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3 Surprising Sources of Oil Pollution in the Ocean

3 Surprising Sources of Oil Pollution in the Ocean.

Seeping oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

An iridescent sheen spreads from a drop of crude oil on top of the water in the Gulf of Mexico.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JONATHAN BLAIR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Christine Dell’Amore and Christina Nunez

National Geographic

PUBLISHED MARCH 25, 2014

Obvious oil spills, like the 168,000 gallons (635,000 liters) of oil that leaked into Galveston Bay on Saturday, usually make national news, accompanied by pictures of oil-blackened wildlife.

But such publicized events account for only a small part of the total amount of oil pollution in the oceans—and many of the other sources, such as automobile oil, go largely unnoticed, scientists say.

In fact, of the tens of millions of gallons of oil that enter North Americanoceans each year due to human activities, only 8 percent comes from tanker or oil pipeline spills, according to the 2003 book Oil in the Sea III by the U.S. National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, which is still considered the authority on oil-spill data.

Most oil pollution is “different than the pictures you see of beaches covered with tar and ducks getting stuck in it,” said David Valentine, a biogeochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (Read more about how pollution harms the oceans.)

Here are three little-reported sources of oil that contribute to oil pollution in North American oceans.

1. Natural Seeps

Natural seeps of oil underneath the Earth’s surface account for 60 percent of the estimated total load in North American waters and 40 percent worldwide, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

These leakages occur when oil—which is lighter than water—escapes into the water column from highly pressurized seafloor rock. (Read about Gulf of Mexico seeps.)

Off Santa Barbara, California, some 20 to 25 tons of oil flows from seafloor cracks daily—making it one of the world’s largest seeps.

Valentine, who studies the Santa Barbara seep, noted that much of the natural oil is consumed by ocean bacteria that have evolved to eat certain oil molecules. (Read about how nature tackles oil spills.)

But in “places which don’t have natural oil seeps and you come along with an oil spill or a sewer pipe that delivers [oil pollution], organisms have not had an opportunity to adapt and are going to respond differently,” said John Farrington, dean emeritus and marine geochemist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

2. Cars and Other Land Vehicles

A “pretty big issue,” Valentine said, is the oil on roads and other surfaces that’s flushed into the sea during rainstorms.

Most cars drip oil onto the ground, usually on impermeable concrete or asphalt, and that oil ends up trickling into the ocean. In drier places like California, the oil builds up on the asphalt and, when it finally rains, the water shuttles large amounts of oil into the ocean.

“We’re doing a much better job than 40 or 50 years ago of recycling motor oil,” Woods Hole’s Farrington said. “You can find storm sewers around the nation that have stencils on them that say ‘don’t dump, it goes to the sea.’ So there’s less input in that regard.”

But he notes that there are still a lot of cars and trucks contributing to the “dribble, dribble, dribble” effect of slow leaks that end up on asphalt and contribute to runoff pollution.

Not surprisingly, this sort of invisible pollution is more subtle than the Galveston Bay spill, which is much more localized and visible, Valentine noted.

Oil runoff from land is “complex in that it can hang around [in the ocean] and move between water and sediment, [which] makes it difficult to effectively track.”

A hotly debated topic, he added, is what these constant pulses of oil are doing to the environment and its inhabitants. Scientists know that animals directly exposed to oil suffer health problems, but what’s unknown is the impact of low, chronic oil exposures on wildlife, he said. (Related: “On 25th Exxon Valdez Anniversary, Oil Still Clings to Beaches.”)

3. Recreational Boats

People operating recreational craft, such as Jet Skis and boats, sometimes spill oil into the ocean.

“It’s usually operational error, human error or unpreparedness, [or] lack of education. A lot of time mostly it’s just negligence,” said Aaron Barnett, a boating program specialist at Washington Sea Grant, a state-federal partnership aimed at marine research and outreach across Washington State.

“It’s just not on [boaters’] radar scope. They’re there to have fun, it’s leisure, it’s recreation. … That means that certain things don’t get dealt with, like proper engine maintenance.”

Barnett added that boat owners will top off their fuel tanks as they would a car, and on a hot day the fuel expands and escapes through a vent.

Just like land-based pollution, though, oil spills by recreational boats are “hard to track, because about 80 percent of oil spills go unreported, so there’s really no way to know” on what scale this is happening, Barnett said.

