Sep 28, 2013

Maine Lakes at Risk from LePage Administration

Maine Lakes at Risk from LePage Administration                                   Report Documents Damage to DEP’s Lake Protection Efforts

Tuesday September 24th, 2013

NRCM Press Release
The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) today released an investigative report documenting damage caused to the State of Maine’s lake protection efforts under the Administration of Governor LePage. 
Although Maine’s lakes are among our state’s most valuable natural resources, the NRCM report finds that the LePage Administration and current DEP leadership have put our lakes at increased risk by cutting DEP lake protection staff and resources, terminating education and technical assistance, purging DEP’s website of valuable public documents, disrupting the work of DEP scientific and technical staff members, and failing to enforce a Maine law that helps protect lake water quality.  
Troubled Waters: Damage to Maine’s Lake Protection Program Under the LePage Administration is based on information gathered from lake protection specialists across Maine and documents secured by NRCM through Freedom of Access Act requests.
“The report finds that Maine’s lake protection efforts have been curtailed, disrupted, and dismantled, and now are at the lowest levels in decades, raising serious questions about whether the DEP can protect the health and integrity of Maine lakes, as required by Maine law,” said NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim.
The decline in DEP’s lake protection programs comes at a time when the water quality of Maine lakes appears to be deteriorating. New research from the University of Maine shows that the clarity of Maine’s lakes has worsened since 1995. If this trend continues, the impact could be severe for Maine’s economy. Studies show that Maine’s lakes generate at least $3.5 billion in economic activity annually and help sustain 52,000 jobs.  
“Maine has some of the highest quality lakes in the nation, but the current administration is undermining the work that needs to be done to keep those lakes clean,” said Didisheim.
The report explains that over the past 40 years, with broad bipartisan support, Maine has adopted laws and programs that have helped protect the clean water in Maine lakes by reducing pollution, curbing the spread of invasive species, fostering school and lake association activities, and promoting best practices on shoreland properties. But that has changed over the past two years as the LePage Administration has drastically curtailed and disrupted DEP’s lake protection work. The report includes seven major findings and urges Maine lawmakers to begin now to reverse the damage. 

UMaine students find invasive Asian Shore crab on Great Wass Island

Bangor Daily News: Machias, Maine - A group of students from the University of Maine-Machias made a bittersweet discovery this week. They found an Asian shore crab on Great Wass Island in Beals, the northernmost point where the crab has been sighted. 

The excitement of their discovery was tinged with disappointment, however, because the Asian shore crab is an invasive species that threatens Maine’s coastal ecosystem.

The four students — Katie Barvenik, Bennett Ellis, Jacob Snyder and Wesley Turner — were participating in a field study as part of their marine ecology class with professor Brian Beal. They were taking samples — finding and counting marine life — on the rocky shore adjacent to the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education, of which Beal is research director.
It was a cold, windy Tuesday morning, and the students were working in hip waders and jackets. Ellis turned over a rock, and crabs scurried for cover.

Three of the students — Barvenik, Ellis and Snyder — discussed the discovery in a conference room on campus Thursday.

“Picked it up, the rock, there’s about six or eight crabs under there,” said Ellis. “I started grabbing a couple of the bigger ones that were crawling away. And Katie reached over and grabbed a few small ones in her hand and saw one of them was an Asian shore crab.”

She told the other students immediately that she found an Asian shore crab. Snyder told her she was wrong. "I knew it immediately,” said Barvenik, who is from Portsmouth, N.H. “I knew what it was.” She recognized it because she has seen them before around Bath and also in southern New England.

“They’re pretty easy to distinguish,” added Ellis.

“Part of me was really excited,” said Barvenik. At the same time, however, she and the other students and Beal felt a sense of discouragement. “It’s cool to find it,” said Barvenik, “but it is an invasive species.

“It definitely was disheartening and exciting,” she added.

