“Buffalo creek” is a region in West Virginia located in located in “Logan County”. The region was a centre for companies to perform their mining operations. Buffalo Company owned by “Pittson Coal Company” had started damping various kinds of mine waste into the region. The mine waste composed of “dust, clay, shale, low quality coal” plus other impurities. The actions of damping waste at buffalo creek led to the buffalo creek disaster. The “buffalo creek” disaster involves the failure of “impoundment dams” which resulted after damping coal waste into hollows. The coal waste was intended to create ponds used for retaining “waste water from the mining processes” (Hobfoll 15).
The water from the mines “seeped through” the tiny perforations of walls of the dams. As long as the water was seeping through these holes, there was no problem with the water levels in the dams. The failure of the dam occurred when the perforation was blocked and water accumulated. The dams had no spill way and therefore, the buildup of water and waste increased substantially. This led to “massive release” of wastewater. The water swept the nearby homes, destroyed property and led to deaths of over a hundred people. some others “were injured” in the process. The failure of the dams was because of the “shoddy job” by the engineers in maintenance and design of the ponds (Stern 6).
A critique of the actions of the major players in the scenario. In your critique, provide evidence of their Ethical or unethical behavior
The engineers at buffalo creek were blamed for their actions, which led to the disaster. The engineers were involved in the creation of the dam a job that they did not qualify to perform. Though they were receiving some support from “governmental environments,” they portrayed un- ethical behavior by failing to acknowledge the indications that the dam was not stable. Their decisions negatively affected the public due to the floods that originated from the dam failure. Ben Tudor, an engineer at the site had no idea of what action that was to be taken to prevent the failure. Dasovich another engineer at the site was also to blame. Both persons lacked the knowledge of safety (Stern 8).
They could have left the job to qualified persons. The unethical behavior was the failure to regard the environmental aspects and emphasize on efforts to improve production. The over emphasis in revenue generation may have blinded some of the engineers “at the site” leading to un-ethical behaviors. To contain the situation the involved engineers would have provided an emergency outlet in the dams. This in my view would have contained the problem. Dasovich’s design of the dam was not proper a situation he “even admitted”. He was performing a job that he did not qualify. The job was supposed to be done by a civil engineer whom he was not. The company could have hired a “qualified person” to give a correct design taking into consideration all aspects, including environmental safety and stability (Stern 8).
The engineer could even have seeked assistance from qualified persons in the field. There were qualified persons outside the company that he would consult. The persons for the job would have been professionals in “soil and hydrology”. The way Dasovich designed the dam even with the “rules and regulations” allowing only civil engineers to conduct the job was unethical. There was sign of improper design when the construction was on progress. The Engineers Dasovich and Tudor observed the technical hitch which occurred at the bottom of the dam but ignored the situation. They went on constructing the dam. The “county government” also failed to control the situation. It had a responsibility of ensuring correct protocol was followed when the dams were being built (Hobfoll 26).
How this scenario compares to what happened in the Gulf Cost with Katrina
Katrina was a hurricane that occurred in the gulf coast in the year 2005.the hurricane was marked with huge floods, which caused the death of several people. This was a natural catastrophe unlike the buffalo creep disaster, which was “manmade”. Although the Katrina in the gulf coast was natural, something could have been done about it to prevent deaths. The meteorologists would have “predicted the situation” and people would have vacated from the region. However, the evacuations were late. Like buffalo creek, Katrina destroyed property and left many homeless (plombon 3).
Many people died in the event and those who “survived” were injured. Katrina was a huge storm that hit Mississippi and was branded the “storm of all storms”. Diamondhead region was widely swept by the storm despite the effort by the “emergency personnel”. The persons involved had laid a plan for actions but failed when some of them left to their homes. The crew was ignorance based on the history that “Diamondhead had never been flooded”. The shutting down of communication by the cable company affected operations. The passage of information to people about the storm was hindered and so the storm swept the region. In New Orleans, the United States army failed to “protect the people”. They were the designers of “the levee system” as per the “flood control act” (Plombon 13).
Plombon, Betty. Katrina and the Forgotten Gulf Coast. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing. 2006.
Stern,Gerald. The Buffalo Creek disaster: how the survivors of one of the worst disasters in coal-
mining history brought suit against the coal company– and won. New York: Vintage
Hobfoll, Steven & Devries ,Marten. Extreme stress and communities: impact and intervention.
New York: Springer. 1995.
Stern, Gerald. M. The Buffalo Creek Disaster. New York: Random House. 1976.