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Illegal dumping of lead/arsenic into waterways by SeaSoft

Discussion in 'Diving Litigation' started by shoredivr, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Addicted2H2O

    Addicted2H2O Contributor

    @Bruce Justinen I really hate to hear this my friend. I personally do not own any SeaSoft weights, but when it comes to to replace my current ones I know who I'll be turning to. I do however use a SeaSoft 6mm ffm hood, though and it's been wonderful. But that has nothing more to do with this conversation than to say I am a SeaSoft customer.

    First and foremost, I'm terribly sorry the DOE has put you and your company through the wringer. I have no doubts that the press release they chose to send out was blatantly embellished to elicit a negative response from the general public for political reasons. And then to not only be mirrored, but then even further embellished upon by another scuba entity....I've honestly never heard of Undercurrent but I can say with absolute certainty I will never read their publications. A few minutes of fact finding would've served them well, but rather they chose to take the lazy way out and further defactualize actual events in the scheme of earning ratings. I do sincerely hope things for the best for you.

    I have a background formerly in haz materials remediation (project management side) and I'm a bit appalled that the DOE sees fit to levy a fine of nearly $200k for such a small amount of lead that never made it past your 15x15x1 soi/gravel area, much less into navigable waters. Even in the case that an employee did empty a couple of buckets of "impacted" - I don't like the term "contaminated" in these cases - water into the toilet, it absolutely would've been caught and filtered by the city sewer system rather than migrating into other bodies of water. And yes I said sewer system. Not the stormwater system, which was so meticulously listed in both the press release and in Undercurrent's gross misrepresentation. The two are completely separate systems and as such as treated completely different in terms of processing. I currently oversee the SWMP (Stormwater Management Plan for laymen) for a university and I can tell you stormwater is exactly that. It is water that was rained from the sky and after having made contact with some surface flowed into a drain that leads to catch basins and ultimately end up in lakes or other bodies of water. If someone has their sewer system tied into the stormwater system.....they need to fire their plumbing contractor. Now could some of the lead shot "spilled" near the door have migrated into the storm system? Sure it could've. But I highly doubt the trace amounts you described would be detectable at harmful levels even in a small runoff pond. Should that area have been cleaned up? Of course it should've. There's no disputing that. But for some reason, and I really don't understand why, you're being made an example of. I can only hope that maybe you can get the fine severely reduced and that it doesn't have too negative an impact on your business. I do truly believe this was merely an accident and not some elaborate plan to avoid the costs of proper hazardous materials handling. So good luck in how this thing plays out and know that you have supporters backing you. Keep looking up!
    Goldman, lv2dive and Bob DBF like this.
  2. gcarter

    gcarter Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    Although I also think that this has been blown out of proportion, I offer the below information for completeness - it cannot be taken as a given that discharge into a sanitary sewer will be treated without more information.

    I would like to point out that there are still a great many municipalities that have older combined sewer systems where the discharge of untreated waste water through an overflow event can be a common occurrence. Olympia does still have combined systems in use, although I have no idea whether Seasoft is in one of these neighbourhoods.(1)

    Nonetheless, Olympia does appear to have a very good record for controlling and minimizing overflow events (2) so it is indeed highly unlikely that the wastewater in question was not treated.

    (1) Wastewater Management: Appendix E History of Olympia’s Wastewater System

    To date, a fair amount of the older sewers in the downtown Olympia, Capitol neighborhood and parts of northeast Olympia remain as combined sewer systems that carry wastewater and stormwater to LOTT.

