to deny, delay, minimize, and even avoid legal liability and cleanup responsibilities for poisoning people.

Let’s make the analogy something everyone knows about: a health checkup visit to the doctor.

Let’s say you first go to the doctor in the year 2000. He puts you on a scale and takes your weight – and nothing else – and says you might need to diet.

You go back in 2002 – he takes your blood pressure – and nothing else – and says your might have hypertension.

You go back in 2004 – he listens to your pulse – and nothing else – and says you might be at increased risk of stroke or heart attack.

You go back in 2006 – he takes blood tests, for blood sugar only – and says you might be at risk for diabetes.

You go back in 2008 – he takes your blood test, for cholesterol only – and says you might be at increased risk for heart attack.

You go back in 2010 – he takes a urine test – and says you might have kidney problems.

You go back in 2012 – he takes another blood test, for liver enzymes only – and says your liver function is not so good.

You go back in 2014 – he looks at your legs and says you have a serious problem related to diabetes and he must amputate your foot.

You never make it back in 2016 – you died of a heart attack or stroke in 2015.

This is how DEP’s Vapor Intrusion Guidance document’s “phased approach” works with respect to sampling – it takes many years to go from sampling groundwater, to soil, to building sub-slab, to indoor air.

Along the way – during those “6 steps” – there are multiple points to inject scientific uncertainty or to “exit” the process entirely, including the ability to blame other pollution sources, including the homeowner’s use of chemicals or cleansing agents, even their carpeting.

The “phased approach” is the exact OPPOSITE of a public health or precautionary approach, which would START with indoor air sampling, not wait 10 years to get there.

And none of this addresses the fraud Dupont engaged in regarding withholding this information until after negotiating a liability waiver in the settlement agreement – see:

Nor does it hold DEP accountable – here’s a warning to DEP Commissioner Campbell about the statewide vapor intrusion problem, way back in 2002. A February 2002 DEP memo warned the NJ DEP Commissioner about risks from vapor intrusion and flaws in DEP regulation:

Indoor Air from Contaminated Groundwater

The issue is relatively new as it relates to vapors from dissolved constituent plumes entering homes at above chronic levels. This issue is not an isolated incident (Wall Township) and has become an issue across the country. As more cases of this type surface it may cause the protectiveness of sites with natural attenuation remedies and the protectiveness of the groundwater quality standards to be re-evaluated.

The Dupont and DEP fraud continues!

End Notes:

1. That same 2002 DEP memo warning about the statewide risks of vapor intrusion and the major flaws in DEP groundwater standards and cleanup regulations also documents the underlying cause of the risks: at least 90% of so called “groundwater cleanups” are “natural attenuation” (see “classification exception area” a provision in the groundwater standards that effectively waives the groundwater standards:

“Classification exception area” means an area within which one or more constituent standards and designated uses are suspended in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.6.

“Natural attenuation” means that DEP allows polluters to simply leave the pollution in the groundwater, if they can submit a consultant’s report/model to show it might decline in concentration over a 40 – 50 year period via evaporation, dilution, biological means (digestion by soil microbes) or many other technical scams.

Meanwhile, after DEP rubber stamped 90% of groundwater “cleanups” as “natural attenuation” during the 1990’s, the groundwater pollution was seeping off site and migrating to nearby people’s homes and daycare centers and schools at hundreds of sites!



2. From the big picture sense, of course this is merely another symptom of a much larger disease:

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Chris Hedges writes about that today: (boldface mine):

Forget the firing of James Comey. Forget the paralysis in Congress. Forget the idiocy of a press that covers our descent into tyranny as if it were a sports contest between corporate Republicans and corporate Democrats or a reality show starring our maniacal president and the idiots that surround him. Forget the noise. The crisis we face is not embodied in the public images of the politicians that run our dysfunctional government. The crisis we face is the result of a four-decade-long, slow-motion corporate coup that has rendered the citizen impotent, left us without any authentic democratic institutions and allowed corporate and military power to become omnipotent. This crisis has spawned a corrupt electoral system of legalized bribery and empowered those public figures that master the arts of entertainment and artifice. And if we do not overthrow the neoliberal, corporate forces that have destroyed our democracy we will continue to vomit up more monstrosities as dangerous as Donald Trump. Trump is the symptom, not the disease.

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