Dec 24, 2014

Grimmel Industries' waterfront scrap metal junkard proposal - Peter Taber on why it's a terrible idea for Searsport.

By Peter Taber, Wild Maine Times.

When many older junked cars are shredded, hard-to-reach mercury switches including mercury switches used as part of brake anti-skid systems are frequently not removed even though this is in violation of state law and the U.S. Clean Water Act. These switches get torn apart in the shredder and their extremely toxic contents spattered freely about the scrap pile.

This accounts for most of the unacceptably high levels of inorganic mercury that for the past dozen years have been detected entering the Piscataqua River at Portsmouth, NH., near Grimmel Industries' waterfront scrap metal piles. This mercury is in addition to unacceptable levels of other scrap metal contaminants — among them polychlorinated biphenyls, aluminum, copper, iron, lead, and zinc — entering the waters of the United States in runoff from Grimmel Industries' Portsmouth operations.

On three occasions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gone after Grimmel Industries (pdf) imposing civil fines totaling over half a million dollars for repeated instances of toxic waste dumping and reporting violations. The behavior of owner Gary Grimmel of Topsham, Maine, in continuing these violations with an apparent sense of impunity suggests he made a cold-blooded cost-benefit analysis and concluded the EPA fines were merely an acceptable cost of doing business.

What Grimmel appears to have overlooked in making his calculations is that this sociopathic behavior would cause the City of Portsmouth and the Pease Development Authority to disinvite Grimmel Industries. With his lease expired at year's end and the welcome mat in Portsmouth rolled up, Gary Grimmel is looking to a new industrial waterfront community to bring his poisonous commodity. With foreign fossil energy company Sprague Energy as his eager new landlord, that community seems to be Searsport.

The question now is has Searsport's municipal leadership learned anything over the past 40 years from being suckered in by one addle-brained pitch for irresponsible heavy industry after another.

Here's a press release from Conservation Law Foundation, which has been at the forefront in drawing attention to Grimmel Industries' activities in Portsmouth:

Here's a 2011 news article about EPA civil actions against Grimmel Industries in New Hampshire before the company subsequently was denied the opportunity to renew its lease to continue polluting the Piscataqua River:

And here's a portion of the Republican Journal account of last Tuesday's (Dec. 16) Searsport selectmen's meeting at which the board held a public hearing about but tabled action on Grimmel Industries' application to establish a junkyard on Sprague Energy's waterfront property at Mack Point in Searsport:

By Stephanie Grinnell | Dec 19, 2014
SEARSPORT — There was much discussion but little action on the part of Searsport Selectmen Dec. 16 as they addressed a junkyard application....

Grimmel Industries LLC, a scrap metal recycling company, submitted an application to open a junkyard on Mack Point, an industrial area of town. While selectmen ultimately decided to table the application, citing a need for additional information, there was some discussion.

“I want to do this right, especially since it's the first one,” Selectmen Chairman Aaron Fethke said.
Town Manager James Gillway said there are only a few criteria for selectmen to consider, including proper screening of the operations taking place on 2.5 acres. He said the application submitted by Grimmel states there will be no shredding of automobiles — a noise concern brought up by Selectman Jack Merrithew — and screening should not be an issue as the only abutter wants the business located there.

In its application, Grimmel described the operation as a marine transfer yard and estimated truck traffic to be limited to around 10 trucks, or four rail cars, per day.

Boston resident John Hassey suggested selectmen be wary and conduct due diligence prior to granting a junkyard permit to Grimmel. He noted there have been ongoing noise and environmental issues with the company's Portsmouth, N.H., location.
According to previously published reports, Pease Development Authority declined to renew a contract with Grimmel and requested the company cease operations and clean up its 3-acre site on Piscataqua River before the end of the year.
The development authority and Grimmel originally entered into a contract in Portsmouth in 2002. In 2011, the company was ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency to stop allowing runoff into the river.
According to EPA documents, “ … stormwater discharges from Grimmel's metal scrapyard operation contain metals, suspended solids and chemical oxygen demand which exceed permit benchmarks. Further the stormwater discharges contain mercury and PCBs …” The state of New Hampshire issued a warning to limit consumption of salt water fish as well as lobster, according to the EPA.

It is unclear when selectmen will next address the application.

Dec 22, 2014

Coming event: Maine legislator to explain Ocean Acidification Commission results January 7th, Belfast Public Library. Plus Fundy Baykeeper & GAC win.

