Saturday, February 25, 2012

02/25/2012 - Upper Dog River One Week Later

Header image shows a male and female wood duck. I just got the February issue of Outdoor Alabama which features the 2012 Photo Contest. Why is it you never see photos like these blanketing the cover of that Magazine. Come'on Outdoor Alabama, let people see the real Mobile.

Thought I'd go check out upper Dog River to see what happened to the trash since the rain. Saw this man picking up trash at Dog River Park.

Here is another man picking up litter along his shoreline.

Most people pick up the trash from their yards, but the crap that is in the water just sits there and moves around from wind and tidal influences.

Here is the Mobile Sail and Power Squadron building.

Guess aluminum isn't worth picking up anymore. If aluminum cans were worth a quarter each at a recycling center, these wouldn't be here.

It is just "floatables." Don't worry about what was left in the cans. 

Chemotherapy and Radiation treatments will kill your cancer and make you feel much better.

Here is what property looks like when the owners don't pick up the trash that comes from City, County, State and Federal drainage ditches. You can tell its been a long time since anyone has picked up litter from this property. I feel real sorry for turtles and other animals that get born in this area.

What a crappy view for this Dock owner, eh? That green and yellow soft football on the left says, "Happy Mardi Gras." The City of Mobile cleans the streets after all the Mardi Gras parades so why don't they clean their Mardi Gras crap out of the waterways too?

A Goose and a Muscovy duck. When am I going to put nice photos back on this Blog? When there isn't trash in the viewfinder...which will be as soon the Mayor gets this trash removed. Fat chance on that eh?

The baby looks at all the trash in the water and weeps.

A drainage ditch. That trash came from upstream and got deposited here when the water was higher. Next rain, this trash gets pushed back out into the water.

I bet if someone got a conveyor belt long enough and moved all this trash to the Mayor's yard, that Jonsey would be upset and he'd be setting up video cams to catch the culprit. If the trash isn't okay in someone's yard, then it certainly isn't okay in our water. ADEM isn't doing its job because if ADEM calls these waters clean, someone at ADEM needs their head examined.

But it's only "floatables" and from what I've read, ADEM and the City of Mobile aren't concerned about them. Where'd this oil sheen come from, perhaps those oil containers mixed in with the typical litter loaded delivered to the waterway after heavy rain? Just as BP is accountable for its pollution, Mobile should be accountable for their pollution.

Friday, February 24, 2012

There is enough trash in Dog River to sculpt a work of ironic art.

The title of this post is credited to JD Crowe. I got another letter from ADEM today concerning my complaints about One Mile Creek trash, some of which is hazardous, in the water and filling the adjacent wetlands. It basically says, ADEM continues to monitor the City of Mobile's progress toward compliance with its regulatory obligations. Are they going to make the property owners, Mobile, or the State of Alabama remove the hazardous trash that is polluting the waterways all the way to Mobile Bay? Dunno. To be continued.

Violations specific to One Mile Creek were not alleged in the consent order ADEM issued to the City of Mobile, but ADEM indicated my concerns will be appropriately addressed. ADEM is monitoring the City of Mobile's overall return to compliance with its MS4 permit.

I demanded the trash dump be cleaned up and actions be taken to prevent the public from dumping their trash into WATER and sensitive wetlands. ADEM has said a pile of litter isn't a trash dump. We'll see whether any of these paper pushers hiding behind walls of regulations so complex that normal people can't understand, will ever get anyone out there to actually clean it up. Stay tuned.

It is the public's trash and if people want to live like pigs, that's cool. The majority of the litter is only plastic, right? Yup. The City isn't concerned about floatables, right? Yup. We drink out of plastic bottles, so it is safe, right? Nope, not according to research. Plastics continue to be implicated in hormone disruption and linked to diabetes and obesity. America got obesity? Yup. 2 out of 3 people are overweight. Do you think leaving plastics floating in the water is a wise thing to do? The City of Mobile does.

Unemployment is rampant. Back in the last depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was formed by the government. CCC was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for the unemployed. We definitely need a litter relief program. Add another cent or two to taxes, tax the vehicles entering into the state, tax property owners who won't keep litter off their property, and put any army of unemployed people to work removing the plastic pollution from the water. Leaders are too chicken to do anything - its an election year.

Why are leaders too chicken to hold people responsible for keeping their property free of litter? The below image, by J.D. Crowe, Press-Register was right on target!

Where might some of that trash that ends up in Dog River come from? Here is the view at a City of Mobile Park, Law Enforcement Agency maintained property, as of yesterday. It looked like this last year in December. Maybe the abundance of litter in Mobile is simply a reflection of what Mobile leaders and Law Enforcement expect and a reflection of how Mobile Leaders and Law Enforcement treat taxpayer property.

