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Illegal dumping of lead/arsenic into waterways by SeaSoft

Discussion in 'Scuba Related Court Cases' started by shoredivr, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. NAM001

    NAM001 Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: the moon

    There is also a large difference is being a responsible hugger and a irresponable hugger. The same difference is present where groups like forestry activists exist. One side engages in property destruction as a means to stop forestry,, while the other facet exists to promote forest replanting after harvest.
    markmud likes this.
  2. Dogbowl

    Dogbowl Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Somewhere
    Perhaps they realized their error when someone pointed them to this thread?
  3. Addicted2H2O

    Addicted2H2O ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    @Bruce Justinen Just speaking for myself here, but as the saying goes, s**t happens. I in no way at all believe this incident was intentional, or (as someone so graciously commented) that you "got caught" trying to avoid paying the costs of proper materials handling. It was simply an accident. Okay, yes, one of your employees intentionally poured impacted water into the sewer via the toilet, probably trying to circumvent listed protocols and just being lazy. Again, it happens. Sometimes employees just don't think. Or they do and figure "oh it's just a small amount and no one will notice." I'm actually kind of curious how they even traced what was supposedly emptied into the toilet back to your location, especially if you're right next to the water treatment plant. Not that it really matters because regardless it happened. But again, I don't believe this was "normal" practices of SeaSoft and was truly an isolated incident. I don't think most of us feel that you would purposely jeopardize the environment, much less the business you've spent 35 years of your life building, just to save a few bucks. WA DOE and their misrepresented press release be damned. And Undercurrent online magazine with them. At least with me you haven't lost a supporter. I'd like to think I speak for most of us when I say We appreciate what you do and the products you supply for this wonderful sport we love. Just keep doing your thing. This too shall pass.
    markmud, NAM001 and flymolo like this.
  4. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    The three Ps of polluting

    Polluters Pay for Polluting

    I am reminded of a party I attended at Bob Rutherford's home over 65 years ago on the corner of Brookhurst and Cerritos Avenue in Anaheim , California.

    One of the guest was Dr. Bruce Halstead, who was to gain fame a few years later with the publication of his monumental 3 volume 1500 page work "Dangerous and Verminous Marine Animals of the world." Dr. Hallstead had just returned from a trip to Minamata Japan where there had been an emergence of a strange undetectable un treatable neurological affliction which for the lack of a better term was simply known at that time as the "Minamata disease. "

    It was so very debilitating, equally affecting juveniles and adults with similar symptoms, loss of body functions, ambulation. speech, hearing. sight- especially affected was the new born .

    After much top level investigation by World Health Organization (WHO) and Japanese officials the culprit was determined to be the Chizzo company who had began dumping mercury into the bay which had found its way via the "Etonian Pyramid" to the food chain of the local populace.

    The dumping was stopped immediately but the damage was done- The entire populace and generations into the future of Minamata residences had been horribly affected.

    American photojournalist Eugene Smith and his wife Alene produced a book simply titled "Minamata" which opened the eyes of the world the tragic damage a small amount of discarded chemicals can have on a population. I acquired the book and owned it for a number of years - every time I opened it I was shocked at the photographs and reminded that for the grace of God go I and my family.

    In the 1960s to 1970s there was a number of SoCal dive personages who produced on a yearly dive programs which were presented to dive clubs,. civic and service clubs- One of my more popular programs which I still have in slide format is "Minamata - the effects of pollution" which was based on Smiths book

    Some years later Dr. Halstead and I were catching up on life during a professional meeting and the subject of pollution came up. The good Doctor was shocked to learn that I was still harvesting and consuming inshore sea food which at that time was so abundant off Laguna Beach - oysters, clams, scallops, abalone and fin fish-- I immediately ceased !

    @Bruce Justinen I would suggest that you goggle and acquaint your self with Dr. Halstead's work "Dangerous and Verminous Marine Animals of the world." and especially "Minamata disease. " and the great book on the effects of pollution by Eugene Smith "Minamata" as well as the effects of lead in the water..

    Pollution no matter how much or how little can be accumulative and is of great concern for the continued health of this great nation

    Polluters Pay for Polluting but also remember Pollution Affects the Populace

    Sam Miller, III
  5. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
  6. W W Meixner

    W W Meixner Banned ScubaBoard Supporter

    Hey Sam...Happy New Year...

    Two years ago my wife and I accompanied our daughter and son-in-law on a 60' cat and toured the USVI...I was horrified at the common practice in this area of dumping raw sanitary sewage waste from the bilge into the ocean...

    My daughter said it is an acceptable practice...as long as you're X distance from shore...WTF...

    The following heated discussion only served to piss everybody off...some people...including professional...upwardly mobile members of my own family just do not have a friggin clue...