    (2) https://lottcleanwater.org/wp-content/uploads/cso17.pdf

    As of the end of 2017, LOTT had experienced only two (2) combined sewer overflow (CSO) events since April 1991 (see attached table). These events occurred on December 3, 2007, and January 7-8, 2009, and were the result of severe storm events in which over five (5) inches of rainfall fell in a 24-hour period.
    Addicted2H2O likes this.
  3. Addicted2H2O

    Addicted2H2O Contributor

    @gcarter Thanks for the clarification! I suppose separating stormwater and sanitary sewer could be a fairly newer concept and in such case, yes in an overflow event untreated sewer water could be released. Completely separate incident and on the complete opposite side of the country, but I had a discharge I managed where a treatment plant utilized plastic media (about the size of a US quarter) in two holding tanks to treat effluent. Basically the media acted as a surface for algae to grow on, thereby naturally treating the effluent and cleansing it before being released. In this particular case, the filter in one tank became blocked causing that tank to overflow into the second one. Both tanks eventually overflowed and failed, thereby releasing untreated effluent and the literal tons of impacted plastic media into a creek that flowed into another major body of water. I'm intentionally being vague so as not to use names, locations, etc. but you get the point. It does happen.
    gcarter likes this.
  4. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    The 30 day appeal period has passed, do you have an appeal with PCHB pending Bruce?
  5. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    Interesting. This is the second time I've seen Undercurrent publish an unfair hatchet job. I find that rather alarming. I really like @Bruce Justinen's style. He's not afraid to defend himself publicly, because he's trying to do things right. I too will go out of my way to buy SeaSoft from here on out.
    ChuckP, shoredivr, flymolo and 4 others like this.
  6. NAM001

    NAM001 Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: the moon
    Its a shame but this is what tree huggers do. If reaction is good then over reaction must be better. The government agencies are supposed to be looking out for us. this level of behavior is not doing that at all. and the outcome is that poor reporting is up'ed as a defense for perhaps over zelous reporters rather than just admitting the story could have been better. (HAS THE SAME SMELL THAT CNN HAS WITH JIM ACOUSTA) Reporting should not be sensationalism it should be public service.
    markmud likes this.
  7. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    As a self professed tree and reef hugger, I completely disagree. Power corrupts tree huggers and exploiters alike. People like the environmental let their power allow them to be bullies while Undercurrent allowed their power as press to attack a business for the same reason. I don't like bullies whether it's government or otherwise.
    ZzzKing, Colliam7, lv2dive and 6 others like this.
  8. StefinSB

    StefinSB ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Santa Barbara, CA
    ^ This
    The Chairman likes this.
  9. Bruce Justinen

    Bruce Justinen Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Olympia, WA
    Thank you very much to those who have been so supportive. Let me clarify a couple of things.

    There was a manhole cover and catchment basin in front of our building and three more of them in our parking lot and there is a storm pond which then empties into a larger stormwater evacuation system (this is the Pacific Northwest). Lord knows we move lots of water some days, weeks and even months.

    Where was lead found?

    Approximately a teaspoon of lead shot was found in the closest catchment basin and we had this vacuumed out (cost about $1,500.00. The other three basins tested for traces of lead and guess what - we were required to vacuum them out as well. However, the stormwater pond tested negative for any levels of lead (thank God) and that was that. No lead left our parking area. NO lead reached the stormwater evacuation system. NO lead reached the groundwater or aquifers (it only went 12 inches deep in one spot and I think it only reached 6 inches in one other spot). Since we are next door to the water treatment plant the water that went into the toilet found itself being immediately filtered and treated.

    First, I want to be clear, I am ashamed that any lead went anywhere it wasn't supposed to. We have built a 35 year reputation on being good stewards of the ocean and the environment. It provides us with our livelihood. Screw it up and we go down and watch plastic bottles and dead things swirl around in a dance of death. I have seen places like that.

    I remember being a kid in Illinois in the mid 60s and you walked along Lake Michigan and there were dead fish everywhere because so many tankers and people in general dumped their fertilizers, oils and miscellaneous chemicals into the water. AND stuff died.

    I don't want to live in that world. So I have tried to be extra careful and yet we messed up. I apologize to each of you for screwing this up. We have embarrassed ourselves and this reflects in a small way on our community. Accept our sincere apologies. Thanks for listening.
    Goldman, Colliam7, markmud and 8 others like this.
  10. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Contributor

    The YouTube link is suddenly dead. Maybe they didn't like that I pointed out some flaws and linked this post?

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