Here is a photo of the City of Mobile pool at the same facility. That's a turtle circled in red. Several turtles were seen in the mosquito breeding pool. The sad part is the turtles had no platform, no step, or anything to rest on and no way to get up the three foot pool walls. How sad...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

02/23/2012 - Dog River Park

I helped out a stranded boater whose fuel pump stopped working by giving him a ride up to Dog River Park to pick up his van and trailer. While dropping him off I saw a TV10 camera person and had to inquire. Yes, she was doing a story about the Trash. Did the video journalist watch the trash videos? No. Does the reporter know what storm water runoff can contain? No. Know about sedimentation? No. Ever hear of the 303d List? No. Did you know Halls Mill Creek, a tributary in Dog River Watershed, was just placed on ADEM's impaired waterway list because of problems related to construction site muddy water? No. Want me to ask this nearby boater to take you to places around the corner so you can get good video of trash? No, not enough time. If journalists don't have a clue what the story is about, how can they be effective journalists? The TV10 article mistakenly calls the Clean Water Act the "Clear Water Act." Who knows, maybe it was the lawyer that said it wrong and not the reporter. It shouldn't have been printed incorrectly though. I declined to be interviewed.

In another news video clip, I about fell off my chair in disbelief hearing someone basically say boaters are irresponsible for throwing so much trash overboard. They had no clue where the trash in the water comes from. I frequently see boaters in Dog River PICKING UP trash. Dog River boaters should be commended for what they do, not implicated by a news station as being the cause of the problem.

One of the nearby residents was out with a youngster feeding the seagulls. Note the pile of trash in the water - litter remnants of the rain a few days ago trapped by wind and tide.

At the corner of Dog River Park was this little trashberg. Looks like the same television that I documented on Feb 17 up in Eslava Creek. The stormwater moved the TV two miles downstream. Wow. The journalist couldn't believe there was a TV in the water and was getting some video of it. Welcome to Dog River, one of Mobile's illegal hazardous waste dumps.

The engineering firm Mobile Group is managing Mobile's MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) aka storm water runoff about as well as they are managing their web site. No way to contact them by email.

There are some who think that all "floatable" trash is harmless and that there is no need to monitor it, nor any requirements to clean it up. According to the EPA, mercury-containing equipment like this Cathode Ray Tube in the TV have been added to the federal list of universal wastes regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations. Mercury? Isn't that bad stuff?

Check out this Fish eating Advisory from Alabama Department of Public Health. What's the number one contaminant? Mercury. Who you going to call to get the hazardous material floatables removed from Mobile waterways, Mobile 311? Ha! Lots of luck on that. They haven't responded to my complaints about hazardous materials up in One Mile Creek area since December.

Dog River Park. Aren't there laws saying property owners have to keep their property "free of litter?" Yup.

25-36 (a) "It shall be the duty of every occupant of any commercial premises in the city limits to keep the adjacent and surrounding area clear and free of litter.
25-37 "It shall be a violation of this article for any owner or occupant of private property to fail to keep their premises free and clear of litter.

Mobile, your Dog River Park is in violation of the Litter Code that you burden commercial and residential property owners to abide by. I have to wonder, if the litter laws are in place, why aren't they being enforced?

More litter at the Park, right in the path of a storm drain. Guess where this litter will end up when it rains? That one little black bottle - hazardous contents.

How are other Parks with boat launches dealing with the litter problem? I didn't see a single piece of litter at Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge. Do you think the sign had anything to do with the cleanliness of the area? People don't appreciate the things they have until they lose them. Roadside littered? Close the roads until the litter is cleaned up. Litter Problem Solved.

Mobile got money problems? Yup. There is one way to stop the pigs from trashing up parks. Close the parks. Sell the land. Pay off Mobile's debts. Stop wasting taxpayer by spending money you don't have on Charities. Stop wasting money on interest payments. Start taking care of the assets you do have.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

02/19/2012 - Moore Creek

Only on the surface? Hahahah. Header Image is a photo of four aluminum cans under water. Catfish got aluminum or is it only mercury?

Yesterday's rain storm sunk one or more of the pipe floats in Moore Creek. All year long the floating dredge pipe crosses the water blocking the navigable waterway. The dredge boat stays on one side while the pipe goes down the other side due to right-of-way access issues. Anyway, now it is going to cost tax payers more money to refloat the pipe and remove the sunk floats. I think I should inquire with the Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers to see how long the City of Mobile is permitted to block the navigable waterway... Yesterday's rain washed most of the trash that had been along the banks of Moore Creek downstream into Mobile Bay. Moore Creek has less trash now than just a few days ago.

There were still a few trashbergs left. See the dead animal?

Gerald had just caught a catfish on a worm and yes, he's going to eat it. The trash doesn't bother Gerald because the trash is on the surface and the catfish stay on the bottom away from the trash. Okay...whatever you say Gerald.

Mobile hosts the oldest Mardi Gras Festival in the country while adding China's newest trash to Dog River. Here is a Mystic's Of Time spiral football. The good news is Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and Keep Mobile Beautiful have partnered to recycle some of the Mardi Gras beads the festival generates. For the WKRG story, click here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

02/18/2012 - Eslava Creek and Bolton Branch

(Above image frame from video taken 0.75 miles north of Dog River Park on Dog River.)

Realistically, we're not going to stop litter. How is a 5 year old suppose to know not to throw something out the window while Mom or Dad zooms down the interstate at 70 miles an hour? You don't expect Mom or Dad to slam on the brakes on the interstate, back up, and pick up the trash do you? So, the two choices to deal with the litter are clear.

