The Health Protection Agency report.
In step four of solving the problem of “the mere”, Rhodia had already
- Hired an environmental consultant
- Tried and failed to spin their way out of trouble
- Attempted to present a red herring concerning human health to distract attention away from wildfowl poisoning through liasing with outside bodies.
“The Human health risk assessment” was a culmination of all of these tools, with the aid of another environmental consultant ERM (Environmental Resources Management).
We will look at the failings of this report below and what it conveniently ignored. This is important because cheque book science can buy anything that someone wants to be in a report, and leave out what they do not- all using the legitimacy of “the independent” agency. In this case the cheque from Rhodia UK Limited to the Health Protection Agency cost a reported £13,475 plus VAT, according to a Freedom of information request.
SCOPE OF WORKS- WHAT RHODIA PAID FOR, AND WHAT IT DID NOT.
The HPA claim to have undertaken the following
- a literature review of reports held by Rhodia, some reports by the housebuilders of the adjacent Barratt Homes estate (irrelevant to the lagoon contents themselves)and some monitoring records from The Environment Agency and selected reports from Sandwell council.
- A literature review of phosphorus chemistry and products made by Rhodia.
- A site walkover
- Recommendation of the installation of vapour wells nearer to the back gardens adjacent to the site,ambient air monitoring for phosphine gas, and soil analysis for a certain number of contaminants
- This informed their opinion of a “Conceptual site model” for the site
- Rhodia’s consultants ERM undertook all of the sampling- NOT THE HPA themselves- they merely digressed on what Rhodia and ERM gave them to look at from a purely theoretical perspective.
The HPA report consists of the main report of 78 pages plus many more Envirocheck records taken from various sources- many of which are not historically accurate and can be refuted, as we will demonstrate. It was released on a CD rom to an unknown number of local residents along with a gushing accompanying letter from John Moorhouse- site development manager at Rhodia. We were also sent a copy on request. We will look at this letter seperately HERE.
A final meeting of the “rattlechain steering group” was held, during which the results of the report were given out. We requested these via a freedom of information request to Sandwell Primary Care Trust , given that we were not invited to ask any questions concerning the report or scrutinise its findings. The minutes of this meeting can be read below.
On these we would make the following comments.
“*PLEASE NOTE THIS PRESENTATION IS FOR THE INFORMATION OF THE STEERING GROUP ONLY, AND NOT FOR WIDER DISTRIBUTION”
It is quite obvious that this is a reference to us. The people who demonstrated foresight, not hindsight about the toxic contents contained and the real threat they posed- unlike the majority of the agencies and people on the so called “steering group”.
- The white residue around the pool is the sediment from the lake, which is NOT just calcium phosphate as John Moorhouse of Rhodia tries to suggest. THEY TRIED TO SUGGEST THAT THIS WAS ALL THAT WAS CONTAINED IN THE LAKE- WHICH WE NOW KNOW TO BE AN UTTER LIE, LIKE THIS ONE.
- Andrew Kibble’s opinion concerning “poisoned” wildfowl posing “no risk” can be questioned based on his lack of knowledge on the subject of wildfowl, and that his report did not look at wildfowl poisoning , nor the fate of wildfowl poisoned by white phosphorus at the lagoon- which his client have never accepted to be the case and consistently tried to deny for many many years.
- The invited resident queries the appropriateness of the sampling and is right to as we will look at below. However it is minuted that he was “reassured” that it was carried out appropriately. This is an opinion.
- “PS noted that the communications strategy will require resident input.”
The self appointed chairman of the steering group, who used to be the line manager of the authors, as we have already revealed states that residents will need to sell this lie to the wider community, in order to make it more plausible.
- “YM informed the group that there is no risk to adjacent residents e.g. Housing estate or public footpaths;”
Her opinion, not ours, would she choose to live there?- probably not like the rest of the steering group’s regulatory team singing from the same hymnsheet, but from a far absent church.
“RN asked a question on WB’s behalf: Why was the housing estate built so close to
the Lagoon? Action: RN noted that he will research further and report back to WB.”
Answer- Because his council made an abysmal case to the planning inspector, who in turn did not consider the relevant information concerning the risk posed by material in the lagoon- nor the poisoning of wildfowl, which at that time was still being blamed upon anything other than the toxic chemical in the sediment.
It is also because of money and the manner in which housing developers are increasingly able to build on the most unsuitable locations (in this case a former sewage works) , so that politicians, (and council officers come to that), can enjoy their life in the green belt isolation but do not care about overpopulating towns with brownfield development.
“PS added that the report’s findings as presented were reassuring. It was agreed that a public communication strategy would be required to ensure that all key information was made accessible to local residents. It was agreed that communications would be led by the HPA with input from the other agencies as required.”
Once again we see the shillery in action of this phoney steering group- trying to play the resident marks.
“KK had concerns about the information made available by Barratt Homes to people purchasing properties on the adjacent residential area suggesting that residents were aware that a Lagoon existed but not what was contained within it.
This was not an issue that the HPA study could address but it was recognised as being important to local residents”
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT, FROM A GENUINE RESIDENT. We could not possibly comment, but would note Barratt Homes’ advertising strategy at another of their development sites.
“JM outlined Rhodia’s intentions for the longer term future of the site. The company had a commitment to reduce the potential exposure risk to wildfowl but recognised that the removal of 1 million tonnes of waste would present unnecessary and unacceptable risks to local residents.”
Here we see the true hypocrisy of these chemical charlatons at work. THEY considered it safe to dump this waste there, THEY considered it safe to the environment storing it there, THEY consider it safe to leave it there forever. THEY consider it unsafe to remove it from there, THEY consider it unsafe to remove it to another environment, and THEY consider it safe to leave it there.
We also get the impression that they are giving the people who have bought houses who are now shielding them from having to remove the waste from the site a Hobson’s choice concerning safety of the site- Remove it and you will NOT be safe, keep it and you will have to live with it. NB- NOTE TO RICHARD NORTON’S RESEARCH
“Why was the housing estate built so close to the Lagoon?”
