The Solution to Pollution is Dilution

Posted On: Saturday - February 18th 2023 3:31PM MST
In Topics: 
  Media Stupidity  Environmental Stupidity  Geography  Science  Zhou Bai Dien

The Chemical Engineers really like this expression. There are some really nasty pollutants, and if you want to call them pollutants too, long 1/2-life radioactive materials, that take a hell of a lot of dilution to be safe, which we're really better off not creating in the first place. Most times this "solution" works though, at least in the long run.

There's been some BS written about that E. Palestine, Ohio derailment and mess of pollutants released from those on the right even. I do get that what they see is a government that doesn't care* about ACTUAL down-to-earth (and into the water and sky) pollution that has hurt a town full of White people**. This is while for decades now, the ctrl-left especially has spent many orders of magnitude more money, screwed with the whole energy sector of the economy, and caused little children and mindless adults tons of worry on, for, and about a non-existent problem, that Climate Crisis™. We discussed this great distortion in priorities here yesterday.

I'm hearing my wife quoting people telling their anti-Social Media friends to not buy food from Ohio, don't buy bottled water from anywhere around, etc., etc. First of all, I had to explain to her that Ohio is not a big irrigation State. They get plenty of rain, unlike the western Great Plains.

Terrain in north-central Ohio - this is about 50 miles SW of Cleveland:

All that great soil in central and northern Ohio is not lost. East Palestine is right up to the border of the W. Virginian panhandle, and, besides 1/2 mile strips of bottomland in a few places, the Ohio River is surrounded by hills, not farmland. In this town a small creek, Sulphur Run (they call them "runs" in that part of the country), merges with another creek, Leslie Run, which flows south to the Ohio River ~10 miles south (10 miles directly, not river miles).

Terrain near E. Palestine, OH. It's mostly woods to the south and east, toward the river. There's more farmland in proportion to the north and west.

Though it's being dug out up to 7 ft. down in places, locally there may be some nasty, ruined land. We're talking mostly within a few hundred yards, I'd guess. Particulates may land further away, but that's not a big problem. The air clears up quickly, though that's no consolation for those there in the thick of it on that day. The water? The local creeks might be damaged for a while. But, yeah, the solution to pollution is dilution. This is not a continuous polluting process, such as in the future-rust-belt cities that commenter Adam Smith mentioned back through the 1970s. Could you detect any of this stuff way downstream on the Ohio River down to Paducah, Evansville, or even Cincinnati, even right now? (Or when it gets there via the flow.) How about in a month?

Another thing I've read is "see, they (Bai Dien) blocked the pipeline construction, so this stuff had to go by rail, and look what?" Nah, nobody's going to build some long pipeline specifically for transport of Vinyl Chloride from this point A to B. It doesn't work like that.

This is not Chernobyl II. I don't like hearing the hype on the right side of the usual political divide any more than the ignoring of the story while spouting the Climate Crisis! stupid on the left side. Suffice it to say that we are not past getting harmed by actual pollution, and this story is bigger, yes, than some Chinese balloon. The fact that the Bai Dien administration has been ignoring East Palestine, Ohio says something else, something about their priorities, who they care or don't care about.

PS: Now, about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttedge and this story. Yeah, there's a story there involving the continual downsizing of personnel in the rail business and likely shoddier operations due to that AA thing cropping up again.*** (I didn't want my post to get so long, but I will say that Andrew Anglin did get into this last aspect nicely at the end of his post - the one I linked to before.)

* I should say still doesn't but now pretends to. Donald Trump is good for some things. What I've read is that since he made his plans to visit the town of East Palestine next week, the Bai Dien administration decided to release some funds. Trump's mouth is worth a lot more than his actions, kind of contrary to the old saying.

** From the '10 census, per Wiki: The racial makeup of the city was 98.2% White, 0.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population. Whewwhooo!

*** We've been on this too, with Harvesting the fruits of a half-century of Affirmative Action: Part 1 - - Part 2 - - Part 3: Andecdotal Interlude - - Part 4 and Part 5.