Choice one: The City and County need to trap, collect, and dispose of the public's illegal litter draining to all the urban tributaries before the litter gets downstream into Mobile Bay. 

Choice two: The City and County need to have work crews out after every heavy rain removing the trash from Mobile's waterways. In my opinion, Mobile's current system of having zero litter traps and zero workers dedicated to removing litter after rains, some of which is HAZARDOUS, is simply unacceptable. How would you like to waterski in this crap?

The saga of Dog River Watershed litter continues. Watch the below video. Is this acceptable in your opinion? Comments are welcome.

It is time to fix Mobile's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) litter problem. This is an election year. Time for Sam Jones to be replaced with someone who cares.

Friday, February 17, 2012

02/17/2012 - Eslava Creek

Polluted water around the world causes untold human suffering and death.

Lots of wood ducks around this year.

A derelict boat that had been floating around Dog River for a long time will not be floating around any more. It is now condo shoreline decor.

I wonder if fish ever try to read nutritional and warning labels.

Cute little turtle.

The redhead seems attracted to the red label.

Get rid of those hazardous old tube TVs - throw them in the water. (Just kidding!)

Plastic bags line upper Eslava Creek shoreline south of Halls Mill Road.

Cute little dog kept barking at me.

Undeveloped property south of Dog River Park. The owner can thank the City of Mobile for polluting his shoreline.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

02/15/2012 - Moore Creek

Moore Creek in Dog River Watershed
How about a little Gasoline in your drinking water?

View of Moore Creek Shoreline

View up one of Moore Creek's tributaries.

Orontium aquaticum (Golden Club) is flowering.
Spring is here! Aren't the flowers lovely?

Springtime growth will soon obscure all the trash. The trash will be there next year.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

02/07/2012 - One Mile Creek Update

This is an update on the continuing saga of One Mile Creek where I filed a complaint about illegal trash dumped in the water and on six parcels of land adjacent to One Mile Creek. The complaint was emailed to about three dozen agencies and environmental groups, including news media. It's been almost two months since the complaints went out, hence the update. Here are new photos taken today in One Mile Creek, Three Mile Creek, and Mobile River. No one has done a damn thing to remove the trash, some of which is hazardous.

The latest development is ADEM's Solid Waste Branch personnel inspected the parcels of land identified in the complaint and saw no active unauthorized dumping but did conclude the solid wastes appear to be the result of roadside litter drainage. ADEM further adds, "litter shall not constitute an unauthorized dump." The Solid Waste Branch of ADEM has referred the complaints to ADEM's Water Division because the complaint does involve potential impacts to waters of the State. No word from the ADEM's Water Division yet.

In a nutshell, the municipal solid wastes you see in the following photos are deemed okay by the Solid Waste Branch of Alabama's Department of Environmental Management. They see no reason to get involved. They see no reason to clean up the trash. Even though there are visible piles of tires, according to ADEM, the tires were piled there by stormwater. Mosquito breeding tire dumps are okay with ADEM.

ADEM never responded to my concern about the old Hickory Street Landfill and lack of testing in the wetlands according to the Superfund site assessment report. The report recommended Mobile fence off the site but there is no perimeter fence in place with warning signs to alert people to the dangers of the hazardous material filled landfill whose cap has been compromised according to the report. Mum is the word on this superfund site.

BP is held accountable for their pollution of the Gulf of Mexico while Mobile continues to pollute local urban waterways all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, unabated. You can't get on an airplane with six ounces of shampoo for safety reasons, but it is safe to dump your full oil and gas containers into the water along with plastics that according to NOAA, most will never biodegrade. Go figure...

Alabama State Port Authority shoreline.

One Mile Creek flower beautification program. Note the recyclable planter.

New flowers growing in recyclable Styrofoam.

Shoreline trash.

Shoreline trash.

Shoreline trash.

Shoreline trash.

Mosquito breeding tire dump. ADEM looked it over and said, "I don't see any active illegal dumping here." Which is why I say, "ADEM:  Alabama Department of Environmental Mismanagement."

ADEM: "Litter distributed by storm water runoff does not constitute an unauthorized dump." ADEM's Solid Waste Management division doesn't care about this hazardous solid waste.

Unfortunately, Mobile and ADEM have ignored the trash in One Mile Creek for so long that the creek bed is full of trash too. For every turtle you see, there are 1,000s of pieces of trash in the creek bed.

One Mile Creek flows into Three Mile Creek. Three Mile Creek shoreline looks good from this viewpoint, but looks are deceiving.

This is what Three Mile Creek looks like directly behind the (ASPA) shoreline vegetation in the above photo. It is only litter, not an unauthorized trash dump according to ADEM. This is legal.

Three Mile Creek flows into Mobile River. Here is the shoreline of Mobile River.
Guess where most of this trash came from? Three Mile Creek.
From here Mobile's litter continues on into Mobile Bay
and finally into the Gulf of Mexico to land on
Alabama's precious beaches that it claims to care so much about.