There are no “potential exposure risks”, there is proven systemic poisoning of wildfowl, which they paid for, but obviously do not want to admit.
NOT MENTIONED BY JOHN MOORHOUSE- SITE REDEVELOPMENT MANAGER- (NOW THERE’S A CLUE)- IS THE LEGAL REQUIREMENT UNDER THE LANDFILL DIRECTIVE TO CLOSE THE SITE. WE LEARNED FROM AN FOI REQUEST THAT THIS HAD TO BE ACHIEVED BY MARCH 2014- WHICH IS WHY THIS WORKS REALLY TOOK PLACE.
“KK asked about the life span of the textile membrane. JM noted that it has a 25 year warranty guaranteed by the supplier.”
So they will blame the supplier if it goes wrong, just as BP tried to blame subcontractors for faulty apparatus that caused terrible pollution. Note that the geotextile is permeable to gas- to allow phosphine (which they claim not to have detected in ambient air), a chance to escape so that it can not be measured.
- Dave Whitford identifies that it is still “A hazardous waste site“- yet the Environment agencies what’s in your backyard? function on their website, fraudulently tries to suggest otherwise by deceiving people.
“AK noted that the techniques adopted in the report could be used as a basis for any monitoring during these works.”
Not very reassuring there then.
The summary presentation was given with the minutes provided by The Health Protection Agency, authors of the report. These can be read below.
OUR VIEW OF THE REPORT AND ITS FINDINGS.
The source of the majority of the HPA’s findings are their clients Rhodia UK Limited, and their contractors ERM- so they wouldn’t be prone to giving out biased or selective information in such a report there would they?
Historic innacuraces and biased sources used in the report- some key points
- The HPA claim in the executive summary that the lagoon “was used for disposal of phosphorus waste from 1948 up until 2006.” WRONG– It was in use from 1942- SOURCE –THE ORIGINAL DRAFT LICENCE CONSIDERED BY WEST MIDLANDS COUNTY COUNCIL IN 1978.
- Their “site history” is accompanied by the ad “Rhodia are one of the largest chemical manufacturing plants in the West Midlands and historically manufactured potassium chlorate and white phosphorus for the match industry.” OMITTED IS THAT ALBRIGHT AND WILSON ALSO MADE WHITE PHOSPHORUS FOR THE MINISTRY OF SUPPLY IN BOTH WORLD WARS– WHICH IS THE WHOLE BASIS OF WHY THE POOL CAME TO BE IN THE FIRST PLACE!
The biggest failing of the HPA here, which cannot possibly have been accidentally missed in a review if they had truely looked at all the available information, is the changing nature of The Albright and Wilson site prior to site licensing. This saw the creation of a subsidiary lagoon and the sale of a substantial part of the Western site boundary, (including part of the main contaminated lagoon) to a steel company.
WE HAVE LOOKED AT THE REAL CHANGING SITE HISTORY IN MUCH MORE DETAIL THAN THE HPA, INCLUDING INDISPUTABLE OVERHEAD AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE SITE. This can be viewed HERE.
- The HPA’s potted history of Albright and Wilson and Rhodia’s activities at Trinity Street manage to omit both World wars when P4 production was at its greatest at Oldbury! The history of these periods ARE publicly available and in the sources that the HPA claims to have used to inform their history of phosphorus production at Trinity Street. Namely chapter 13 of “100 YEARS OF PHOSPHORUS MAKING”.
They do not mention the production of phosphorus weapons at Oldbury, including AW bombs.
WE HAVE LOOKED AT THESE PERIODS WHICH ARE CRUCIAL TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS SITE.
- The HPA claim that there had been some “concern from the local residents that there may be some risk to human health from the lagoon.” In reality their fears were based on the proven white phosphorus systemic poisoning of birds ingesting sediment at the lake outside their back gardens . The HPA omit this PROVEN FACT however to not labour the point that this lake contains a banned rat poison dumped there by their clients, which was still causing a proven risk of death to wildfowl. “Over the past 10 years there have been a number of reported deaths of wildfowl at the lagoon. Since 2001 the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) (formerly Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA)) has been investigating the cause of death of the birds.”
THE AHVLA FAILED TO IDENTIFY THE CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE BIRDS- WE DID WITH THE AID OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS- WHITE PHOSPHORUS POISONING. RHODIA MISLEAD THE VLA BY NOT TELLING THEM OR US ABOUT THE TOXIC CHEMICALS CONTAINED IN THE LAGOON SEDIMENT- THAT THEY WERE REQUIRED BY LAW TO PROTECT THEIR EMPLOYEES AND VISITORS FROM BEING EXPOSED TO.
- The HPA claim that the last waste at Rattlechain was received in 2004. This is not the truth. We saw waste deposited from the back of a van in April 2006, shortly before the official end of tipping via tanker. They report on the “historic” deposit of waste being pumped from tankers, yet not the known deposit from CANAL BARGE, which had its own HUMAN HEALTH RISKS!
- The HPA claim that they reviewed “all relevant available reports that Rhodia hold regarding the site.”- ON THIS POINT WE WOULD COMMENT THAT WHAT RHODIA CONSIDER TO BE “RELEVANT ” INFORMATION AND WHAT WE WOULD ARE TWO DIFFERENT CONCEPTS ENTIRELY. THEY DID NOT CONSIDER IT “RELEVANT” TO TELL US ABOUT WHITE PHOSPHORUS TOXICITY WHEN ENTERING THE SITE WITH THEIR PERMISSION!
- The HPA state “As part of the assessment a review was undertaken of all available relevant existing data held by Rhodia Ltd, Environment Agency and Sandwell Metroploitan Borough Council with regards to the rattlechain lagoon site and adjacent housing estate.”A footnote at the bottom of the page reads
“1 Reports were screened for relevance, where data was repeated most recent version of report was reviewed. Reports which did not contain information pertinent to the HHRA were not reviewed.”
