Bad News On The Fox Chain - Chicago Illinois Fishing Forum, Information & Reports
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Bad News On The Fox Chain

We had our day cut short today due to a strange occurrence. I noticed Friday and Saturday that SAT Environmental trucks were at the Sequoit bridge on Rt173 with containment hoses in the water and figured they must have had some type of spill they were cleaning up. Didn't think much more about it until we were drilling holes on Bluff Lake Sunday afternoon. Within a few minutes of drilling the holes, an oily sediment and film filled the holes. It didn't take long before I put two and two together realizing that whatever SAT was attempting to contain at Rt173 was obviously not being contained. Here's a couple of pic's of the "goo" in the water.







So after seeing that mess, we decided to hit another area but while heading south, we found our holes from yesterday.

Obviously, what ever this spill is, is not small in size.





There is obviously a large amount of some type of oily substance throughout the lake. We packed up and headed to the bridge where SAT was working and asked what they were cleaning up and got a response of, "Nothing serious". I then explained that what ever it was, they weren't containing it as it has already made it through two lakes and probably more. The guy then says that a truck hit an electrical pole and the transformer fell into the water causing the oil to leak out. I explained to him that it seemed like an awful lot of oil to contaminate two or more lakes from just one transformer, then he tells me it was six transformers. How does a truck back into a pole and knock six transformers in the water??

I'm not an environmental nut by no means but this stuff has definitely contaminated Lake Marie and Bluff and with the current will take no time to get through Petite, Fox, Nippersink and Pistakee to the river. Not sure what this stuff is but I'm not buying the transformer oil story.

I have reported this to the Illinois EPA.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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JD,
I saw ComEd trucks on a bridge on 173 this morning and they had there night lights out. By the time I got done fishing they still had a couple of trucks parked there but didn't see and workers.
I hope that this is not going to be a major impact but looking at the pictures, they don't look good. I would think that something of this magnitude would be news worthy and hopefully not covered up with the hopes that since it is under the ice no one will see it.

Ron
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What ever the oil is that is in transformers, it is cancer causeing and highly flamable. Let us know if the powers that be contact you.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Call or E-mail

FRANK ABDERHOLDEN [email protected]

This is his beat for the News Sun.

Older transformers contain PCB based oils. Even 50 or 100 gallons of this stuff is a huge disaster! Hopefully it is newer transformers.

Wow!
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Transformers contain PCBs

Congratulations JD. You uncovered a real bad situation.

PCBs are found electrical transformers. PCBs are toxic and persistent in the environment. PCB contamination is one of the reasons for eating advisories on fish caught in many of the waters we fish.

As you found out, bad things happen to electrical transformers.

Electrical transformers contain PCBs as an insulating fluid. Sounds like you found somebody trying to pass this off as a "no risk" spill. The longer they cover this up the worse the situation becomes.

According to Wilkipedia:

Quote:
From 1973 the use of PCBs was banned in "open" or "dissipative" sources, such as:

* plasticisers in paints and cements
* casting agents
* fire retardant fabric treatments and heat stabilizing additives for PVC electrical insulation
* adhesives
* paints and water-proofing
* railway sleepers
But here comes the interesting part

Quote:
However, they continued to be allowed in "totally enclosed uses" such as transformers and capacitors, which, in certain failure modes or out-of-specification conditions, can leak, catch fire, or explode. It was Ward B. Stone of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation who first published his findings in the early 1970s that PCBs were leaking from transformers and had contaminated the soil at the bottom of utility poles. Concern over the toxicity and persistence (chemical stability) of PCBs in the environment led the United States Congress to ban their domestic production in 1977, although some use continues in closed systems such as capacitors and transformers.

The use of PCBs in "closed" uses include:

* capacitors
* insulating fluids in transformers
* vacuum pump fluids
* hydraulic fluids
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Lets hope it's not as bad as it looks but from what I saw today, we may have some real problems up here. My holes were drilled approximately 1-2 miles from their containment site. This stuff could be under the ice on every lake from Marie south.

Thanks digitalbluecat, I've emailed him the story and pictures.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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That is just SICK...
Lets stay on it ! Squeaky wheel gets the ....
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I work at a water treatment plant on the river a ways downstream from the chain. If the authorities find out about spills like this they get reported to us since we are supplying drinking water to over 100,000 people. Usually its just small gas or oil spills....this happens more than you might think, but this sounds a little more serious. I'm gonna call them tonight to see if they've heard anything yet. It'll probably be so diluted by the time it gets down here it won't pose any risk, but they may take this seriously.

Kudos to you JD for notifying the EPA, absolutely the right thing to do!
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Let's hope it's not anything serious. A fella from another site states that this is a normal occurence in the spring when ice is melting on the lakes but I've never seen it like this, and with a containment crew working just north of it, I wasn't gonna take any chances.

I'll have no regrets if they check it out and tell me all is OK and I over reacted.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd say " better to over react ,than not act at all".
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