    As a footnote...the diving in this area isn't worth the tank rentals...

    Hoping all is well...Best...

  7. Bruce Justinen

    Bruce Justinen Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Olympia, WA
    Sam Miller III:

    Please refer to page one for a detailed reply from myself concerning this accusation and Press Release from the WA State Dept. of Ecology. I have also added detail along the way. Again, just adding more information. We are required by the WA State Department of Labor and Industries to have a:

    1. Accident Prevention Program
    2. Chemical Hazard Communication Program
    3. Hazard Assessment for Personal Protective Equipment
    4. Lead Compliance Program

    Here is our LEAD COMPLIANCE PROGRAM: (on the next two pages)
    kelemvor, shoredivr and dead dog like this.
  8. Bruce Justinen

    Bruce Justinen Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Olympia, WA

    SEASOFT SCUBA has been manufacturing weight belts and other scuba diving products containing lead shot since 1985. The company was granted a US Patent for a state of the art, soft, stretchable weight belt in 1988 and has sold tens of thousands of these SEASOFT Weight Belts in the last 30 plus years. As you can imagine the company has been highly aware of the toxicity of lead (Pb) during these years.

    From WIKIPEDIA: “Lead is a neurotoxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bones, damages the nervous system, and causes blood disorders. It is particularly problematic in children: even if blood levels are promptly normalized with treatment, permanent brain damage may result.”

    At SEASOFT SCUBA we recognize that lead can be dangerous and harmful to our employees and so we want every employee to take extraordinary precautions when handling lead shot.

    For decades SEASOFT has been seeking a way to protect the environment, customers, our employees and the environment from undue exposure to lead. In 2015 and 2016 we discovered a proprietary catalyst that bonded with lead shot and allowed graphite to then bond to the catalyst. This layer of hard graphite created lead shot that was now more or less environmentally sealed and for the first time allowed dive stores, their customers and SEASOFT employees to be free of high levels of lead toxicity.


    Initials Date

    Page Two


    SEASOFT SCUBA receives lead shot via a freight company in 55 gallon barrels of 3,000 lbs. or in thick fiber bags sealed inside heavyweight cardboard boxes of 1,500 lbs. each. All of these are on wooden pallets. These can be unloaded using a forklift or a liftgate with a pallet jack.

    Caution is required when unloading because of the weight involved. Either the barrel or box can be dangerous if dropped or the pallet breaks. The unloading area should be clear before attempting to unload the lead shot and the person unloading must not be distracted so there should only be the unloader and a spotter present.

    Forks can penetrate the cardboard box and cause spillage and if the barrel is not correctly and evenly unloaded it is possible to have it fall in any direction so the unloader and spotter must carefully observe the pallet and container before and during the unloading process.

    The pallet should be slowly lifted and immediately brought to the ground smoothly with no jerkiness or quick stops. Only then should the pallet be moved into the building. Again, the area should be clear of pedestrians, only a spotter and the forklift driver should be involved until the lead has been situated and safely unloaded onto the floor.


    SEASOFT SCUBA has contracted with several companies to deliver CLEAN lead with NO corrosion on the surface and no dust, dirt or rock. If you discover lead that is not in this condition do not attempt to clean it. It should be brought to management’s attention so that this lead can be returned for clean lead or sold as scrap lead. In the past we have cleaned lead that was at the bottom of the barrel that was dirty or hidden from view but this will no longer be done. The drying racks for drying the lead have been sold as scrapped so this is no longer even an option. This lead will either be returned or sold as scrap.


    In the past we have allowed customers to return used corroded lead to SEASOFT and we have tumbled and cleaned this lead and turned it into new lead to put into new products.

    This will NO LONGER be a function of SEASOFT SCUBA. We will still allow customers to return their used, corroded lead but it will be sold to a metal recycling company at the going scrap rate. We will not under any circumstances recondition or recycle this lead ourselves.


    Our lead filling machine is a very simple design and has worked for SEASOFT SCUBA for over 30

    ________________ Initials Date

    Attached Files:

    dead dog likes this.
  9. Bruce Justinen

    Bruce Justinen Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Olympia, WA
    Page Three

    years. It is a simple BALL VALVE with an air activated piston connected to the arm of the ball valve so it can be opened and closed by a foot pedal. The correct amount of lead shot is manually weighed and poured into the hopper at the top. The pedal is stepped on and the piston opens the ball valve allowing the lead shot to fall down into the product being held at the chute below. Gravity drops the lead into the product being filled.

    The operator then pushes a small button on the front that allows an internal 1⁄4” air hose to blow 40 to 50 PSI air into the product being filled and this pushes the lead into the product.

    The lead shot filled product is taken off the lead filling machine and a small custom designed clamp is installed to prevent the lead from spilling or interfering in the sewing process.