Review of previous reports.
Any reports concerning the development of the housing estate from 2003 are of absolutely no relevance to the threat of the rattlechain lagoon to human health itself. The HPA included this information in an attempt to tie up loose ends with Barratt Homes- given that residents felt that they had been misled, as has been already expressed. Many people on the estate felt that they had been conned into buying a new home next to a hazardous waste site that they claim to have not known about before doing so. Many used Barratt Homes Solicitors in the exchange of contracts. It also provides a useful yarn in attempting to distract attention away from the lagoon itself. Imported soil in peoples’ gardens have no relevance at all. If this soil had been imported from within the lagoon site itself, then it would have. It was not.
The other desk top studies mentioned by the HPA concerning the housing estate, which also look at the lagoon, are also meaningless in terms of quantifying a risk assessment as they do not carry out any testing at the site and rely upon the original Cremer and Warner report of 1991.
- The Cremer and Warner Report 1991.
Although the HPA conclude “Whilst the report provides useful background on the site and the potential wastes deposited, it cannot be relied upon for undertaking the human health risk assessment.”
This is total rubbish. Though this report has many flaws, it remains the only credible one carried out at the site because Albright and Wilson and Rhodia did not pay for its completion, and it is certainly more credible a source than the HPA’s human health risk assessment. The HPA make this claim because the results carried out differ substantially from the ones which ERM monitoring have reported- particularly concerning phosphine concentrations at the lagoon. The C/W report also confirms levels at the site as they then stood. There are many people who have either come into contact with the lagoon and its environs dating from this time, before it and after it. These include Albright and Wilson staff and contractor tanker drivers themselves. The HPA report looks at “the current” setup, as it keeps reminding. It is convenient that there are no human health risk assessments made by the HPA concerning the reported high levels of phosphine mentioned in the 1991 report.
The HPA mention the “low” levels of phosphine detected in the water in their report. THEY DO NOT HOWEVER MENTION THE SUBSTANTIALLY HIGH LEVELS FOUND IN THE SEDIMENT. IE 0.8-113 MG/KG
- URS investigations
The HPA also state that they were given access to the elusive secret reports which Rhodia have never made publicly available and which the Environment agency also claim never to have seen. We know that Rhodia’s consultants ERM also had access to these reports having confirmed this to us. Whilst we cannot “review” these reports as we cannot see them, we do get a little more out of the HPA than has previously been stated in other released documents. We give their analysis of these two reports below in full.
“5.1.2. URS (2002) Final Report: Rattlechain Landfill, Oldbury. Quantitative Risk Assessment
This report by URS utilises information from the Cremer and Warner report and other previous groundwater and lagoon water analysis undertaken by another consultancy between 1996 – 2001. This report also makes reference to an options appraisal study which was undertaken by URS in 2002, which included chemical analysis of the lagoon sediment and supernatant. The sediment samples recorded high concentrations of calcium (5,400 mg/kg- 310,000 mg/kg) and phosphates (1,800 – 915,000 mg/kg) with maximum concentrations of elemental phosphorus (122 mg/kg) and phosphine (113 mg/kg). High concentrations of sulphate (600 – 10,300 mg/kg), fluoride (38 mg/kg-18,000 mg/kg) and toluene extractable matter (150 – 16,000 mg/kg) were also recorded.
In addition the report makes references to the likely wastes deposited at the site. It is stated that drums were deposited at the lagoon annually until 1995, which contained phosphatic wastes with up to 1% phosphorus. Other wastes deposited at the lagoon included a selection of acids including sulphuric, hydrochloric and fluorosilicic acid. There was also reported to be disposal of other solid chemical waste material and scrap machinery. The report provides a detailed discussion of the groundwater quality and flow direction. The deep groundwater flow is concluded to be towards the north and north east, in the direction of the River Tame. They also interpreted that there is some perched (shallow) groundwater flow present which has been observed to flow into the lagoon. The report also concluded that no significant impact in the groundwater had been detected down-hydraulic gradient but that continued monitoring should be undertaken. The report mainly concentrated on groundwater and did not include any further analysis of the soil quality at the site.
THIS ANALYSIS APPEARS TO CONFIRM THAT LEVELS OF PHOSPHINE AND WHITE PHOSPHORUS WERE STILL SIGNIFICANTLY HIGH DURING THIS ANALYSIS WHICH RHODIA PAID FOR, AS THEY HAD BEEN IN THE CREMER AND WARNER REPORT CONDUCTED 11 YEARS EARLIER.
“5.1.3. URS (2004) Final report- Additional Investigation and Monitoring of the Rattlechain Lagoon
In 2004 URS undertook installation of three boreholes at the site (one up-gradient and two down-gradient) to analyse the groundwater quality. Further soil analysis was undertaken at these borehole locations. The soil analysis was compared to Dutch Intervention Values (DIVs), UK Soil Guideline Values (SGVs) and United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) values. The investigation confirmed the earlier findings within the Cremer and Warner investigation that the made ground in the south of the site was much shallower than the northern bank.
The results of the soil analysis indicated that copper and iron exceeded their respective assessment criteria. There were also elevated levels of phosphorus and sulphate detected.
Within the groundwater elevated concentrations of manganese, chloride, sulphate, iron, nickel, ammonium and sodium were noted. The elevated concentrations of heavy metals detected within the shallow groundwater were suggested to have possibly originated from an off-site source, such as the landfill to the east of the site.”
SO WHAT WERE THE “ELEVATED LEVELS OF PHOSPHORUS AND SULPHATE DETECTED”?- THE HPA DO NOT STATE, THEY OMIT THE INFORMATION.
- The HPA undertook a literature review of published information on phosphorus compounds. We do not consider it a detailed enough review but biased in favour of Rhodia’s interpretations of products that they and Albright and Wilson made and make. It almost sometimes reads as an advertising space within the “independent” report.
HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY CLAIM TO BE CARRYING OUT A HUMAN HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT CONCERNING WHITE PHOSPHORUS, WHEN ON PAGE 10, YOU SINGULARLY FAIL TO STATE THAT THE CHEMICAL IS HIGHLY TOXIC BY INGESTION!?
- The HPA claim to have examined all “plausible pollutant linkages”- yet they summarily dismiss the most obvious- the poisoned birds themselves coming into contact with people. On numerous occassions within the report we see the same ludicrous repeated statement (give page numbers) “small accumulation of bird droppings from a few birds can be safely cleaned up with soap and water.”
- “Similarly defecation by wildfowl on the adjacent areas is unlikely to
present a risk of phosphorus exposure as the amount of phosphorus in faeces/droppings would be expected to be extremely low due to the fact that white
phosphorus is well absorbed by the birds’ gastrointestinal tract. We
would also expect any phosphorus in bird droppings to be in the form
of phosphate and not elemental phosphorus.”The following article from the Journal of the American Medical Association provides evidence that the above “expectation” is not based on previous observations:ARTICLE | March 29, 1976
Acute Yellow Phosphorus Poisoning”Smoking Stool Syndrome”
Frank A. Simon, MD; Larry K. Pickering, MD
Three cases of acute phosphorus poisoning are reported. The source of this poison was a rodenticide, which may be in more common use presently because of the increasing resistance of rodents to warfarin derivatives. The safest method of managing poisoning from this highly toxic substance is prevention. Two of the patients had a history of
previous medicine overdose.”
(JAMA 235:1343-1344, 1976)There is evidence that birds as well as people that ingest white phosphorus contaminated matter produce what is known as “smoking stool syndrome.”
They also claim that “the potential of elemental phosphorus in predators resulting from the consumption of contaminated prey organisms has not been well studied.”
BUT IT HAS , and RELEVANT TO THIS SITE BEEN STUDIED! There are also many areas of data concerning the acute environmental exposure of the chemical which the HPA fail to mention.
- As part of the review of other sites contaminated with p4 (which fail to include those of former AW sites at Strode Road 07_01_09_Council and Portsihead), they mention East Michaud Flats, and Eagle River Flats. Of the latter site they report “As waterfowl fed on insects and seeds in the water and sediment they also ingested the toxic white phosphorus granules. Ingestion of just a few miligrams of white phosphorus by waterfowl is lethal.”
The scientists who conducted these studies have viewed our footage of ailing birds at the site as well as the post-mortem reports, and support the conclusion that the birds at Rattlechain can be and have been exposed to p4 in the sediment by ingesting the toxic white phosphorus waste within it. The links between this source and receptor “caused” the deaths.
Masaging the results for their clients
- EA MONITORING
As part of the HPA report, they were provided with only recent monitoring of the canal discharge water from the canal by the environment agency. For some reason the HPA decided to produce the UK drinking water standards next to the exceeded EA monitoring data. Some of these results however offer little in the way of guidance as there are no health or water quality standards available- including for phosphorus. The level of arsenic exceeded the UK water quality standard by 8 times! The HPA point out that people are not drinking water from the canal or bathing from it, yet this is not the same for wildfowl is it? They also do not consider the dermal risk of coming into contact with this water. They also fail to realise that many rather foolish people in the area do often swim in the canal during hot summers. We have certainly seen plenty of evidence of this!
- RHODIA MONITORING
The HPA claim “Rhodia undertake regular monitoring of the boreholes which were installed on site during the Cremer and Warner and the URS 2004 investigation. The location of these boreholes is shown in Figure 10. The results of monitoring from 2004 – 2010 for groundwater and lagoon quality were provided to the HPA. This monitoring is understood to have been undertaken as part of Rhodia’s permit conditions for the site.
The results indicated that for arsenic, manganese, sulphate, sodium, chloride and ammonium there were exceedances of the drinking water standards (DWS) up to 2007 within both the ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ lagoon. However since 2007 there have not been any further exceedances.
The groundwater boreholes also showed exceedances of these compounds when compared to of drinking water standards (DWS), as well as nickel, aluminium, iron and lead up to 2007. Since 2007 there have not been any further exceedances.”
We have reproduced the boreholes refered to as figure 10 below.
BH 1-6 installed by Cremer and Warner 1990
RC101, RC107 and SA 101 installed by URS 2004.
THERE IS NO EXPLANATION AS TO HOW OR WHY THERE WERE NO REPORTED “FURTHER EXCEEDANCES.”
One of the bore holes mentioned and shown in the HPA figure 10 relates to BH5 in the top Eastern corner of the site adjacent to the canal and the landfill site to the East. We are puzzled by this claimed monitoring of this borehole during the years stated and also of Rhodia’s monitoring of it subsequently. This is because of part of a freedom of information request supplied by the Environment agency concerning “guidance.” In this document dwhitford_P1 “Notes of meeting about revising the Closure Plan for Rattlechain Lagoon EAWML 40803” (WRITTEN BY DAVE WHITFORD OF THE EA), it is stated at minuted note 1.3
“BH5 has been found and will be checked for efficacy as it is the deepest well in the rock. Plain case through made ground. 6 years data on the seepage from Mintworth Quays site will be reviewed.”
This meeting is dated 8th May 2013, during which the site works were well underway. If this borehole had been “found” then how could Rhodia have been carrying out monitoring from it in previous years? It casts doubt on any of their monitoring activities and therefore any of the monitoring that they have been providing to the EA or anyone else during their occupation of this site and permitted activities within it.
The HPA claim to have identified data gaps having reviewed previous reports and Rhodia’s (dubious) monitoring.
“It is understood from information provided by Rhodia and within the reports above that waste disposal continued at the site up until 2006 and therefore updated analytical data was required to inform the risk assessment.”