Beal, describing the study in his office on Friday, acknowledged the sense of “trepidation” at finding “another invasive species in this part of the world.”
At the time Beal thought the northernmost finding of the Asian shore crab was around Searsport. However, he checked with officials of the state Department of Marine Resources and learned the northernmost presence of the crab was established in Schoodic Peninsula, which is east of Mount Desert Island, in 2005. Great Wass Island is roughly about 27 miles further up the coast from Schoodic Peninsula. The Asian shore crab was first discovered in the U.S. in Cape May, N.J., in 1988 and since then has moved slowly north.

“It’s interesting,” said Beal, “because it seems to be following the same pattern as green crabs.” Both species appear to have migrated up against the net flow of Maine’s coastal waters, which flow in a southerly direction from Lubec to Kittery, he explained. The European green crab, another invasive species that is damaging Maine’s coastal ecosystem, and the Asian shore crab both have managed to “buck the tide” he noted.

The reason is most likely human intervention — accidental, said Beal. The Asian shore crab probably was conveyed into the region through the movement of marine products, he said. Crabs easily could have been transported in a pool of water in a boat or some other accidental means. The crab is very tiny, its shell only growing to about the size of a silver dollar. The one found by the students is about one inch.

“The point is, it certainly was in a natural environment for it,” said Beal, under a rock, in the shade, protected, surviving and feeding on the ecosystem.

The Asian shore crab feeds on plants and animals, noted Beal, who has witnessed its destruction of the shoreline ecosystem in southern New England. “That’s what makes it so well suited for any habitat,” the fact that it feeds on both plant and animal life.

The tiny invader is prey for lobsters, crabs, birds and other species, noted Beal. However, it reproduces prolifically, which is why it has spread.

“I’m not sure what we can do,” said Beal. The type of damage the invader potentially can cause is “kind of disheartening,” he said.

Sep 22, 2013

Federal fishery agency AGAIN defending Penobscot Bay's fish & shellfish habitat

In 1995 and now in 2013, the National Marine Fisheries Service has consistently defended the fish- and shellfish-important shallows near Sears Island in upper Penobscot Bay.

In the mid 1990s, NMFS thwarted an effort by the King Administration to get a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers to build a woodchip port on Sears Island & dredge access to it. The scar of the ghostport is the only visible remains of that plan.

In 2013, NMFS is telling the Army Corps of Engineers that the Lepage administration plan to dredge the shoal separating Sears Island from the open harbor nearby Sears Island "represents significant new and permanent losses of shallow water habitats."

First the 1995 letter, then the 2013 letter.
* In this September 29, 1995 eight page letter, National Marine Fisheries Service regional director Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg tells Lt Col J. Michael Bradbury of Army Corps of Engineers that NMFS opposes the port plan because:
"The proposed Sears Island cargoport would be one of the most damaging coastal development projects to occur in New England since modern environmental standards went into effect in the 1970's."....
"...The National Marine Fisheries Service is opposed to the proposed Sears Island cargo terminal because it would destroy and degrade a very large area of extremely valuable habitat."

* In this August 28, 2013 five page letter about Maine DOT's plan for dredging outer Searsport Harbor, NMFS Louis A. Chiarella tells John R. Kennelly of the Army Corps of Engineers that:
"Unfortunately we continue to have significant concerns regarding the proposed project's impacts on our trust resources." ....
"Because the existing shallow water areas that would be impacted by the dredging have not been dredged in the past, the proposed project represents significant new and permanent losses of shallow water habitats."....
"Because the maneuvering area contains areas identified as EFH [Essential Fish Habitat] for spawning, egg development, larvae, and young of year winter flounder, we have determined that the proposed project would permanently impact winter flounder EFH."

---------------------end excerpts---------------------

Not bad! The 2013 letter is very carefully & cautiously worded, but NMFS knows what it is doing, and is making sure everything they write has backup.
We, too, need to be NMFS' backup. Maine DOT will do whatever backroom dealing it can to try to force the expansion dredging to happen. If a federal agency's fish habitat protectors continue to stand their ground in defense of Penobscot Bay all these years, shouldn't we?