Overall, he said, the Environmental Protection Agency “looks at the small-oil-spill problem as sort of like death by a thousand cuts.”

Tepco Finds New Leak of Radioactive Water at Fukushima Site – Bloomberg

Tepco Finds New Leak of Radioactive Water at Fukushima Site – Bloomberg.

By Masumi Suga, Yuji Okada and Jacob Adelman  Feb 20, 2014 2:28 AM ET

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), operator of the crisis-ridden Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, said it found a new leak near the tanks holding contaminated water at the disaster site.

The utility, which serves 29 million customers in the Tokyo metropolitan area, is collecting soil where the leak occurred and doesn’t believe any water reached the ocean, company executives said at a briefing in Tokyo. About 100 metric tons (26,400 gallons) of water may have escaped a concrete barrier, the company said.

“Such a water leak was found despite a variety of measures taken by the company,” Masayuki Ono, an official at the utility’s nuclear power and plant division, said. “We are sorry to have caused concern,” he said.

The finding is a reminder of the task still facing Tokyo Electric as the utility, known as Tepco, battles to manage the plant almost three years since the earthquake and tsunami.

Beta radiation readings of 230 million becquerels per liter were taken in a sample collected from a gutter on top of the leaked tank at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, according to a statement from the Tokyo-based utility. Japan’s safety limit for radioactive materials in drinking water is 10 becquerels per liter, according to the health ministry.

Radioactive water overflowed from the 10-meter long tank after two valves — which were supposed to be closed — had been opened, Ono said today. The leak was found 700 meters (0.4 miles) from the ocean in an area isolated from any drainage ditch, he said.

Setback to Decommissioning

Japan’s nuclear regulator, which is planning to check the utility’s probe of the leak and planned preventative measures, said today that it has asked Tepco to ensure no more leaks from the same type of water storage tanks occur.

The leak highlights difficulties for the regulator as it seeks to force Tepco to limit radiation at the site without slowing down its decommissioning.

“We need a balance of the best regulation and also the quickest decommissioning at Fukushima Dai-Ichi because we really want to have the reduction of the risk at the site,” Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said today in Tokyo.

Tepco has installed about a thousand tanks at Fukushima to store hundreds of thousands of tons of water used to cool fuel after the nuclear accident in March 2011.

Some 300 tons of contaminated groundwater seep into the ocean each day at the Dai-Ichi station 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Tokyo, Japan’s government has said.

Between May 2011 and August 2013, as many as 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137, 10 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 and 40 trillion becquerels of tritium entered the ocean via groundwater, according to past statements from Tepco.

Tepco’s shares closed down 7 yen, or 2.4 percent, at 455 yen in Tokyo trading after earlier declining as much as 2.8 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 2.2 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Masumi Suga in Tokyo at msuga@bloomberg.net; Yuji Okada in Tokyo at yokada6@bloomberg.net; Jacob Adelman in Tokyo atjadelman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

» Japanese government seeks approval to dump Fukushima groundwater into sea Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

» Japanese government seeks approval to dump Fukushima groundwater into sea Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

kyodonews.jp
February 4, 2014

The government on Monday sought approval of a nationwide fisheries federation to dump groundwater at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex into the sea on condition that the water’s contamination level is far below the legal limit.

During talks with the head of the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, industry ministry officials explained that they plan to set “strict” operational procedures for the pump system to allay the concerns of fishermen who think the move could deal a blow to their business.

Groundwater will be pumped out before it gets mixed with highly radioactive water accumulating at the basement of reactor buildings, and will be directed to the adjacent Pacific Ocean.

This article was posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:20 am

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Activist Post: Enjoy The Radioactive Fish: Tests Show Fukushima Fish Are Up To 124X Above Safe Level

Activist Post: Enjoy The Radioactive Fish: Tests Show Fukushima Fish Are Up To 124X Above Safe Level.

Are you purchasing radioactive fish at the grocery store? Are you absolutely certain that you know the answer to that question? You are about to read about a test that discovered that a fish recently caught off the coast of the Fukushima prefecture was found to have 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium. That is 124 times above the level that is considered to be safe.

But it is not just fish caught off the coast of Japan that you need to be concerned about. In this article I will also discuss a report by the National Academy of Sciences which states unequivocally that Pacific Bluefin tuna have “transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean”.  In fact, if you just had a tuna sandwich for lunch you may have ingested radioactive material without even knowing it.