NOTE EARLIER AT 2.1.3 landfills, THEY HAD CLAIMED THAT “The site was formally closed in March 2006 and no waste material has been deposited in the lagoon since then, it is understood that the last waste deposited at the site was in 2004.”
- Sediment- further analysis was carried out based on the Cremer and Warner identified chemicals- these being based on what Albright and Wilson had advised them might be in the sediments!
- “The existing lagoon water analysis results were considered to be fairly comprehensive, with current up to date samples……It was recommended in addition to the contaminants which are tested during the periodic monitoring that phosphine (PH3) and elemental phosphorus (P) were also included within analysis. Analysis for phosphorus pentoxide (P4O10) was not considered to be required as the review of fate and transport processes within Section 4 indicated that given its potential to react with water and air it is high (sic) unlikely to be present within the lagoon sediments or waters.”
Thus the HPA admit the gross deficiences in the “monitoring” carried out in that it does not regularly test for either p4 or phosphine in lagoon water pumped out into the Birmingham canal under discharge consent. An FOI request to the environment agency confirmed this also.
The HPA decision NOT to consider phosphorus pentoxide any further is an abysmal failing. They refer to the Cremer and Warner findings for sediment being a good starting point, yet this report DID test for P205 and finding it.
- In ground contamination <0.005mg/kg- 9.6% weight for weight (seems an extreme variable here?) ,
- lagoon water 12-22 mg/l,
- and lagoon sediment 0.18- 91.5 mg/kg.
THE PAGES BELOW ARE FROM THE CREMER AND WARNER REPORT CONFIRMING THESE TEST RESULTS.
CONCEPTUAL SITE MODEL
A “conceptual site model” is a tool which is used by those wishing to develop housing on contaminated land or by those wishing to apologise and mislead people into beleiving that the risk of the contaminants on sites such as rattlechain are low.
The three strands to the theorists equation are
(a) a source of contamination in, on or under the ground.
(b) a pathway by which the contaminant is causing significant harm (or which presents a significant possibility of such harm being caused).
(c) a receptor of a type specified in the regulations.
The contaminant is a substance that has the potential to cause harm or to cause pollution of controlled waters.
A receptor can be human beings, an ecological system or living organism, property such as crops, livestock or buildings.
A pathway is a route where a receptor is exposed to or could be exposed to a contaminant.
Wheras the source and receptor are always real concepts, the pathway is always the weakest link in the chain and the loophole used by the bookish theorists to allow almost anything to occur, or to deny the source being of risk to the receptor. This is because a pathway is only a theoretical concept, as imagined by those who set out blatantly to try to claim that there is no risk to the receptor from the source.
Thus the HPA considered that “phosphorus wastes” were likely to be the main contaminant source. “Phosphorus pentoxide (p4O10) was not considered to be a potential contaminant of concern as the review of fate and transport processes wirhin section 4 indicated that given its potential to react with water and air, it is considered to be high (sic) unlikely to be present within the lagoon sediments or water.”
ON THIS CONCLUSION WE WOULD REFER THE AUTHORS OF THE HPA REPORT TO THE CREMER AND WARNER REPORT’S POSITIVE FINDINGS OF PHOSPHORUS PENTOXIDE (p205) WHERE IT WAS FOUND IN BOTH THE LAGOON SEDIMENTS AND LAGOON WATERS AS SEEN ABOVE.
“The site is well secured so direct contact with the soil by members of the public and residents of the adjacent housing estate are considered highly unlikely.”
“The risk to trespassers has also not been included within the CSM as a potential receptor. This is because the site is well secured with fences and cameras; therefore it is highly unlikely that trespassers will access the site. Pathways relating to workers or contractors accessing the site were excluded as this is covered by the relevant Health and Safety legislation and appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is worn to mitigate the risk.”
DURING THE 2013 WORKS, WE ARE AWARE THAT TRESPASSERS WERE ON THE SITE, EVEN DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY WHEN CONTRACTORS WERE ON THE SITE. RHODIA’S CONTRACTOR ERM CAME UPTO THE CANAL EMBANKMENT HAVING SEEN 2 INDIVIDUALS WALKING DOWN THE NORTH EMBANKMENT.
“The risks to ecological receptors are also beyond the scope of this report.”
BY THIS THEY MEAN PREDATORS, WHICH WE HAVE DIRECTLY OBSERVED EATING DEAD BIRDS AT THE LAGOON, AND GOING OFF SITE.
WE ALSO OBSERVE THAT ANYTHING THAT THE THEORISTS AT THE HPA CANNOT DENY OR WANT TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM, (WHICH MIGHT HINDER THEIR CLIENTS VISION OF THE SITE AS “SAFE”), ARE CONVENIENTLY BATTED AWAY BY REFERENCE TO OTHER USELESS LEGISLATION OR REGULATORS LIKE THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY AND THE HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE. THESE ORGANISATIONS THEMSELVES WILL ALSO ALWAYS ATTEMPT TO DISMISS CONCERNS BY PASSING THE BLAME GAME ONTO ANOTHER ORGANISATION… AND SO THE MERRY-GO ROUND GOES ON.
By far the biggest failing of the conceptual site model drawn by the HPA was that the smaller lagoon was considered by them to be constructed in etruria marl, WHICH WE NOW KNOW IT ISN’T, and that it contained only water, WHICH WE NOW KNOW IT DIDN’T. It did not consisder dissolution of contaminants from this smaller lagoon nor volatisation of contaminants from this pool to the adjacent John’s Lane right of way. Nor did it consider pathways between the permeable gravel causeway, which is entirely man made of material of questionable origin, (and highly likely contaminated itself). A palisade fence does not stop chemicals migrating in the wind.
ERM’S INITIAL SITE INVESTIGATION RESULTS
The HPA report that “The site investigation works were on the 25th May 2011 and ambient air monitoring was undertaken on the 9th June 2011 (due to availability of equipment) undertaken by consultancy ERM.”