Sep 21, 2013

GAC Chemical current (2013) pollution licenses and a 1998 discharge issue's Discharge Monitoring Reports

GAC's current pollution licenses as of 2-13
MPDES (water)    Air pollution license

GAC Chemical, like all companies that discharge into the water and air of Penobscot Bay, must file regualr Discharge Monitoring Reports to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Past Pollution Discharge Issues
Discharge monitoring report  3/27/98
Discharge monitoring report  3/31/98
Company Response 4/20/89 Part 1   Part 2  Part 3

Kidder Point & Mack Point: news & info 1903-1976, Plus 2002 in newspapers and government reports of the time

News  & reports on Searsport's Kidder Point & Mack Point. 1903 to 1976.  From New England newspapers and government reports of the time. 
1903 Armours may ship cattle via Stockton Springs
1905  Boston Maine Steamship Co wharf being built on Kidder Pt (column 3)
1906 Report on Kidder Point by Maine Bureau of Industry and labor
1907 Development of Searsport and Stockton Springs 1/15/1907
1907 American Fertilizer Co starts on Mack Pt, Powerplant on Kidder Pt   11/4/1907
1914 ME Railroad Board Ann Rpt on Kidder Pt Electric Plant 1914
1914 BAR RR closes Kidder Point power plant for Mack Point 2/29/1914
1925 BAR abandons Cape Jellison pier; expands Mack Point's  8/21/25
1928  Fire destroys giant Armor fertilizer plant in Searsport 12/31/28
1928 Knell sounded for Stockton Harbor
1941 Superphosphate use by states incl Maine
1943 Fire at Summers Fertilizer 5/1/43
1944 Price ceiling set on wartime Searsport superphosphate production 5/11/44
1952 Summers Fertilizer - Tour of superphosphate works 5/22/52
1956  Summers Fertilizer leader Totman gets award 10/26/56
1971 Summers Fertilizer leader's portrait presented to U Maine 4/21/71
1974 Submerged power cables plan between Kidder Pt & Sears Isld 12/23/74
* 1976  Delta Chemical gasses Searsport, causes Fernview shipwreck
Got news of early or mid 20th century Penobscot Bay? Email it as attachment or send us the link

New! 1980s to 2000s. Under construction
1982 State reopens cove off Kidder Point to shellfishing 1/29/82
2002 CLF/GAC settlement cash to benefit Stockton Harbor Pg 1--Pg 2 10/10/02

Sep 18, 2013

Searsport Hbr Dredging: Lobster zone D to partly oppose; DMR to hold public hearing; NMFS writes sternly worded letter to ACOE

Searsport Harbor Dredging Updates
1. Lobster zone D to oppose expansion dredging;
2. DMR to hold public hearing 
3. NMFS writes Army Corps a sternly worded letter

(1) The Zone D Lobster  Council, made up of area lobstermen, does  lobstering oversight of DMR 's ever changing rules regs and laws. Its region stretches from Muscongus Bay around  Penobscot Bay  to Castine.

At the September 17th meeting at the Rockland Ferry Terminal, the Zone D Council heard about problems associated with the dredging proposal from Mike Dassatt of Downeast Lobstermen's Association, Becky Bartovics and Ron Huber. The Council agreed to write a letter opposing expansion dredging, for all the reasons we know of, while supporting the planned maintenance dredging with  precautionary conditions. More about Lobster Zone Councils

(2) DMR's rep at the meeting, Sarah Cotnoir, said she had been told by DMR commissioner Pat Keliher that DMR is going to hold a  public hearing on the Searsport dredge proposal.. NOT a meeting. He is responding to letters he's received requesting the hearing.   

At issue has been DMR's steady insistence during the last  two decades of holding only "public meetings" on dredging proposals. Not public hearings.  Even though state law specifically requires the DMR Commissioner to hold a public hearing if requested by five or more persons......This time, public requests for a public hearing, and the enormous size of the latest dredge proposal, which adds  a 900,000 cubic yard  expansion  to the  40,000 cubic yardstandard maintenance dredging that was planned initially.

