Tuesday, August 30, 2011

100 Year Storms Need Not Apply

Here in Virginia we've just experienced Hurricane Irene.

Below you can see some of the damage.

Wind blown debris:


Tree limbs down:


Gas station awning twisted from the wind:


And flooding:


This was not a hundred year storm, just a regular ol' Category One hurricane.

Why does that matter?

Because, according to Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), the coal ash landfills (some of which are located in floodplains) are rated for one hundred year storms.

Pshew! Good to know.

I was worried that material, which is the consistency of baby powder, piled seven stories tall over hundreds of acres, would take off in hurricane force winds.

Or less.

I mean, these people say it regularly blows out of ponds over their community:

But rest easy, naysayers!

And know that we've got the expert's final word on the matter:

"There will be zero fly ash emissions."

- David Smith, Director of Environmental, Health and Safety Services, ODEC

Testifying before the Surry Co. Planning & Zoning Commission

Nov. 23, 2010

Given the damage we've just seen, that sounds perfectly reasonable, right?

Given that ODEC told the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) there would be "fugitive emissions" and "wind erosion" of fly ash, that sounds in keeping, right?

Given that Mr. Smith could not explain to the Commission how ODEC would seal a 7 story tall mound of ash in a synthetic liner, that sounds like an educated assertion, right?

Nothing to worry about, right?

Yeah. Right.

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