The report states that ERM undertook 3 vapour well along the Southern boundary of the site( nearest to the houses), shallow soil sampling, lagoon sediment sampling, vapour sampling from the vapour monitoring wells, ambient air monitoring along the southern boundary and lagoon water sampling. This looks like an impressive list on paper, but when you look at the detail, there are sufficient gaping holes apparent. We also maintain that the HPA present results selectively to the bias of their client Rhodia, just as their environmental consultants presnted a biased set of results when undertaking the monitoring.
To start with we would like to point out the HPA’s assertion that
“It is important to note that when undertaking a site investigation it is not possible to sample all media of interest. Therefore representative samples have to be undertaken to infer the conditions across the wider site. This approach has been undertaken by ERM and is considered to be consistent with UK best practice sampling techniques and sufficiently robust for the purposes of the HHRA.”
WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH THIS STATEMENT REALLY IS.
- When looking at the sampling locations that are refered to in figure 12 of the report, shown below, it can be seen that ERM undertook only 4 lagoon sediment samples, ( labelled as CD3A-CD6)“exact locations not reported by ERM but within main lagoon.”
- It is not stated whether any samples were taken on the adjacent Mintworth landfill site side, where it has been claimed by Rhodia’s other consultants that there is a migration from an off-site source which could explain the elevated presence of some contaminants. There is also no explanation as to the depths that the sediment were taken from, or the stating in the report that over time this sediment has been redistributed across the lagoon, so may not be representative across the whole lagoon sediment from these locations.
- There are no samples taken from the north embankment side, scene of the historic canal tipping operations, where we know for a fact that the level of p4 in the wastes were higher than those later tipped into the site from the south of the site by road tanker.
- Note the HPA bias which read like a Rhodia press release. Rhodia present them with their historic information as they also present them with the limited sampling- so what level of scrutiny can be applied to one source that were always going to try to present a misleading lie about the contamination with a highly toxic chemical that has been proven to have poisoned wildfowl on the lake?
“The results of the lagoon sediment sampling indicated that the samples appeared to be consistent with the waste which is understood to have been historically deposited within the lagoon (i.e predominantly calcium phosphate wastes).
- “Elemental (white phosphorus) was observed at a concentration of 99.6mg/kg (99,599 ug/kg) in samples CD4 at 16.0m. It was not observed above the level of quantification (LOQ3) (2 UG/KG in any of the four samples taken.”
The level stated here is extremely high, yet the HPA do not make much of it, nor do they state what the concentrations were at the other four samples or the levels at different depths. (WE KNOW THAT P4 IS AT THE SURFACE OF THE SEDIMENT GIVEN THAT BIRDS HAVE BEEN FOUND TO HAVE INGESTED IT. THEY DO NOT FEED AT 16 METRES DOWN!
- At this point it should be noted that ERM had had access to the unseen and unpublished URS sediment investigations, whereby it was already known which areas may have contained higher levels of P4 in the sediment than others. We also strongly believe that some of these areas were not accidentally chosen to trial the geotextile membrane laying scheme after the Lankelma sediment investigation – thus covering them over and making it unlikely that these areas would be again resampled in any subsequent “investigation”. We also note Tom Dutton’s prior seeking of permission to cover up “the beach area”, scene of spillages of white phosphorus with hardcore in 2001.
- The soil samples and soil vapour samples were only taken on the south side of the site, and not in the contaminated North embankment side, nor on the other two sides. It is claimed that no phosphine gas was detected, but these were collected in summa canisters. NB, these are usually used for indoor monitoring, and not on outdoor lagoons such as this!
- Only one water sample was taken from the main lagoon. WHITE PHOSPHORUS IS STATED AS BEING DETECTED AT A CONCENTRATION OF 0.0315 UG/L.
This therefore indicates that the toxic contaminant of concern is mobile from the sediment layer, and can therefore move within the lgoon and potentially out of it. It also confimrs that when the lagoon water was above the causeway path, (and the causeway path being breached as frequently happened), that this contaminated p4 water was capable of being pumped into The Birmingham canal from the small lagoon. This all took place of course under the noses of the Environment Agency regulator, who could not test for p4 from their “monitoring” of the discharge. THEY ALSO SET NO LIMIT FOR P4 IN THE WATER.
The confirmation of p4 being present in the water also appears to nonsense the claims of former Rhodia works manager John Scott who attempted to distract attention away from the toxic sediment by drawing attention to the “safe” water. THE WATER WAS ALSO NOT “SAFE.”
THE HPA OF COURSE SKIP OVER ALL OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS IN THEIR BIASED REPORT.
- The ambient air sampling is also particularly weak. The HPA state that a Draeger PAC III Detector was used over a six hour period (along the southern boundary only) again. They do not state what time frame this occured in which is important concerning phosphine gas given that it is most apparent in UV light early morning, and would not be likely to be detected upwind in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day. You would also be less likely to detect it high up above water level.
WOT NO PHOSPHINE GAS?
On page 38-39 of the report it is stated “The results of the monitoring indicated that phosphine gas was not detected. However during the monitoring it was noted that unusual readings were detected towards the end of the battery life. This issue was explored with the supplier (draeger) and it was concluded that moisture in the air affected the readings.”
On this point we submitted some cross examination to this very weak statement to the author of the report Yolande Macklin.
Q. In the figure 12 on page 41 it states that ERM monitoring took place in June and November, so where does your data from August and October come from and who conducted this?
- We asked Marianne Walsh who has carried out detailed investigations and remedial feasibility studies in the US sites cited in the HPA report who finds it difficult to believe that no phosphine was detected as it is always associated with P4. As p4 has been found, but no phosphine, we continue to question the integrity of the data supplied.
Before the capping of the lagoon in 2013 we observed gas being emitted from below the water. After capping we continue to observe bubbles of gas coming to the surface of the water. TWO DIFFERENT STATEMENTS ARE EVIDENT HERE.