Tuesday - February 21st 2023 4:58AM MST
PS: "I still don't think the best way to handle it was to blow the tanks up and burn them. It would seem transferring what they could to other tanks would be better." I got out of the articles that there were stuck relief valves*, and the firemen, etc, were worried the car(s) would blow up and send metal flying due to the pressure. OTOH, how'd they get the material out anyway, to burn?

I don't know enough about it on this point. Thanks for your informative comment, Sam. Same to Jimbobla.

* More slackness regarding that too. As a first guess, I blame AA, because it often has long-term effects on conscientiousness.
Monday - February 20th 2023 1:48PM MST
PS They just put that stuff in a sphere. In the atmo-sphere that is. It is true that dilution is the solution to pollution, but in this case it is diluting to ppb. I’m not too concerned, primarily because I’m not downwind nor downstream from this clusterfuck. It will be hard to cover up short term negative health impacts from this but long term should be easy as the news cycle can make this stuff disappear. Soon they should be touting the health benefits of these chemicals.
Sam J.
Monday - February 20th 2023 2:38AM MST

I’m not a chemist but have taken lower level chemistry. I would say as a general rule the more "reactive" and dangerous a chemical, then the faster it becomes less dangerous. Because if it's super reactive, it will react and combine with something to make it more chemically stable. Yes, yes I'm sure this is not always the case but I bet it's a decent rule of thumb.

I looked this stuff up and was astounded to read,"...Until 1974, vinyl chloride was used in aerosol spray propellant.[6] Vinyl chloride was briefly used as an inhalational anaesthetic, in a similar vein to ethyl chloride, though its toxicity forced this practice to be abandoned....". WHAT!, aerosol spray.

I still don't think the best way to handle it was to blow the tanks up and burn them. It would seem transferring what they could to other tanks would be better. The boiling point of this stuff is −13.4 °C (7.9 °F) so what they dd not transfer would turn into a gas and blow away with the wind. A quick read shows this stuff in the right proportion with air is like propane and they could have set off a real doozy of a blast bur it appears they got lucky.
Sunday - February 19th 2023 1:37PM MST
PS: Thanks for the info., Adam.

Our neighbors have these 2 bushes, one on each side of their walkway, that they cover up during the extra cold nights. I guess they put a light bulb or something in there. Otherwise, I'm not sure if it does too much - keep the radiant heat transfer down in that very spot and the wind off?

I think those 2 bushes didn't make it through this winter ...
Adam Smith
Sunday - February 19th 2023 10:38AM MST
PS: Long term seed storage...

Mrs. Smith keeps some of our more important and freshest seeds in the fridge or in the freezer wrapped up tight in ziplocks inside a big glass jar. Our less important seeds are stored upstairs in a couple big paper bags or cardboard boxes. I've never had a problem with old seeds not germinating.

Just keep 'em dry, cool and out of the sun...

It's nice here today. Finally stopped raining. I'm going to play in the yard today. Lots of leaves to clean up and burn. Also, something tore a hole in part of my deer fence. Not sure what happened.(?) Oh well. Not a big deal.

I'm going to try to save our giant rosemary. She really took a hit during our cold snap a couple months back. (Got down to 1 degree. Coldest I've ever seen in Dahlonega!) Gotta get the leaves out from under and around her and trim her back. (Let's keep her in our thoughts and prayers. Hopefully she makes it.)

Cheers to a beautiful Sunday!

Sunday - February 19th 2023 8:12AM MST
PS: Yep, it's about time to at least start something in some little cups, Adam. My wife has been doing all this. Time to borrow the old '70s rototiller from a friend again, probably 2nd week in March.

How are seeds for long-term storage? This is obviously very important for serious preppers.
Adam Smith
Saturday - February 18th 2023 11:58PM MST
PS: What a mess!

On a happier note...

I got a little carried away buying seeds on the interwebs tonight. ($183 well spent.)

Lots of interesting new stuff and some fresh new seed that I probably already have. Lots of seed to share with my gardening friends and to save like a prepper. 'bout time to start turning/cleaning the garden and to get out my germination trays! (’twould be helpful if it stopped raining everyday.)

Spring is almost in the air!

The Alarmist
Saturday - February 18th 2023 4:37PM MST

Funny, but we say the same thing about executive stock options.
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