The county where I grew up is rated one of the top 40% of the dirtiest counties in the USA. This is according to the Good Guide Scorecard (2011) which keeps track of toxic pollution sites across the United States. The data for 2002 is available on the site with top polluters and the top carcinogens that were released into the environment. The five top polluting industries are listed below along with the amount in pounds of pollution emitted. (scorecard.goodguide.com)
1. Amberville Corporation, Vernon (17,180 pounds)
2. Cuno, Inc. in Stafford Springs (12,575 pounds)
3. Syn-Mar Products, Inc. in Ellington (2,959 pounds)
4. Tyco Printed Circuit Group, Stafford Division, Staffordville (1, 700 pounds)
5. Tyco Printed Circuit Group, Stafford Division, Stafford Springs (17 pounds) (Good Guide Scorecard, 2011, scorecard.goodguide.com)
The five toxic chemicals polluting the county in the largest concentrations in 2002 are listed below.
1. Toluene (12, 934 pounds)
2. Formaldehyde (12, 395 pounds)
3. Methyl Ethyl Ketone (4, 246 pounds)
4. Styrene (2,959 pounds)
5. Copper compounds (1,270 pounds) (Good Guide Scorecard, 2011, scorecard.goodguide.com
The largest polluter is a plating company which has been determined to be a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (National Priority List (NPL), 2011, epa.gov). The EPA.gov site explains why the plating process has been a source of toxic chemicals. The process includes the following chemicals and processes.
Alkaline cleaning, chemical etching, chrome plating, rinsing, buffing, and polishing. Wastes generated during this process include rinse waters containing heavy metals, batch wastes of alkaline cleaner and spent plating and etching acids. Prior to 1983, according to the company, rinse waters were discharged without a permit to a storm drain outside its building. Process plating acids and chrome plating wastes were stored on the ground in drums and a 500-gallon tank. (NPL, 2011, epa.gov)
Because the company ignored the need to evaluate, determine and capture toxic chemicals; toxic chemicals polluted 25 to 100 people’s drinking water supply (Good Guide Scorecard, 2011, scorecard.goodguide.com). The water was too dangerous to drink. In 1979 the EPA reports that the company “installed five shallow monitoring wells on-site, sample surface water and removed 20 cubic yard of contaminated soil” (NPL, 2011, epa.gov).
Good Guide website is designed so immediate action can be taken by sending a fax to the polluting industry or by sending an email to the EPA. There are environmental groups that are active throughout the US and globally so it would be good to join up. Networking with friends, classmates and instructors is another way to stay active about environmental issues.
Staying informed about environmental issues and keeping involved with friends and neighbors is important. Organizing or joining a group is a good way to stay energized about completing projects. Projects can be planned together and undertaken at the neighborhood, city, state, or national levels. Also people can easily make a difference by following the steps of reduce, reuse, and recycle.
It is very important for people to stay informed even if they cannot be active in a group. The climate change caused by global warming will only become worse unless urgent measures are taken for clean up. Also the health risks need to be avoided because the chemicals on the National Priority List are carcinogenic.
Good Guide. (2011) Scorecard The Pollution Information Site Retrieved from