- “NO PHOSPHINE WAS DETECTED“- claim the HPA
- WE STATE- Phosphine is being given off at the lagoon, as is demonstrated by historic reports, chemical breakdown, direct observation and expert advice from an authoratative source, which the authors of this report are not.
ERM’S FURTHER MONITORING
The report made further recommendations to carry out additional monitoring of lagoon water samples, sediment, soil vapour samples and ambient air sampling to look at VOC’s and as stated already allegedly phosphine.
Of most important note to us were the lagoon sediment sampling which is stated to have taken place in the small lagoon (for the first time) and two locations in the larger lagoon. In figure 12, these are stated to have been undertaken by ERM in November 2012 and are labelled A1, B1 (IN THE SMALLER LAGOON), and A2 and B2 (IN THE LARGER LAGOON.) 8 samples were taken from the top and bottom of the cores, but this does not show levels inbetween the two variables. It could also be said that the locations were not particularly well spaced if the locations are accurate.
The background to this monitoring was undoubtedly inspired by us of course, when we sent the HPA, the Environment agency, and Rhodia an historic picture of the rattlechain site which confirmed that the site had once only been one single pool, thus proving that historic waste would be present in the smaller lagoon, which was always described as “clean side” by both the misguided regulator and the deceitful regulated at the site.
In bold letters we state the HPA finding, which confirms the Environment agency inadequacy.
“ELEMENTAL PHOSPHORUS WAS DETECTED IN THE SMALL LAGOON AT SAMPLE B1 (305 TO 635 MG/KG), WITH LOWER CONCENTRATIONS ALSO DETECTED AT A2 AND B2 IN THE LARGE LAGOON (1.38 TO 1.63 UG/KG.”
WE THEREFORE HAVE CONFIRMATION HERE THAT WHITE PHOSPHORUS CONCENTRATION IN THIS SO CALLED “CLEAN SIDE” WAS GREATER IN THIS SIDE THAN THE SO CALLED “DIRTY SIDE”. THE AMOUNTS FOUND WERE MASSIVE- 50MG/KG THE LETHAL ADULT HUMAN DOSE. WE ALREADY KNOW THAT P4 WAS DETECTED IN THE WATER SAMPLE TAKEN FORM THE LARGER LAGOON, PROVING ITS MOBILITY IN THE WATER, AND THIS OFFERS FURTHER PROOF THAT WHITE PHOSPHORUS CONTAMINATED WATER WILL HAVE BEEN PUMPED INTO THE BIRMINGHAM CANAL, WHICH THE REGULATOR NEVER TESTED FOR NOR CONSIDERED TO BE CAPABLE OF BEING DETECTED.
Despite this the HPA try to offer a biased spin on the issue by stating
“These results combined with the previous investigation results appeared to indicate that the elemental phosphorus concentrations increased with depth from surface.”
Given that the b1 sample is stated to be at 7.26 metres down, that they do not know the history of what happened when this smaller lagoon was formed, this statement is not credible. Any detected at surface level in a lagoon that is supposedly “clean” to be exported offsite to receptors is a pathway that should not have existed in the first place. We wonder what health effects these may have caused to people off site in the years gone by- which is of course not something that the HPA wer employed to consider in their biased whitewash report.
The HPA present their findings in a table 8 in the report. It is only when you look at the small print that it states what the blanks in the report actually mean. “not analysed”
So in the HPA human health risk assessment that Rhodia paid them to undertake we have rather a lot of chemicals that were -“not analysed”
Mercury and nickel in lagoon sediment- “not analysed”
Selenium and water soluble boron -“not analysed”
In lagoon water and lagoon sediment
Benz (a) anthacene-“not analysed”
Benzo (bk) fluoanthene-“not analysed”
Benzo (a) pyrene-“not analysed”
Indeno (1,2,3-cd)pyrene -“not analysed”
Dibenzo (a,h)anthracene-“not analysed”
Benzo (b) fluoranthene-“not analysed”
In the lagoon sediment and soil
Carbon disulphide-“not analysed”
1,2,3- Trimethylbenzene-“not analysed”
1,2,4- Trimethylbenzene-“not analysed”
1,2- Dimethylbenzene-“not analysed”
IT SHOULD BE STATED THAT MANY OF THESE CHEMICALS
- ARE OF EXTEMELY DANGEROUS NATURE
- MAY MIX TO PRODUCE DISTORTED MONITORING, EG BENZENE AND CARBON DISULPHIDE WITH WHITE PHOSPHORUS
- HAVE BEEN MANUFACTURED OR USED AT THE TRINITY STREET SITE
- WERE FOUND IN HIGH CONCENTRATIONS IN THE HOUGHTON CHEMICAL ARM LAGOON
“to summarise; the sediments are highly contaminated by trace metals, oil, some industrial solvents, hexachlorobenzene and PAH.” (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)
- WOULD THERFORE HAVE BEEN PRESENT IN THE WASTE AT RATTLECHAIN LAGOON
SOME OF THIS MATERIAL IS ALSO DIRECTLY LINKED TO THE MILITARY SUPPLIERS THAT FILLED THIS LAKE WITH THEIR WASTE FOR THE BRITISH STATE- BENZENE USED IN AW BOMBS FOR EXAMPLE- SO WHY WAS THIS NOT TESTED FOR?
THE ANSWER IS BECAUSE THE HPA AND THEIR CLIENT DID NOT WANT TO FIND IT , AND SO FOR THIS REASON IT WAS -“not analysed”
The HPA act here as blind reviewers of information presented to them, but do not consider that this information would be unbiased.
WHEN DID THE ERM INVESTIGATION WORK ACTUALLY TAKE PLACE?
We directly observed ERM’s work on the site, BUT THIS TOOK PLACE IN JANUARY 2011 AND NOT THE DATES SPECIFIED IN THE HPA REPORT!
