Jul 18, 2015

GAC Chemical now employee-owned - will they finally clean up New England's worst landbased ocean acidification source?

Good news! Maine DEP's voluntary remediation chief Nick Hodgkins just wrote that GAC Chemical IS planning to do the long delayed work of removing tons of highly acidic sulfur wastes from its shoreline - apparently this year!

According to Nick the company is in the throes of selecting a contractor to carry it out. Ever optimistic, he wrote that "They have confirmed that the work will be completed in 2015."
Go GAC! Put out that acid "fire" burning the bay!

The site on Kidder Point [presently owned by GAC Chemical  has a fascinating history both as  as a  transportation hub in the 19th century and as host to a succession of  fertilizer and chemical producers in the 20th century.  

For quite some time, to the chagrin of Maine DEP and to the disappointment of the bay conservation community, GAC under Mr Poure had dawdled  on that cleanup project.  It was to be last fall, then it was to begun this spring. Now  GAC has told MDEP it can get it done by the end of this year.  

Whats the problem with the GAC Shore? As a nationally recognized ocean acidifica holds the uneviable top position of being the worst land-based ocean acidifier in the Gulf of  Maine - and  likely along the entire Atlantic coast.  

Why? Because,  before it drains into Stockton Harbor, every raindrop and every snowflake  landing on the landfilled rim of GAC's Kidder Point property  must leach through 1000s of tons of highly acidic sulfur, bauxite and phosphate waste, that was laid down into wooden containment cells along the company's shore between 1940 and 1970 -when the practice of shoreline dumping was banned under the then new federal Clean Water Act 

These legacy waste cells left by GAC's predecessors Northern Chemical, WR Grace and Delta Chemical have not been maintained since the 70s. They are  now crumbling. Result? Tons of acidic sulfur and alum wastes have eroded and continue to erode  into Stockton Harbor, and constitute the worst chronicacid spill that the Gulf of Maine has ever known. 

Details at www.penbay.org,  but the going away message is:  if the employees want to exercise their ownership authority to do their host communities a good turn, they will  direct Mr Colter to immediately move forward  with the plan submitted by GAC to Maine DEP and, as promised,  remove the  tons of  highly acidic sulfur wastes  buried  a few yards from the high tide line before the snow flies

Mother Nature now has a fiery  red & black tattoo - visible from space - burnt into her by this runoff that leaving the flats plumes off into the harbor with each storm, carrying its load of chemicals and heavy metal  leachates with it

I have met many who work at GAC Chemical or have retired from it. and am sure they want to do the right thing for Penobscot Bay. But they _must_ prod Mr Colter into action. This is the second time he has reneged on an agreement to remove these wastes - the first promise was made to Friends of Penobscot Bay  three years ago!  

We urge the employee owners of GAC Chemical to direct their co- employee Colter to honor his agreement to protect Penobscot Bay by digging out the worst of these wastes,  getting GAC Chemical  free of its "Worst Gulf of Maine Ocean Acidifier Ever!" label as quickly as possible.  Then GAC Chemical too, will be a Friend of Penobscot Bay..

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