More thoughts on IP environmental issues

PENSACOLA: This week, I received this from John Nixon of Phenix Environmental Response, LLC in response to our article “Can IP Lower Environmental Bar?

Nixon points out that IP’s Pensacola Mill is discharging 11 billion gallons of effluent annually. He suggests that FDEP locally has a “compromised culture” that has let the company discharge water in violation of its permit.

He calculates that the wetlands on IP property can only hold 46 days worth of the discharged water, and “as the wetlands are full, there is toxic water being released into the bay, every day.”

He has several criticisms of the county’s Natural Resources Management Director, Chips Kirschenfeld.

From Mr. Nixon:

  1.  According to the 2010 Consent Order, IPs Daily discharge is closer to 30 million gallons per day. Times 365 days a year, well, that’s almost 11 Billion gallons a year.  And at 8.34 pounds per gallon, that’s 91 Billion, 323 Million pounds of toxic, fish-killing (through impairment) waste water per year, every year since at least 2012.  This is a massive polluter.
  1. When FDEP’s Brandy Smith states that IP is working under the 2010 permit, she is refusing to disclose that the 2010 Consent Order grants IP a variance for key water quality standards, allowing IP to otherwise discharge water in violation to their permit. The whole truth regarding the IP permit, apparently is still being misrepresented by FDEP.  This is a dangerous practice that does not protect our water resources and does not provide for public safety.  This continued behavior from FDEP exemplifies their compromised culture at the Northwest Office in Pensacola.  Ms Smith later states the toxicity testing, to date, has not been successful.  So if IP is operating under an enforceable permit, as she is telling us, then where are the enforcement Notices of Violations and penalties?  Our reality is, without enforcement actions against IP, Brandy Smith is either lying about the permit or she is lying about the permit being enforceable.  She can’t have it both ways.  Or she could choose to tell the public how the FDEP Consent Order’s have been giving IP enforcement waivers, for decades.
  1. A 1400 acre wetland three feet deep has a capacity of 1400ac x 43560 sqft/ac x 3 = 182,952,000 cubic feet capacity. On a daily basis, 30 million gallons x .134 gallons/cuft = 4 million cubic feet per day being discharged into the wetlands.  The capacity of 182,952,000 cubic feet divided by 4 million cuft/day = 46 days.  With the above parameters, the IP wetlands are flushed every 46 days, if empty.  As the wetlands are full, there is toxic water being released into the bay, every day.
  1. Chips Kirschenfeld states that “our monitoring in Eleven Mile Creek shows a water body that’s in pretty good shape.” However, Chips does not mention that the sampling locations and the analyses is very limited and may not account for any bio-accumulation of organic toxins or any impairments in the numbers and varieties of fish species.
  1. Chips refers to the hearty crustacean water flea, Ceriodaphnia dubia, as an insect. This statement is incorrect and misleading and undervalues the significance of the chronic toxicity tests.  You kill the bottom of the food chain, you’re essentially killing fish in the area.  Any scientist with integrity will tell us that.
  1. Actually, where exactly did Chips take his boat, go swimming and allow his children to go tubing? Tubing is not exactly being in the water, btw.  Chips, along with the FDEP, are experts at avoiding material facts in their statements.  This culture is intentional and is designed to mislead the public.
  1. The records demonstrate persistent misleading and incomplete statements from FDEP and Chips Kirschenfeld. Literally every statement they make is designed to protect the mill’s ability to sustain their toxic operations.  The taxpayers and the families of Escambia County are continuously exposed to gross levels of toxins without warning.