3. National Marine Fishery Services says it will take another look.. On August 21st, the National Marine Fisheries Service's New England  Habitat Conservation chief  Lou Chiarella,  wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers that NMFS was reopening its review of the Sears Island project, due to additional information coming to their attention  habitat consultation process. Some highlights from the letter:  (Boldfaced  bits done by Bay Blog for ease of reading)

NMFS: "Unfortunately, we continue to have significant concerns regarding the proposed project's impacts on our trust resources. The information provided in your August 9, 2013 letter, as well as personal communications with your staff indicated the amount of impact to shallow water habitat from the proposed improvement dredging would be much greater than our understanding based upon the information contained within the Environmental Assessment (EA), dated December 2012."

 "Furthermore, because this new information was not available during the EFH consultation, and because the new information would affect the basis of our EFH  conservation recommendation, we are reinitiating a distinct EFH consultation for the proposed project, pursuant to 50 CFR 600.920(1), and providing additional conservation recommendations.

"Based on this new information, we have concluded that the proposed dredging would result in a substantial change in the depth of the area with significant effects on shallow water benthic habitats.."   ".....we have determined that the proposed project would permanently impact winter flounder EFH."..

."In summary, because we received additional information regarding this project that changes the basis for some aspects of our original consultation on May 6,2013, we are reinitiating EFH consultation."
End of excerpts.

A quickly changing situation, bay friends! Stay tuned.

Sep 17, 2013

Lobster zone council to hear from opponents of Searsport dredge plan tonight

Tonight the Zone D lobster council - Muscongus Bay and West Penobscot Bay - meets in Rockland at the ferry terminal. Some guests will be there to try to fire up the lobstermen about the dredge-hell that the Army Corps of Engineers and Maine DOT hope to unleash on Penobscot Bay.
Should those agencies succeed, great plumes would arise, watery expanding mushroom clouds of tainted sediments, spreading far and wide the industrial wastes laid down there in the upper bay in the 19th and 20th centuries, as the prevailing currents at each depth demand. What would be in those plumes?

* Coal tar wastes from gas works of the19th century. Burnt coal ash & clinker waste by the megaton.

* The greases, oils and petrol of the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries' internal combustion age.

* The megatons of waste left behind by the mighty fertilizer factories of Mack Point and Kidder Point of the early to mid 20th century. (5 tons of waste for every ton of fertilizer produced)

* Dioxin & mercury contaminated effluvia of the 19th and 20th centuries from the rivers' papermills, that has come down and laid itself to rest in the upper bay's sediments.

* The sad and malodorous remains committed to the bay in the mid to late 20th century by Belfast poultry plants.

* Supporting it all, former virgin soils of the Penobscot River watershed, set free by 18th, 19th and 20th century logging and farming, travelling 100s of miles, now filling the mouth of Penobscot Bay, tinctured with the many flavors of the Maine Woods watershed plus all of the abovenamed unnatural pollutants.

There is no purpose to the expansion dredging. No Sears Island port wannabees needing more navigable space between mainland and Sears Island. Hence there is no need for the grandiose "expansion dredging" plans of Maine DOT that would set loose all that stuff in great silty toxic clouds, choking the bay-breathers, from zooplankton to barnacles to mummichogs to lobsters.

And, most dangerously for the bay's most profitable and productive

fishery, that dredge cloud would stop up our lobsters' scent receptors, making their survival in the cool dark waters of the bayfloor a matter of luck instead of smell-informed decisionmaking. "Odorem est Omnia!", Latin-speaking lobsters would contend, adding gloomily, "Nihil sit sine odore."

In short, that the maintenance dredging for the continued profitability of Mack Point be approved,with dredge spoil dumping subject to strict contamination and season limits, but the expansion dredge plan be pitilessly chopped away, for the cancerous growth that it would be

Sep 9, 2013

Delta Chemical's 1984 acid spill into Stockton Harbor. A soil & groundwater study

In May 1984, Delta Chemical spilled @ 1,500 gallons of sulfuric acid from their sulfuric acid plant on their land perched above Stockton Harbor. 

Consultant E.C. Jordan was hired to (1) assess hydrology of groundwater flow, (2) assess the extent of the sulfuric acid plume in the soil and groundwater and (3) see how much has gone offsite via groundwater.
Results summarized: 
Kidder Point's shore has from 2 feet to 15 feet of waste covering it. Shallow groundwater flows from spill site into tainted cove via intertidal seeps. This groundwater has high levels of sulfate and is very acidic - low pH. Acidity and sulfates decrease with distance from acid plant.