BELFAST.  Coastal acidification, ocean acidification & remarks from the Fundy Baykeeper on the new Penobscot Baykeeper plan are on the agenda for the January 7, 2015 meeting of Friends of Penobscot Bay. The meeting will be held in the Belfast Public Library's 3rd floor meeting room, from 6pm to 7:30pm.  Free and open to all. 

Representative Mick Devin will discuss and take questions on the new report by Maine's Ocean Acidification Commission that crystallizes the thinking from across the spectrum of Maine governmental, academic, aquaculture fishery and  and other living marine resources interests.  

Representative Devin is co-leader of the commission. He says that the Commission's top priority is to institute regular acid testing of flats and waters along the entire length of the Maine coast.  

Until then, Devin says, regulators have no idea what the hot spots of the Maine coast are that most need remediation. The commission also calls for several other initiatives including stricter enforcement of state pollution laws and hatchery production of softshell clams, growing them in that sheltered environment to a size that can successfully resist shell corrosion from acidic waters and from green crabs, before releasing them into Maine's increasingly acidic and crab-infested flats,  as well as sveral other initiative

Before Representative Devin's talk, Ron Huber of the Friends of Penobscot Bay will briefly describe his group's success at getting longtime coastal acidifier GAC Chemical Corporation to agree to remove acidic wastes from its waterfront and shore up part of an eroding bluff that has sent tons of spent bauxite ore and sulfuric acid  directly into Stockton Harbor over the  past 40 years. The group will commend GAC Chemical for taking this important first step in healing the harbor's industrialized southwestern cove. 

Fundy Baykeeper Matt Abbott will follow Representative Devin. Matt is one of two baykeepers of the Gulf of Maine (along with outgoing Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne). Baykeeper programs vary widely.  

Each is custom-fitted to the unique environment ecology, sociology and economy of that bay, river or lake-keeper. Casco Baykeeper and  Fundy Baykeeper have different but quite effective modus operandis reflecting their different circumstances.

Friends of Penobscot Bay leader Huber said his group envisions having the best of both programs: the research and agency/legislative interaction of the Casco Baykeeper's program and the Fundy Baykeeper's focus on advocacy and oversight of coastal industrialization & sprawl proposals large and small, 

"With a little help from our friends we'll be able to carry out  our missions and steward Penobscot Bay through the ongoing changes in acidity, climate and population," he said.

The event is free and open to the public. All interested in Penobscot Bay including students, bay-dependent businesses, and everyone who loves or cares about Penobscot Bay are urged to attend.

For  more information contact the Friends of Penobscot Bay at 207-691-7485 or

Friends of Penobscot Bay: people who care about Maine's biggest bay

Dec 18, 2014

News story: GAC finds sulfur in soil on property, submits remediation plan to DEP