    The product is then placed into a wheeled cart that will be rolled to a sewing machine for closing.


    The person who is responsible for operating the Lead Filling Machine must always:

    1. Wear latex gloves whenever they enter the Lead Filling area.

    2. Wear either a Tyvex Suit or a white labcoat when entering the Lead Filling area.

    3. Wear an approved particulate mask that is rated for wearing around lead after being trained to wear the mask properly, see Production Manager.

    See the following YOUTUBE videos with your superviser before wearing your P95 Respirator the first time:

    How to wear your P95 mask correctly:

    The Lead Filling Operator must be trained to properly wear, use and store the above to insure

    __________Initials Date

    Page Four

    their safety. These protocols should be covered in regular safety meetings.

    The Lead Filling Machine Operator is in charge of the lead filling area and he/she has control of that area if there is a spill or lead incident of any kind.

    • Latex gloves should be worn once and then disposed of in a hazardous waste container.

    • Tyvex Suits should be replaced as needed and lab coats should be laundered once a week.

    • Particulate masks should be replaced as needed and must be stored in a plastic bag with NO MORE than one mask per bag in order to eliminate cross contamination.

    • ALWAYS wash hands thoroughly after any contact with lead.

    Notice that the lead filling table has a wooden “curtain” around it. This is to contain any lead shot that is spilled onto the table top. At the end of LEAD FILLING MACHINE OPERATER’s shift any lead shot must be swept up from the table top and returned to the lead bin.

    When any lead is spilled on the floor in the area of the lead filling machine it is the responsibility of the LEAD FILLING MACHINE OPERATOR to follow protocol and clean it up. The company understands that sometimes lead shot will be spilled onto the floor but there is a difference between a couple of BB’s and a tablespoon or more falling. When this takes place all work must STOP.

    A spill of a tablespoon is a major TRIP HAZARD and someone could step on the lead shot, fall down and be seriously injured. This lead needs to be THOROUGHLY swept up and removed to either the HAZARDOUS WASTE CONTAINER or the filling bin. ONLY after this has taken place can the LEAD FILLING MACHINE OPERATOR signal that work can resume.


    You must:
    1. Remove your gloves and place them in the Hazardous Waste Bin.

    2. Remove your Particulate mask and either dispose of it in the Hazardous Waste Bin or if you determine it is not compromised then place it in a sealed plastic bag for use again.

    3. Take off your Tyvek Suitor lab coat and hand it in the designated hook for further use.

    4. Oil the piston on the Lead Filling Machine and look for any damage or need for repairs, if you see any report it immediately to the production manager.
    _________Initials Date

    Page 5


    SEASOFT SCUBA has invested in maintaining clean air and eliminating dust in the area surrounding the lead filling machine.

    Custom water filters have been designed and built that take the air directly at the mouth of the Lead Filling Machine Hopper and pull that air into a water filter located underneath the table that holds any dust or particulates found in that air before it is exhausted. When the vacuum system is turned on and the system has the correct amount of water ALL of the dust and particulates in the air are pulled into the vacuum system and deposited and trapped in the water where it can be disposed of later.

    It is the responsibility of the PRODUCTION MANAGER to ensure that this system is:

    1. Turned on when lead filling is taking place.

    2. Working properly.

    3. The vacuum system filters are clean and occasionally replaced.

    4. Has the correct level of water.


    ALL latex gloves, used particulate masks, TYVEX Suits and other disposables that have come into contact or indirect contact with lead shot and are deemed to be replaced should be placed into the BLUE HAZARDOUS WASTE Barrel that is marked HAZARDOUS WASTE.


    It is a requirement of employment to have an annual lead serum blood level test done at a certified medical lab.

    The purpose of this test is to measure the amount of lead that is present in the blood of the LEAD FILLING MACHINE OPERATOR and any other employee who works in the lead filling machine area.

    Any other employee who asks for this testing will be allowed one test per year even if they do not work in the lead filling area.

    Anyone that works in the lead filling area can ask for a test up to 4 times per year at no cost to them. There is never a charge to an employee for this testing and all expenses are paid for by SEASOFT SCUBA.

    Initials Date
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  10. Bruce Justinen

    Bruce Justinen Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Olympia, WA
    Page 6


    It only takes common sense to realize that over a long period of time that some lead can migrate to other parts of the factory despite our best efforts.

    This is why it is vitally important that we maintain regular, scheduled cleaning of all areas of the factory including bathrooms, kitchen area, assembly, packing, drysuits, storage, sewing, and all other parts of our warehouse and factory.

    Each of us has a part to play as this schedule is factored and posted with each person’s responsibility’s stated. Please play your part.

    __________________________________________________________________ Employee signature, Print Name, Date:

    __________________________________________________________________ Supervisor signature, Print Name, Date:
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