Tag: Environment

Working Group Appointed to Learn What Went Wrong With Response to the Moody Landfill Fire

The Alabama Department of Environment Management on Friday announced the formation of a working group to assess whether changes in laws, regulations and resources are needed following the fire at the vegetative waste disposal site near Moody.

In a press conference, ADEM officials said the fire revealed shortcomings in the ability and authority of state and local governments to respond to situations that are outside the scope of their regulated activities but pose risks to the public. The working group will examine the response to the fire and make recommendations for improving the ability of state and local agencies to respond to similar emergencies in the future. Read more.

Underground Landfill Fire Still Contained but Smoke Persists

James Mulkey was among some folks from Moody who went shopping for Christmas gifts Tuesday. As they returned, they happened by the White’s Chapel area, where a landfill fire has been the source of smoke since November.

Because of the wind, they weren’t greeted by the smell of smoke. But this too will pass.

“If you smelled anything at all, it was very, very little,” said Mulkey, the Moody fire marshal. “I imagine this morning with the change in wind direction that that (smell) got a lot worse at that same intersection.”

The Moody Fire Department updated residents about the status of the landfill fire that is producing smoke that’s irritating residents as far as 20 miles away. That department’s Facebook post said no change in fire activity has been noted and all burning is still contained within the fire break.

“Smoke continues to discharge from both the heavy fuels on top of the ground and from holes and cracks from the underground portion of the fire,” the post read. “The smoke does seem to be a little heavier than in previous days on the north end of the incident.” Read more.

Workers Across America, and in Alabama, Break Their Silence on Decades of Asbestos Exposure

New accounts from workers contrast sharply with what chemical giants have said on the record about worker safety at their facilities. At an Olin plant outside of McIntosh, Alabama, workers recall decades of continuing asbestos exposure.

When LaTunja Caster started working at the Olin Corp. chemical plant outside of McIntosh, Alabama, she had no idea that asbestos was used in the production process. But when she became a union safety representative around 2007, she started to pay attention. In certain parts of the plant, “you would see it all the time,” she said. “You definitely breathed it in.”

Six other people who worked in the plant, some with experiences as recent as this year, echoed her recollections about exposure to the potent mineral that has long been known to cause deadly cancers like mesothelioma and a chronic lung condition called asbestosis that can make it difficult to breathe.

Though designated asbestos workers were given protective gear and had special training, electricians, millwrights and general maintenance staff got no comparable protection even though they, too, were exposed, they told ProPublica. Read more.

Landfill Fire Annoying Residents More Than 20 Miles Away ‘Contained,’ Evacuated Residents Allowed to Return

Residents of five homes in Moody that had been evacuated were given the “all clear” to return home as the Moody Fire Department determined that a landfill fire that has been burning largely underground has been contained.

The fire is burning at Blackjack Road from Carrington Lake Parkway to Annie Lee Road at a landfill that disposes of trees and other debris.

Persons living as far away as Birmingham’s Crestwood neighborhood complained of smelling smoke and even having smoke invade their homes.

When material burns underground, there is a cavity and soil falls away. “It can create a fissure or a hole and then we have smoke or steam coming up through that,” Moody Fire Marshal James Mulkey said. “Then the smoke is going to come up into the air. You can smell this for miles.”

The above-ground part of the fire has been plainly visible from several miles away. Read more.