Sep 8, 2013

MDEP pollution team postpones GAC shore inspection FOR THIRD TIME.

Curiouser and curiouser....
Our Friday visit to Maine DEP's Bangor office to look at the pollution history of GAC Chemical  and polluters past on Kidder Point  had its highs and its lows.

The bad news: The agency has for the third time cancelled its site visit to examine GAC's shore in light of our complaints.  A sudden scheduling conflict; the field investigative team is needed elsewhere.  Improbable, given the number of times the agency visit to this polluted site has already been delayed. Did our unexpected introduction of the fertilizer waste problem into the Kidder Point cleanup discussion freak DEP out?

Was this a political postponement of the investigation? I.e. did a call from the head of "Maine's Chemical Company" to Governor Lepage lead to ruthlessly pro-industry Patty Aho Commissioner being tasked to throttle back  her employees' rush to examine that polluted shore? One wonders.  Meetings with the top GAC guy David Colter started well, too but petered out over the course of the year into canceled meetings and postponed cleanup plans.

The good news: We got access to about a thousand pages of well organized documents, charts, maps etc from two sub-bureaus, solid waste and remediation (polluted sites cleanup). The two officials that greeted us were professional and helpful.  Split among four of us, and a patient DEP receptionist/copy machine operator, we extracted about 180 pages of maps, charts, core sample data, pollution evaluations, enforcement letters/ replies and more. These will appear on the Friends of Penobscot Bay website as they get digitized.

The missing news: We saw DEP's attention was on the top layers of  alum production waste laid down after fertilizer production shut down in 1970.  But where did the 11 million tons of chemical waste from  fifty years of  fertilizer production on Kidder Point and Mack Point go?

Made by sulfuric acid drenching of phosphate ore, every ton of  superphosphate leaves five tons of  useless, unhealthily radioactive and highly acidic waste "phosphogypsum" behind.  Phosphogypsum (PG) is a problem powdery waste. Too much radium, uranium and radon for use in inhabited areas, according to US EPA. But every day more thousands of tons are produced around the world. So  much that  it is piled in enormous stacked  pyramids around the world, some of them visible from outer space  thanks to our fertilizer-using planetary civilization.

Searsport's fertilizer's  main market was the state's potato farms. Phosphate ore and sulfur arrived at Mack Point by ship; fertilizer went from Searsport to the tater-growing County by rail. Potatoes came back down the rail to Searsport for export.

Kidder Point & Mack Point both hosted a series of fertilizer companies:
1907 American Agricultural Chemical Company built plant and pier. Mack Pt
1907-1914 B&A RR runs electric power plant on Kidder Point  for AACC, etc.
1909  Hubbard (later Armour) Fertilizer sets up  Mack Pt
1919 Summers Fertilizer  Kidder Pt
1944 Northern Chemical Kidder Point
1966 W.R. Grace  Kidder Pt
1970 Delta Chemical  Kidder Pt
1994 to present: General Alum and Chemical(GAC)  Kidder Point

Superphosphate was made there. Lots of it.
In 1962 alone, Searsport would have generated 225,000 tons of waste while making 45,000 tons of superphosphate. Where is it?  Over fifty years, around 11 million tons of phosphogypsum would have been discarded in Searsport. Where is that? 

It is logical that the abovementioned  companies would deposit this toxic material nearby as possible.  It is most likely lining Kidder Point, Mack Point and even Sears Island  and was probably dumped into abandoned quarries like those in Northport. The amount of postponing by both the company and by MDEP suggests something is wrong on the shores of Stockton Harbor.

GAC Chemical and  Maine DEP would do better to speedily investigate the site and get the necessary remediation done and over with. Stockton Harbor, with its entrance only yards from the mouth of Penobscot River, is a very important part of Penobscot Bay's estuary system. A century of waste deposition and spillage into it from Kidder Point is a legacy that must be confronted and dealt with.

Time to  get the site investigation rescheduled AGAIN.