From the Belfast Republican Journal

GAC finds sulfur in soil on property, submits remediation plan to DEP

Sulfur identified as source of acidic conditions on nearby shore
By Jordan Bailey | Dec 14, 2014
Photo by: Jordan BaileyThis photo of a picture in the CES investigation summary shows layers of sulfur in a test pit on GAC property.
SEARSPORT — A voluntary investigation by GAC Chemical Corp. into contamination associated with a historic sulfuric acid plant on its property found buried sulfur and acidic groundwater at the former plant site and acidic conditions on the adjacent shore.
The company plans to remediate the contaminated area by removing the sulfur, stabilizing an eroding bank, and adding an alkaline buffer to treat groundwater.
Activist group Friends of Penobscot Bay and Dr. Mark Green, environmental science professor at St. Joseph's College, conducted a study of shoreline sediment early this year which yielded similar results, though the organization could not persuade any official channels to investigate further.
DEP had done a visual inspection of the Kidder Point site in October 2013 at the request of the activist group and determined that no investigation, erosion control or remediation was necessary. Environmental Specialist Karen Knuuti, who wrote the memo on the inspection, said in a Dec. 10 interview at the Bangor DEP office that, although she had noted water flowing over an area with sulfur visible on the ground would run off toward an area of discoloration on the shore, it was not clear if the discoloration was caused by the runoff. She said her supervisors determined that further investigation was not necessary.
However, GAC opted to initiate its own investigation and entered into an agreement with DEP through its Voluntary Response Action Program to investigate and clean up any contamination found in exchange for liability protection. The company has recently submitted to DEP an investigation summary, public involvement plan, and remediation and shoreline stabilization plan.
The environmental services company CES Inc., based in Brewer, conducted the comprehensive investigation. According to the investigation summary report, CES reviewed reports of 24 sulfuric acid spills that occurred between 1981 and 1997 and found spills that "occurred prior to GAC acquiring the site [in 1994] [have] the potential to impact the tidal zone.”
CES measured pH of the sediment at 45 locations along the entire shoreline of GAC's property in August. Six locations measured between pH of 2.2 and 3.0. CES identified that area as well as the vicinity of the historic sulfur acid plant as an area of interest for further study.
The low numbers indicate high acidity. A pH of 7 is neutral, and the average pH of seawater is slightly basic at 8.1. Green said in his April 9 report on his study of samples collected by FOPB that sediments with pH measurements in the 6's and below should be considered incapable of supporting any marine life.
CES also sampled soil and groundwater in the area of the historic sulfuric acid plant and found them to be acidic as well. Boring samples were taken to determine soil types and groundwater depths. Sulfur was found in five borings, and groundwater pH was measured as low as 1.73 in one boring.
In October, test pits were excavated up to seven feet deep to determine the extent of the buried sulfur. Sulfur was found at varying depths in the 12 pits on GAC property from 2 to 54 inches, in a layer measuring between 2 and 16 inches thick. CES indicated the presence of this subsurface sulfur layer was previously unknown to GAC.
The investigation summary concluded that the sulfur is the source of the low pH measured and that no other possible acid sources were encountered. It stated the long-term storage of sulfur at the site and its presence in the soil creates conditions for soil bacteria to produce sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid infiltrates into the soil and groundwater, which flows from northeast to southwest in that area. The study also concluded that low pH conditions are limited to where sulfur is present or to areas immediately downhill of the sulfur because an underlying impermeable clay layer is blocking groundwater from spreading to other areas.
CES recommended "removal of visible sulfur to the extent practical ... and in-situ treatment (i.e. lime application or other soil amendment to increase pH)."
According to the remediation plan, sulfur on GAC property will be excavated and stored in a covered, leak-proof container. The proposed clean-up goal is to leave no more than 4-percent sulfur in the soil and to neutralize the remainder with alkaline product and limestone applied to the soil surface, in accordance with the 2011 “Guidelines for Landfill Disposal of Sulfur Waste and Remediation of Sulfur Containing Soils” publication by the government of Alberta, Canada. Erosion and sediment control will be done before the excavation work begins.
GAC has also proposed shoreline stabilization at an eroding bank near the former sulfur plant and treatment of the low pH groundwater flowing into the intertidal area. The plan outlines excavating from the high water line to the elevated area, adding limestone-based rip-rap and alkaline material, leveling slopes, adding geotextile and planting vegetation.
Friends of Penobscot Bay President Ron Huber is calling for greater public involvement in the GAC's VRAP proceedings, and for the removal of the acidic mud in the intertidal area.
"The idea that the company and its consultants are sufficient stakeholders to arrive at the level of cleanup of a public resource in this harbor is outlandish and a slap in the face to those stakeholders, Friends of Penobscot Bay, to the Town of Searsport Shellfish Committee, and all who care about bay fish and wildlife that will benefit by a reduced acid burden," Huber said in a press release.
GAC did seek input on the remediation plan from Green, who also serves on the state Ocean Acidification Commission. Green did not recommend dredging in the intertidal area. In a Nov. 13 email to GAC, which CES included in the public communication plan, he wrote: “I think removing the source material, applying the alkalinity buffer to treat the groundwater, and stabilizing the slope of the problem area represents the perfect remediation approach. I don't think dredging the intertidal area where low pH pore waters were originally found is appropriate and, at least in my opinion, would add nothing to the remediation plan. In fact, dredging this region would be detrimental, could easily create a whole range of other issues, and will not do anything to rectify the problem.... In my opinion, once [the sulfur is] gone, the acidity problems of the intertidal will quickly correct themselves.”
The public communication plan states that GAC will provide VRAP documents to the Augusta and Bangor DEP offices and to the town of Searsport where they are available for public viewing; and that the company will notify the town manager when remediation activities are to begin and when they are complete.
GAC President David Colter was not available for comment Friday, Dec. 12.
The Searsport Selectmen will discuss the plans at their Dec. 16 meeting.
Related articles:

Dec 11, 2014

Trawlers and North Atlantic deepwater corals don't mix!

In 2002,  a Canadian trawl survey dragger inadvertently or uncaringly pulled its net through part of  the Romey's Peak Coral Conservation Area, located in between Browns Bank and Georges Bank (see map) A  stand of primnoan coral was  quite impacted.

