Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.
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By Tammy Maygra
After reading the article regarding the release of ammonia by Dyno Nobel, I felt it necessary to let the public know about the contamination produced by Dyno Nobel and its predecessors, along with a brief history of the site.
The Pomona Grange led the way. In 1928 the taxpayers of the county approved a 1 year $1million levy to purchase the property from a local farmer on the promise that the property would always be used for community purposes. Unfortunately, crooked politics proved otherwise and the property was sold in the early 60’s. Many locals tried to prevent the sale but, surprisingly enough, all the records describing the original sale and bargain agreement and the deed for the property have been torn out of the county record books.
The sale of the county’s beloved fairgrounds by the county gave birth to “The Reichold Chemical site” in the early 1960’s. Shell Chemical was the original purchaser and developer of the property, but everyone named the site after the second owner (Reichold Chemical). Shell purchased the 509 acres and a deep water port across from the site, known as Waterview for approximately $50,000, a lot less than the original purchase price of $1 million. The company wanted a lot of acreage to use as a buffer zone around the facility.
As the chemical plant began operation, often times the smell of ammonia was so strong it engulfed areas 2 miles away from the plan traveling and infiltrating up Canaan Rd. People could not go outside until the smell dissipated. I know this to be true as I lived through it as a young child. Trees around the area turned brown and died, and still do. The plant often dumped excess product at the end of the rail system area and tests showed a high concentrate of contamination.
Hay which was irrigated from the plants water system (contaminated with nitrites and nitrates) and then harvested off the unused property and fed to cattle; the result was cattle with abscessed livers. Elk and deer which were taken from the nearby area also suffered with livers effected with abscesses. A farmer’s horse was known to have died from the feed because horse livers could not process the toxins as well as the cattle elk or deer.
There have been several different owners of this chemical plant. They all produced the same product, which is urea, ammonia based fertilizer, nitric acid and commercial explosives. Nitrites and nitrates are two different molecules that are made up of both nitrogen and oxygen. The chemical difference between nitrites and nitrates is how many oxygen atoms each compound contains. (Both nitrates and nitrites can form nitrosamines in the body, which can increase your risk of developing cancer.) The amount of nitrates and nitrites (exceeded the 10 PPM (parts per-million) which the government set as a safe standard even though lesser amounts have been shown to cause many different types of cancers, blue babies, and other health concerns. Exposure to their off- site migrated product, along with the nitrites which is found in our food, causes an accumulative effect. Boiling was thought to help remove the nitrites but only made them stronger.
In the early 1970’s Shell Chemical Company closed the plant and laid off all their employees. In less than a year Reichold was able to purchase the chemical company at a great reduction in price most likely because of the extreme contamination at the site.
At one time the PPM was 14,000 under the plant, and tests showed that the contamination had traveled off site as far as Tide Creek or about 3 miles. The PUD had to put in a reverse osmosis system so they could have potable drinking water as the PPM was into the high 30’s. The company put in huge pumping wells around the property to try and keep the contamination on site. But even with this, the nitrates/nitrites traveled throughout the area, contaminating the Deer Island Springs, Deer Island well, the slough, and other water sources, at times above the safe levels.
Because nitrites and nitrates are water soluble they can travel quickly and testing for them can be misleading, in dry times the results will be higher, and in wet times the tests will come back weaker. In hay, the amount of nitrites will be high as the contamination has been sucked up through the plant then accumulates and then dries.
The site is a unique geological area because the water flows in several different directions. There are also two huge aquifers on the site. These aquifers are described as the upper and lower aquifer separated by a permeable clay layer. Aquifers so huge they could supply constant irrigation. When the company was drill testing they accidently permeated the clay layer which separated the two aquifers and was afraid they had caused cross contamination, they immediately sealed the hole with bentonite.
Most people do not understand that this plant would be lethal to everything around for miles if it exploded. It would be like an atomic bomb going off - eradicating everything from ground zero to miles around. If it blasted “the cloud”, the cloud would instantly kill everything it touched. You would be able to see the cloud, so if you kept away from the cloud you would survive. The possibility of a complete catastrophic event is unlikely, but why do you think the original company wanted a huge buffer zone, in case of a malfunction, and contamination.
If the company shut its doors today, it would take one hundred years for the contamination to disperse. Unfortunately, the company continues to operate so the source will always be there. This means there will always be some sort of contamination permeating from the plant.
These chemical companies have all contributed to the contamination issues that exist today. SHELL - Reichold – El Paso – and DYNO NOBEL. The Reichold site was born in conspiracy, the Reichold site has been a hopper for contamination for nearly 60 years, the Reichold site will continue to be a producer of contamination as long as these chemical plants are in operation.
Dyno Noble,-- Deer Island--- the site of contamination, and ammonia clouds