Sep 6, 2013

Phosphogypsum waste and the marine environment - science reports

Stockton Harbor's Kidder Point is host to industrial wastes from at least six fertilizer and chemical manufacturing companies that have operated there since the early 20th century.

The first five companies operated before  federal & state antipollution laws like the federal Clean Water Act and the Maine Site Location of Development Act were enacted in the 1970s. They collectively disposed of  tons of contaminated waste left over  from superphosphate fertilizer production. sulfuric acid production and alum production


A ROMANIAN FIELD STUDY  "Metal uptake analyses (not presented here) showed higher concentrations of metals (up to 7 fold more) in plants grown on PG substrates, than in the same plants grown on normal soil. "Abstract The restoration of an uncontrolled phosphogypsum landfill was investigated for its effects on the
seasonal distribution of phytoplankton, ciliates, and copepods".  "Results showed drastic reduction of phosphate input and greater diversity of phytoplankton, ciliates, and copepods than before restoration. Pennate diatoms and new ciliates, considered bio-indicators of less-stressed marine ecosystems, proliferated in the A1 pond for the first time after restoration. Copepods appeared to feed on a wide range of prey."

IMPACT OF PHOSPHOGYPSUM AND OTHER FACTORY EFFLUENTS ON MEIOFAUNA COMMUNITIES OF BATROUN COASTAL REGION R. Mouawad 1, 2, G. Khalaf 1  and Y. Salameh 2 Meiofauna assemblages (nematodes) were sampled in summer 2007 and winter 2008 at ten stations along Batroun coastal region in North Lebanon, offshore from the fertilizer factory.

"A survey of the major meiofaunal taxa was made in order to study the impact of
chemical discharges (phosphogypsum) on meiofaunal population composition and density. There were significant changes in the community density and composition in the stations located in front of the plant (S5 to S8). Total meiofauna abundance was the lowest in the stations located in front of the plant."

Impacts of restoration of an uncontrolled phosphogypsum dumpsite on the seasonal distribution of abiotic variables, phytoplankton, copepods, and ciliates in a man-made solar saltern (Middle east). "Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 185 (2012) Accepted: 10 May 2012
"Abstract The restoration of an uncontrolled phosphogypsum landfill was investigated for its effects on the seasonal distribution of phytoplankton, ciliates, and copepods. Sampling was carried out monthly from September 2007 to August 2008 at four ponds of increasing salinity (A1, 41 psu; A5, 46 psu; A16, 67 psu; and C31, 77 psu) in the Sfax solar saltern (southeastern Tunisia). Physicochemical and biological analyses were carried out using standard methods.

Results showed drastic reduction of phosphate input and greater diversity of phytoplankton, ciliates, and copepods than before restoration. Pennate diatoms and
new ciliates, considered bio-indicators of less-stressed marine ecosystems, proliferated in the A1 pond for the first time after restoration. Copepods appeared to feed on a wide range of prey."

Assessment of phosphogypsum impact on the salt-marshes of the Tinto river (SW Spain): Role of natural attenuation processes by Aguasanta Miguel Sarmiento
About 120 Mton of phosphogypsum from the fertiliser industry were stack-piled on the salt-marshes of the Tinto river (Spain). This paper investigates the capacity of salt-marshes to attenuate contamination due to downward leaching from phosphogypsum. Solids and pore-waters were characterized at different depths of the pile to reach the marsh-ground. In superficial zones, metals were highly mobile, and no reduced sulphur was found. However, pollutant concentration decreased in the pore-water in deeper oxygen-restricted zones. Metal removal occurred by precipitation of newly formed sulphides, being this process main responsible for the contamination attenuation. Pyrite-S was the main sulphide component (up to 2528 mg/kg) and occurred as framboids, leading to high degrees of pyritization (up to 97%). The sulphidization reaction is Fe-limited; however, excess of acid-volatile sulphide over other metals cause precipitation of other sulphides, mainly of Cu and As. This decrease in metal mobility significantly minimises the impact of phosphogypsums on the salt-marshes.► Natural attenuation of contaminants occurs in phosphogypsums disposed on salt-marshes. ► Metals are highly mobile in superficial zones under oxidizing conditions. ► Mobility and toxicity strongly decrease in deep zones under oxygen-restricted conditions. ► Metal removal occurs by sulphate reduction and precipitation of metallic sulphides. ► Salt-marsh sulphate-reducing bacteria likely catalyse these natural processes. Publication Name: Marine Pollution Bulletin"