Dec 9, 2014

Indian Place Names of Waldo & Knox Counties

From "Indian Place Names of New England, Compiled 1962 by John C Huden, Heye Foundation. New York Museum of the American Indian

Agoncy a mythical Indian place near the mouth of Penobscot River, Waldo County, Me. Huron, "an island." Anciently Aguncia,
Aguahassideck Fort Point, Waldo Co, Me. Abnaki, "landing place for canoes." also where otters slid into the water; "otter-slides."
Aguahega Damariscove Island, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "a landing place" for canoes.
Aguncia Waldo County, Me. Probably Huron, "an island." See Agoncy.
Ammacongan Falls, St. George River, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, ''fish drying and curing" station. Variant: Ammon-congin.
Awassawamkeak Sears Island, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "the shining sandy beach and beyond."
Catamawawa North Branch of Marsh River, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "very rough" ? (k'tamahaga).
Edalitehwakeelamook. Bald Hill Cove, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "place where they run uphill" trial of strength & endurance.
Essick, Stockton Harbor, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "clam place." These were softshell clams used for baking and steaming.
Heagan Mountain, Waldo County, Me. PennacookP "a dwelling." Possibly named for chief Sampson Hegan, 1698.
Kanakolus Bay, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "long flame"?
Kinabsk atnek , Mount Waldo, Waldo Co, Me. Abnaki, "steep rocky mountain."
K'tchi-peskwahonda Fort Knox, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "big guns."
Kwikwimes-witicook Marsh River, Waldo Co, Me. Abnaki, "black duck stream."
Madagamus Hill, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "snowshoe tracks" left by Glooskap when he jumped across Penobscot Bay, in pursuit of a moose calf.
Mosemadage Castine, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "snow shoe marks." Spelled also Mosemadega.
Ooniganissek Cape Jellison Neck, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "at the short carry." Also Ouinigansek
Opeche Stream in Waldo County, Me. Chippewa, "a robin."
Paquatanee Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "far from us," off the beaten track, out of the way.
Passagas-sa-waukeag at head of Belfast Bay, Waldo County, Me. Malecite, "place for spearing sturgeon by torch light."
Passawaukeag Lake, Waldo County, Me. Malecite, "place of the sturgeon."
Penopsquacook Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, ''steep, rocky place."
Pitow baygook Long Island, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "be- tween two channels;" also given as Pitau-begwi-menahanuk, "the island between two channels."
Quantabacook Lake, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "plenty of game (fur-bearing) animals."?
Quontabacook Lake, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "plenty of (muskrat or beaver) at this pond."
Sacasaaki River, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "place near a small outlet," or "land near a brook" ?
Sheepscot Pond, River and Village, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "many rocky channels." Also, Shepscooke, Shippscutt, etc. Sheganishkachoke see Shaganiscathoke.
Tuck Mountain, Waldo County, Me. Doubtful; if Indian, probably Abnaki, "a tree." But more likely from English.
Wakalosen Fort Knox, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "rocks in a circle;" hence an enclosure, a fort.
Wasa-umkeag Sears Island, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "at the shining sandy beach." Also Wasumkeag and Wassamkeag.
Winnecook Village, Waldo County, Me. Ahnaki, "at the portage."
Cheemahn, Long Island, Waldo County, Me.,