To start with, the extensive area of trees lining the south of the site, and nearest to the houses were completely removed. This would have the psychological technique of bringing the visibility of the lagoon into closer focus for those residents whose properties backed onto the site. It would also offer less physical protection from soil dervived dust particles and noise.
Residents could now have a clearer view of the obtrusive waste pipe. This would allow Rhodia to “remove” the visually obtrusive structure with the excuse that it was based on “residents concerns”- along with concerns about the contents under the water. It is also thought that this was to enable the surveying of a suspected “filled in ” former mine shaft on this side of the site. The record of this does not appear therefore to be very precise as to how or when this was carried out.
Some surveying work of the lagoon certainly took place, supervised by ERM.
A large crane enabled a spud barge to be lowered into the lagoon, just as another had undertaken sampling in 2009, as described in the Lankelma review.
The contractors wore full PPE high visibility clothing, which was in stark contrast to anything that we were ever offered when on the site, or that which tanker drivers unloading the waste were also given.
We did not see ERM on site during the claimed monitoring period and we find it extremely unlikely that during our twice or greater daily monitoring of this site that we could have missed them or anyone elses presence at the site if continuous monitoring had taken place. THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN PICTURES TAKEN OF COURSE FOR EVIDENCE.
What we did observe directly in May 2011 were the bizarre sight of several empty pop bottles connected to the canal discharge point at intervals secured by gaffa tape.
These were all located in the small lagoon.
HUMAN HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT AND “BEST PRACTICE”
Througout the HPA report, the reader is informed that it is “consistent with UK best practice”- it is repeated many many times, almost as though the authors are trying to convince themselves rather than brainwash the ill informed members of the public who would swallow the whitewash. But what exactly is “UK BEST PRACTICE”, AND MORE TO THE POINT WHO DECIDES WHAT IS “UK BEST PRACTICE?”
In their report, the HPA refer to CLR 11, an Environment agency published “modle procedures for the management of land contamination 2004.”
The purpose of this document was supposedly to set out the way in which the government and regulators will expect any assessment, investigation, remediation and reporting of development on potentially contaminated land to be addressed by a developer,usually for housing, within the UK planning system. IE remediation of contaminated land only ever appears to be linked to making money for housing companies, by selling people a crock to live in.
A table is reproduced from the guidance showing how their idea of “risk” can be tabulated into a nicey nicey flow chart, far removed from the practical risks facing those who actually come into contact with the toxic waste, or are unfortunate to live on or near to it. It is only when you do a bit of research as to who wrote clr11 for the environment agency that the smell of rot sets in, and the “pollutant linkage” of independence sacrificed for cheque book science becomes apparent.
One of the authors of clr11 is Mr Phil Crowcroft. He used to be an employee of The Environment agency in land policy. Subsequently and currently he is a director of Environmental Resources Management (ERM)- Rhodia/Solvay’s contractors undertaking the “risk assessment” and supplying the data to the HPA for their comment which they claim to be consistent with “UK BEST PRACTICE.” SO IN OTHER WORDS THE HPA ARE CONDUCTING A HUMAN HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT FOLLOWING MR CROCROFT’S IDEA OF “BEST PRACTICE”, THAT MAKES HIS COMPANY MONEY BY FOLLOWING HIS IDEAS THAT ARE USED AS A MODEL. CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY “THE POLLUTANT LINKAGE” HERE?
Unfortunately welcome to the rather rotten world of how “gamekeepers” turned “poachers” influence policy making which affects peoples lives, and serves the political class and land owners idea of building houses on brownfield land instead of on their precious “greenbelt” where they all choose to live away from contaminated land. In addition it is not uncommon for environment managers at the environment agency or their former incarnations to become waste disposal operators or directors of such companies. It is what George Monbiot calls “the captive state” and the toxic mixing of the public and private sectors. In the US, this type of thing is absolutely commonplace. Private companies headhunt former EPA officers that they were formerly regulated by to find ways of bending or rewriting the policy that some of them wrote, to suit the business corporate agenda, and not the environments. Some have called it “science for sale”- and they are probably bang on the money with that.
Very often environmental consultancies employ “ecologists” to sign off problems of certain species: newts, badgers, bats etc, weakly protected by laws already, which are always trumped by “the developer will always win” philosphy. Mr Crowcroft is employed as “an expert witness”, in other words in the expertise of citing his own works which have become the tool by which housing developers or companies such as Solvay can achieve their goals- in this case ultimately to sell the site off for housing development when they think that everyone has forgotten what the lagoon really contains- “25 years” should do it. Perhaps “exposure to VOC’s at surprisingly low concentrations” will still be a problem then?
There will be development on brownfield land at whatever costs, because political and business will drives it, at whatever costs. Cheque book science works, but never for the environment. As the magician never reveals his “pathway” between the trick and the viewer, so the environmental consultant will not reveal a pathway in their trick.
The HPA in their report write off many of the contaminants of concern, including white phosphorus by the blunt little tool of “no pollutant linkage.” Following Mr Crowcroft and Co’s diagram, it is fairly quickly apparent that you can right off every contaminated site imaginable, anywhere in the UK to allow housing development on it, rather than questioning the fundamental principle of “is it right?” Does a pathway exist?, if not there is no risk- what a pile of misleading lies this is.
“The site is well secured so members of the public and residents cannot come into direct contact with the soil.” is used so many times it must have been easy to keep copy and pasting it. I’ll hold my hand up to having come into direct contact with the soil, sediment, water and dust from the lagoon, so what human health risks should I be concerned about?
The HPA spend several pages explaining how old “best practice” has been upgraded to take into account that old levels of contamination, thought at the time not to present a risk, have now been lowered. So what does this say about their assessments in a few years time?
Then there is their assessment of soil derived dusts
“The amount of dust generated from Rattlechain lagoon site is likely to be low given the small overall area of soft landscaping at the site and that the soil is well vegetated.”
“AK noted that the techniques adopted in the report could be used as a basis for any monitoring during these works.”