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Archive for Friday, January 16, 2009

More data needed in mercury monitoring, state officials say

January 16, 2009

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— A system to monitor mercury pollution in Kansas has taken longer than expected to set up, and more data need to be collected before reaching any hard conclusions, a state environmental official said Friday.

“It has been a bit of a challenge,” said Tom Gross, who is section chief of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Air and Radiation.

The Kansas Legislature in 2007 passed a law to monitor mercury levels as part of a system that would coincide with a growing national network aimed at pinpointing areas of high amounts of the toxic pollutant.

Gross told the Senate Natural Resources Committee that it has taken longer than expected to establish six monitoring stations in Kansas because officials were trying to do it as inexpensively as possible by soliciting free access to the land.

And, he said, setting up a site at the Cimarron National Grassland near Elkhart in far southwest Kansas took a lot of negotiating with the federal government because of liability concerns.

But now the sites are established, he said.

The monitoring station in Reserve in Brown County has been up and running the longest with 10 months worth of data recorded, he said. That data at that site show that mercury levels in precipitation are the same range as levels at sites in the region in other states.

He said it was too early to tell if mercury levels are alarmingly high in any areas of Kansas.

Gross said human activities produce about half of the mercury in the atmosphere, and most of that comes from coal-burning electric power plants.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said the mercury monitoring will be helpful.

“This information needs to be combined with information about the sources of the pollutant and then we might get some idea how far is mercury traveling from the site,” Francisco said.

The other monitoring stations are near West Mineral, Cawker City, near Scott City and near Burlington.

Comments

madameX 5 years, 7 months ago

Funny thing about the CFLs. If you dispose of them properly, aka take them to Home Depot or similar for recycling, they don't leak into landfills at all.

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Kirk Larson 5 years, 7 months ago

About CFL's: I read about a study showing that even if all the mercury were released from CFL's when they quit working, it would still mean less mercury released into the environment than if incandescent bulbs had been used due to having to burn more coal. Of course, you should still take the few extra minutes it takes to recycle them. That way we can greatly reduce the amount of mercury being spewed into the atmosphere.

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devobrun 5 years, 7 months ago

First law of toxicology: It is all in the dose.When measurements are lower than the recommended safe limit, lower the limit.This is an agenda. Save money. Ignore the results. Build alternative energy systems regardless of the mercury levels. Even if this experiment is being done on the cheap, the fix is in, and we probably didn't need to do the test in the first place.

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Centerville 5 years, 7 months ago

Here's a mission that has had truckloads of money thrown at it and they're still piddling around. Don't tell me that it will be hard to cut the state budget.

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