Acquehadongonock Point, Knox Co, Me. Ahnaki,"place where canoes are slid in and out of water." Canoe-harbor at fishing place
Ahquanahaganoc Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "a sweat bath."
Bedabek Knox County, Me. Malecite, "head of the bay" at Rockland. Variant, Bedabedec.
Catawamkeak shores of Knox County, Me., near Rockland.
Chebogardinac Knox County, Me. Penobscot, "at the high hill."
Cheouanasag Falls, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "at the big portage."
Chickawaukee Lake, Knox County, Me. This is not a genuine Indian name, but a composite "good, sweet, fresh, or drinkable."
Emmetinic Matinicus Island, Knox County, Me. This old form  appears in the Jesuit Relations, 1611. See Matinicus.
Kaskoonaguk Mark Island, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "crane island."
Katawamkeag. Lermond's Cove, Knox Co Me. Abnaki, "the great landing place," or "much sand exposed when the tide is out."
Konesanouskek St. George Peninsula, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "at the long rocky place."
K't-ahguantek the Grand Landing Place, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "the principal landing place."
Ma-adameg Falls, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "alewives place."
Mada-Kamigosek modern Indian name for Camden, Knox County, Me. Penobscot-Abnaki, "big ridge place."
Madam Bettox Mountain, Knox County, Me. Abnaki?  "alewives' pond," Chickawaukee. Also Medambettox, Medambetek.
Magwin tegwak Lincolnville Beach, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "choppy seas."
Majum-quassebem Pond, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "worthless (or bad) pond."
Mastomquoog Island, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "the place of  big rocks" ?
Matinicus Island and Rock, Knox County, Me. The largest of a group of islands well out to sea. Abnaki, "far-out island."
Megunticook Lake, Knox County, Me. Micmac or Malecite, "big mountain harbor."
Menannah Bay and Island, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "the island, out at sea."
Menasquassicook Matinicus Island, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "at the grassy islands.
Meniekec St. George Island, Knox Co, Me. Abnaki, "at the place of the sheltering island".Windbreak for canoes. Also Meniquet.
Meskeekwagamasic Black Pond, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "grassy pond," or "pond with grassy banks."
Metinic Island, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "far out island." Variant, Metineag.
Monhegan Island, Knox County, Me. Malecite? Micmac? "out to sea island." Variant, Monliagon.
Moniecook Barter Island, Knox County, Me. Micmac, "at the island."
Moratiggon Island, Knox County, Me. Probably Old Abnaki,  "passage, or strait" between the island and the mainland.
Murranook Island, Knox County, Me. Malecite, "the island." See Monhegan.
Namdamassuag'im Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "sucker lake."
Necotok location unknown, perhaps in Knox County, Me?.
Negunisis Knox County, Me. Abnaki, contraction and modification of Ouinigansees, "small (or short) portage." Also Negunsis.
Negunticook Camden Harbor, Knox County, Me. Micmac, "big mountain harbor."
Nehumkee or Nehumkike Several places in York, Cumberland, Knox, Penobscot, Kennebec, Counties, Me. Abnaki, "eel place"
Nequassabemasis Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "small pond."
Nequassebem Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "a pond or lake."
Netakamikus Knox County, Me. Penobscot- Abnaki, "big ridge." Variant, Netiikhamakoos.
Nollidgewanticook River, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "place above the falls in the river" ?
Nusalk Chunangan maybe on Penobscot Bay, Knox County, Me. Perhaps Abnaki, "village near the big fish weir." Nutskamongan. Poguassek Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "moonlight," or "moonlit place." See also Pok-o -moonshine.
Pudjquenssis-ak Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "abode of the powerful sorceress." ? Variant, Pukdjinskwes.
Quesquitcumegek Ridge Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "long carry over high land," or "long ridge." Also Quesquitcumgee.
Quisquamego Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "long ridge," or "long peninsula." Also Kwesahkamegus.
Raggertask Island, Ragged Island, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki? Micmac? possibly from naghetobsk, "island rocks." ?
Saquid mouth of St. George River, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "the outlet'.
Segocket mouth of St. George River, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "at the outlet." Variants Segoquet, Segocket, Segohquet.
Sennebec or Sennibec Pond, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "rocks in the pond."
Sooneybeag Pond, Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "stones in pond."
Squitcomegek Falls, Knox County, Me. Abnaki, "at the long ridge.''
Tahanock Knox County, Me. Micmac, "toward the open sea;"  this is on Simanca's Map, 1610.
Torube Pond, Knox County, Me. Old Abnaki, "snapping-turtle," or (along the coast) a large sea-turtle, a terrapin.
Tsabakwa Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "I hide my provisions," or, "I cache my food."
Tzawapa Knox County, Me. Old Abnaki, "a crossing place in a river or stream," that is, "a ford." Also Tzawipi.
Wawenock Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties, Me. Abnaki, "bay country" or "inlet places." Until 1730 ( ?) populated by
Walinakiak, "people of the bay country" Moved to Canada. Last known Walinakiak speaker died 1919 in Becancour, Quebec,
Wakalosen Fort Knox, Waldo County, Me. Abnaki, "rocks in a circle;" hence an enclosure, a fort.
Wedebegek Knox County, Me. Malecite? Micmac? "head of the bay," the beginning of Penobscot Bay.
Weskeag Creek, Knox County, Me. See Wessaweskeag.
Wessaweskeag Knox County, Me. Ahnaki, "tidal creek at the  peninsula." Now Weskeag. Variant, Wessamesskek.


Dec 5, 2014

GAC VRAP Application request assistance. August 26, 2014

GAC VRAP Conceptual Site Model for cleanup of the site

GAC VRAP Site spills history & subsurface Sampling Plan

GAC Chemical VRAP site online documents archive

Key August & November 20124 documents of  GAC Chemical's VRAP remediation application.  its Kidder Point property in Stockton Harbor
Pursued under Maine's Voluntary Response Action Program.T  Note: Friends of Penobscot Bay  & our existing site documentation

GAC Chemical VRAP Plan CES Remediation and Shoreline Stabilization Plan

GAC VRAP Investigations Summary Report. November 2014 (14 pages)