Wallowa Lake contains barrels labeled Agent Orange!


troutdude

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Recovery begins on Wallowa Lake barrels that may contain Agent Orange ingredients
Updated Jun 13, 2019; Posted Jun 13, 2019

By Rob Davis | The Oregonian/OregonLive

After a 10-month wait, preliminary work began Thursday on the delicate task of removing barrels sitting in Wallowa Lake marked as containing defoliants used in Agent Orange.

A contractor working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started exploring the alpine lake’s bottom with side-scan sonar to learn more about what’s actually there.

The operation is in its early phases. A spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said work would continue for several days. Removal could begin Saturday, she said.

Also on Thursday, officials announced that the eastern Oregon town of Joseph, which draws its drinking water from the lake, had switched over to a backup well that it will continue using while the recovery continues.

The barrels could be sitting in water that’s between 90 and 140 feet deep, said the department spokeswoman, Laura Gleim. She said the depth, combined with the lake’s icy deep-water temperatures and 4,300-foot elevation, may complicate recovery. If the barrels are 90 feet down, Gleim said, a diver could only spend about five minutes -- possibly longer -- in a dive there. At 140 feet, divers may not be able to reach the site, she said.

A remotely operated vehicle is scheduled to reconnoiter the site on Friday.

Last August, recreational divers discovered barrels labeled as containing one of two defoliants -- 2,4-D or 2,4,5-T. Combined, the two chemicals were once known by another name: Agent Orange. The herbicide was used extensively in the Vietnam War and has been connected to numerous illnesses among veterans and civilians who were exposed.

State and federal authorities moved slowly after the discovery in Wallowa Lake. Their plodding response to what could be toxic herbicides in the town’s drinking water supply left residents wondering what could possibly be taking so long.

Joseph has previously tested its drinking water for 2,4-D, the less toxic of the two chemicals. None has been found since testing started in 1984.
But no sampling had been done for 2,4,5-T, a toxic herbicide unavoidably contaminated by dioxin during its manufacturing. Water tests for the chemical were done earlier this week.

Though the results aren’t back yet, state health officials on Thursday advised that lake visitors “may continue with normal activities until further notice.” Wallowa Lake is a popular summer tourist destination for swimmers and boaters.

Residents said they were relieved to know authorities were finally taking the threat seriously. But some questioned why the Oregon Health Authority would say the lake was safe without having the test results to prove it.

“It doesn’t sound right to me,” said Meg Bowen, who lives in Joseph and frequently kayaks and paddles a dragon boat in the lake. “We are not going to be in the lake until we get the results of the tests. That just seems prudent to me.”

It isn’t known where the barrels came from or whether they contain what the label says they do. But authorities say they believe the drums are intact.
— Rob Davis
 

4labs

Active member
Thanks for the report.
I remember a science teacher when I was a kid in Santa Cruz showing us pictures of barrels of wastes that were marked "radioactive" being dumped at the farallon islands.
I guess that's why the lings are huge there
 

troutdude

Well-known member
Moderator
Ha ha ha. Right? When I shared that to Facebook I mentioned those barrels as the reason, for state record sized Kokes!
 

EOBOY

Well-known member
This is very disturbing news. As a Vietnam vet who suffers from Agent Orange exposure, (Parkinsons) I find the thought of one of the most beautiful lakes in our state could be affecting the lives of so many people is just unimaginable.
 

Aervax

Active member
Most Featured
The big question for me is not what they're doing to get them out, but how and why they got their in the first place #@*#!!!!
 

troutdude

Well-known member
Moderator
This is very disturbing news. As a Vietnam vet who suffers from Agent Orange exposure, (Parkinsons) I find the thought of one of the most beautiful lakes in our state could be affecting the lives of so many people is just unimaginable.
I thought about that as I posted. Sorry to hear about you're illness.
 

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