Sunday, January 13, 2008

Purplewater Plus Near You - Part 3: Ducks as Canaries

Over 1,000 ducks have died “mysteriously” in and around Denver’s water and wastewater treatment facilities in the past two years. Officials are mystified and scratching their heads. Reporters are content to leave it at that. Ducks, they keep on dyin’.

Not to get all bent about it, but these ducks are the canaries in our mineshaft. We ignore their deaths at our own peril. You can tell by looking at the close up (above, a bit fuzzy as it is a screen grab from the video) from my earlier video that the oil is being stripped from their feathers.

Could it be due to the incredibly bizarre and dangerous concoction being pumped up from the bottom of the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site (LLSS) Hell Hole where 138,000,000 gallons of the worst of the worst pollution, now containing at least 158 pollutants and 10 radionuclides, trucked from Rocky Flats and every other toxic site in the entire area to LLSS for decades, cooked and fumed, waiting to be flushed into the sewer systems of Denver and Aurora, and then ending up in these waters? This shit is so bad that they have to have an explosion meter 18 inches above the flow as it leaves the Lowry site. Yep, says so in the Permit.

And, oh, by the way, they’ve built an 85 ft deep wall around three sides of the LLSS Hell Hole, trying to box it in, but guess what, the box has no bottom. Can you say toxic plume goes to the ground water? But that's a story for another day.

Got Google Earth? Look around Metro Denver – discover for yourself the hundreds of evaporation ponds. Ever wonder what’s in them all? Why in the hell is all that being evaporated?

Ducks are testing these ponds for us, but we are not listening to what these hapless creatures are telling us by accidentally giving their lives.

I guess we’ll be getting to the bottom of it now, though.

(What follows are quotes from various recent news articles on this topic, interspersed with comments from your blogger, in purple. They are exact quotes, but they are not clickable.)

The U.S. Geological Survey gave the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Colorado Division of Wildlife $20,000 to begin a controlled study of how the water in wastewater ponds affects living ducks, said Barb Perkins, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman. (Gee, I wonder why they would start with wastewater? Do you think they already know the answer?)

The birds will be exposed to the water in controlled conditions and their feathers analyzed in detail, she said. Meaning: Captured wild ducks in cages will be sprayed with various toxic concoctions in cold temperature rooms and then examined for the presence of death or dying.

"I don't think at this point we have any evidence that this is happening anywhere else in the United States which is a kind of strange phenomenon," said Jennifer Churchill, spokesperson for the Division of Wildlife. Not so strange after all, Jennifer, considering that Denver’s Metro Wastewater is the only place in the United States where toxic Plus is being added to sewage effluent and “recycled”.

The DOW has worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other agencies to try to determine a cause of the deaths. They say following the testing, they were able to rule out avian influenza, avian botulism, Oh? Just last year they said “We’re 99% sure it's avian botulism" and avian cholera, among other infectious diseases. Some duck feathers were sent to labs in Oregon and Wisconsin to be tested. Churchill says the test results revealed that the ducks were losing their weatherproofing. Well, duh!

“The ducks and water fowl have a natural oil that prevent cold weather, cold air from getting through to their skin and unfortunately, something's happening to the duck that's causing them to lose their waterproofing, get hyperthermia (don't you mean hypothermia?) and die," Churchill said. Could it be that mix of 158 Pollutants and 10 Radionuclides listed in the Permit?

A study is slated to begin next week at Metro Wastewater in which ducks will be exposed to various wastewater sources to determine what factors might be leading to duck deaths.

A spokeswoman for DOW, Jennifer Churchill, said that the cause doesn't appear to be linked to chemicals used by Metro Wastewater, as the plant hasn't changed what it uses to treat the water for many years.

"That's what strange." Churchill said, "Nothing has changed in the way they do business." Nothing, that is, except for the new Plus we’ve put in the Purplewater.

"We've got more answered questions than we have answers," McCloskey said Thursday. What the hell does that mean?

But the worst appears to be over, McCloskey said. Just a few dead ducks have been found in the past few days. Yeah, right, that's what you said last year.

"We've collected 26 little bodies," Stowe said. "We're all trying to figure this out — we need to figure it out." Little bodies? This person is starting to crack.

Dozens of disease and chemical tests conducted by multiple agencies during the past year have ruled out infectious diseases, many chemicals and other toxins, John Wegrzyn of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said late last year."Now, we're dealing with stuff that's a little more off the wall", (like Chlordane?) Wegrzyn said. "It's just very frustrating to have it run out this long and still have people scratching their head."

It is very instructive to listen to this radio segment from KGNU's Claudia Cragg from a press conference called by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center last summer, on the bank of Ferril Lake in City Park while the ducks were actually dying.


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