Each day, another 300 tons of highly radioactive water is released into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima, and that means that the total amount of radioactive material that is getting into our food chain is constantly increasing.  And since some of these radioactive elements have a half-life of about 30 years, that means that our food chain is going to be contaminated for a very, very long time.

Strangely, the mainstream media in the United States has been extremely quiet about all of this.  The following is an article from a Russian news source about this highly radioactive fish that was just caught off the coast of the Fukushima prefecture…

Fish with deadly levels of radioactive cesium have been caught just off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, as scientists continue to assess the damage caused to the marine food chain by the 2011 nuclear disaster.

One of the samples of the 37 black sea bream specimens caught some 37 kilometers south of the crippled power plant tested at 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, making it 124 times deadlier than the threshold considered safe for human consumption, Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency announced.

That same article also noted that a fish that was caught last year near Fukushima contained a level of cesium that was actually far greater…

The record cesium reading was recorded last year when a fish caught near the plant carried 740,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.

Would you eat such a fish?

The truth is that there might be one in your freezer right now.

According to an absolutely shocking report put out by the National Academy of Sciences, it has been proven that Pacific Bluefin tuna have transported highly radioactive material “across the entire North Pacific Ocean”…

“We report unequivocal evidence that Pacific Bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean.”

Do you buy a lot of tuna?

If so, you might want to start asking some questions.

And there is a lot of other evidence that the food chain in the Pacific Ocean is becoming highly contaminated.  The following are just a few facts from one of my previous articles entitled “36 Signs The Media Is Lying To You About How Radiation From Fukushima Is Affecting The West Coast“…

The population of sockeye salmon along the coastlines of Alaska is at a “historic low”.

Something is causing Pacific herring to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

One test in California found that 15 out of 15 Bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada…

  • 73 percent of the mackerel
  • 91 percent of the halibut
  • 92 percent of the sardines
  • 93 percent of the tuna and eel
  • 94 percent of the cod and anchovies
  • 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish
You can read the rest of that article right here.

So once again, are you absolutely certain that you are not purchasing radioactive fish at the grocery store?

The U.S. government says that the fish are safe.

But the government also promised the sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan that they would be safe when they went over to provide assistance in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake back in 2011.  It turns out that was a lie too

The roll call of U.S. sailors who say their health was devastated when they were irradiated while delivering humanitarian help near the stricken Fukushima nuke is continuing to soar.

So many have come forward that the progress of their federal class action lawsuit has been delayed.

Bay area lawyer Charles Bonner says a re-filing will wait until early February to accommodate a constant influx of sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and other American ships.

More than 70 sailors from that aircraft carrier have reported that they have developed conditions such as testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, Leukemia, “unremitting gynecological bleeding” and brain tumors.  Their lives have been ruined, and nobody wants to step forward and take responsibility.

So are you going to just blindly trust that the government is telling you the truth about all of this?

Out in California, one team of researchers from California State University is so concerned that they are going to start monitoring California’s kelp forest for signs of radiation

Researchers from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have launched “Kelp Watch 2014,” a scientific campaign designed to determine the extent of radioactive contamination of the state’s kelp forest from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

Initiated by CSULB Biology Professor Steven L. Manley and the Berkeley Lab’s Head of Applied Nuclear Physics Kai Vetter, the project will rely on samples of Giant Kelp and Bull Kelp from along the California coast.

“The California kelp forest is a highly productive and complex ecosystem and a valuable state resource. It is imperative that we monitor this coastal forest for any radioactive contaminants that will be arriving this year in the ocean currents from Fukushima disaster,” said Manley, an expert in marine algae and kelp.

And as I noted the other day, one independent researcher recently discovered radiation levels near the water at Pacifica State Beach that were up to five times higher than normal background radiation.

The evidence is piling up, and it is becoming clear that the Japanese government and the U.S. government are not telling us the truth.  Of course governments all over the world have not been telling us the truth about a lot of things for a very long time. This is a theme that I explored extensively in my new novel.  In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn to break out of “the matrix” and learn to think for ourselves.

Sadly, most Americans choose not to do that.  In the video posted below, activist Mark Dice asks average Americans to sign a petition to repeal the 3rd Amendment and allow U.S. soldiers to commandeer anyone’s home and live there for free.  As you can see, many of the “sheeple” were quite happy to sign the petition without asking any questions…

So what do you believe?

Are the fish that you are purchasing at the grocery store safe to eat?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth.  His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

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