EPA about Phosphogypsum The United States Environmental Protection Agency has banned most applications of phosphogypsum "with a radium-226 concentration of greater than 10 picocurie/gram (0.4 Bq/g)."  "Due to the operational processes, which included the necessity to make sulfuric on site and the need for vast amounts of lead-lined chambers and vats to contain the corrosive acid, the sites left behind significant problems most notably with lead and arsenic contamination of soil and groundwater."

South Carolina Historic Superphosphate Fertilizer Industry.


Guidelines for  Management and Handling of Phosphogypsum Generated from Phosphoric Acid Plants [IN INDIA](Final Draft) CENTRAL POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD (Ministry of Environment & Forests) Parivesh Bhawan, East Arjun Nagar  DELHI -110 032 Website:

European strategy for  use of phosphorus related chemicals (phosphogypsum)
"Phosphogypsum from the sulphuric acid dissolution should be re-used to the extent possible. If this is not practicable it has to be disposed of in a disposal facility appropriately equipped. A discharge into waters does not comply with BAT..."

A new approach to determine the phosphogypsum spread from the deposition site into the environment
Phosphogypsum (PG), a waste product in phosphate fertilizer production, is characterized by technically enhanced natural radioactivity. The presented investigation was performed on a PG deposition site in Croatia. A new approach in the determination of the spread of PG particles from the deposition site into the environment based on the PG particle radioactivity measurements is suggested and explained. The stationary diffusion model was assumed and employed to describe long term PG particle transfer into the surroundings. The advantage of this method is that it requires a minimal number of measurement locations and offers a realistic and reliable distribution of PG particles. The mass concentration of PG particles decreased to the distance of about 3 m, at most up to 10 m from the deposition site edge. The results indicate that a unique mechanism of particle transport exists and the migration of PG particles by surface water is the dominant way of their spread. The particle current deduced from the measurements was very low, approximately 4.05 × 10−2 kg/h, and the migration coefficient was approximately 1.69 × 10−5 m2/h. The obtained results confirmed the initial hypothesis of the stationarity of the migration process, reached within about 6 years."

Investigation of the radiological impact on the coastal environment surrounding a fertilizer plant. J Environ Radioact. 2013 Jun 13.
This investigation was carried out in order to assess the marine environmental radioactive pollution and the radiological impact caused by a large production plant of phosphate fertilizer, located in the Lebanese coastal zone. Natural radionuclides (238U, 235U, 232Th, 226Ra, 210Po, 210Pb, 40K) and anthropogenic 137Cs were measured by alpha and gamma spectrometry in seawater, sediment, biota and coastal soil samples collected from the area impacted by this industry. The limited environmental monitoring program within 2 km of the plant indicates localized contamination with radionuclides of the uranium decay chain mainly due to the transport, the storage of raw materials and the free release of phosphogypsum waste.

Environmental impact and management of phosphogypsum 

The production of phosphoric acid from natural phosphate rock by the wet process gives rise to an industrial by-product called phosphogypsum (PG). About 5 tons of PG are generated per ton of phosphoric acid production, and worldwide PG generation is estimated to be around 100–280 Mt per year. This by-product is mostly disposed of without any treatment, usually by dumping in large stockpiles. These are generally located in coastal areas close to phosphoric acid plants, where they occupy large land areas and cause serious environmental damage. PG is mainly composed of gypsum but also contains a high level of impurities such as phosphates, fluorides and sulphates, naturally occurring radionuclides, heavy metals, and other trace elements. All of this adds up to a negative environmental impact and many restrictions on PG applications. Up to 15% of world PG production is used to make building materials, as a soil amendment and as a set controller in the manufacture of Portland cement; uses that have been banned in most countries. The USEPA has classified PG as a “Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material” (TENORM).
This work reviews the different environmental impacts associated with PG storage and disposal.