Wednesday, June 16, 2010

UC ERC Blog of Tour

Our colleagues from the University of Cincinnati ERC posted information about the tour on their ERC blog. Visit to read it. It was great having the UC students and Dr. Rice on the tour!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Home sweet home

The long and winding road......

The NY/NJ students and faculty should be home by now. I hope the Univ of Cincinnati have a safe flight home. It was great to have all of you with us. The trip was very educational, fun, and exhausting. I really enjoyed spending the week with all of you!

A special thanks to our great bus driver, Steve, for our safe travels!

Hudson River PCB Cleanup

Day 5 - The last day of the tour we focused on hazardous waste cleanup. Dave King, Director of the EPA Hudson River Field Office, gave a terrific overview of the PCB cleanup operations that are being conducted. He described what has taken place to date in Phase I, and how Phase II will incorporate the lessons learned. The Hudson River PCB Cleanup is the longest hazardous waste site in the country, starting in Hudson Falls and ending at Battery Park in NYC. Dredging of PCB will primarily be conducted in the 12 miles from Hudson Falls, south. After the presentation at the EPA Field Office, we visited the waste water treatment facility. We were provided with a nice overview of the operations. The cleanup is between phase I and II, so no dredging is taking place at this point.

After we left EPA, we headed back home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Video from Thetford Mines


Day 4 – Today we went to the LAB Crysotile Asbestos Mine in Thetford Mines Quebec. We were given an overview of the operations, and then went down into the mine. It is an open pit mine. We were not able to get all the way down, since they recently had rock slides. We were about 400 feet down (the pit is 1200 feet deep) and were able to see the workers digging rock out of the pit, putting it in dump trucks, and hauling the rock out of the mine. We went in to see the milling operations, packaging, and warehousing of the asbestos product.

The vast majority of asbestos is shipped to Asia, with a few percent of their product being used in Canada, and almost none to the US.

We are heading back to the US, and will stay in Glens Falls, NY. Tomorrow we will visit with EPA to learn about the Hudson River PCB cleanup.

Ben and Jerry's

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Granite pictures

Granite (and some Ice Cream)

Day 3 – Today we started the day at the Rock of Ages Granite Quarry in Barre, VT. Rock of Ages owns several quarries, and processes granite into artisan quality grave markers and precision rollers. We went to the quarry and were able to see the enormity of how much granite is in this quarry. It is the largest deep dimension quarry in the world, and if mined at the current rate (and if the technology were available) there would be enough granite left for over 400 years. Granite is very heavy, weighing in at 166.7 pounds per cubic foot. We then visited the processing facility where the grave markers were engraved, and formed.

After Rock of Ages, we went to Hope Cemetery. This cemetery was opened to showcase the Barre VT artisans work. Many of the grave markers are so elaborate, and are enormous. One person buried here was instrumental in getting legislation passed that required ventilation for when working in granite sheds. He died in 1937.

After lunch, we visited Ben and Jerry’s factory. Some students went on the Factory Tour, others just ate ice cream. Now we are on our way to Thetford Mines, Quebec.

New Bedford - Mustard Gas

A scallop boat dredged up mustard gas cylinders. Two crew were injured, blistering, respiratory distress. See news reports

This is not a hazard usually associated with fishing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Bedford, more pictures

New Bedford

Day 2 – Today we had an excellent presentation from Ted Harrington, the Director of the Boston Regional Office of the US Coast Guard. He showed us a video of a fishing vessel that sunk off the coast of Massachusetts to demonstrate the need to ensure that you have the correct equipment, the equipment works, and you know how to use it. It can come down to seconds between life and death when an emergency happens on the opens seas. After the presentation we visited the fishing vessel (F/V) Alaska. F/V Alaska is a scallop boat. We learned about the safety equipment on board, and in a small way, what it is like for fishermen who can be out at sea for 10 days catching scallops. After the Alaska, we went to the Fleet Fisheries processing center. Inside we saw how they prepare scallops, cod, flounder, and lobsters for packaging and transportation to restaurants across the country.

John Talty, our project officer from NIOSH, was able to join us on the tour today. We were glad that he was able to be with us, and was able to see some of the tour.

After a nice lunch at a local hangout, we’re off to Montpellier VT and Barre VT for the Granite Quarry.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 1 - We left UMDNJ at 7:30 headed to Hunter College, and left by 8:50. We Started the tour at Sakonnet Vineyards. We looked at the safety and health issues with growing, harvesting, and processing the grapes. Hazards in the vineyard include exposure to pesticides, ergonomics, and basic safety issues. Lifting the bins (30 lbs.), clipping the vines, and harvesting the grapes are repetitive motions. At this point the grapes are just in the bud phase, so we see the early part of the seasonal growth. The Vineyard Manager spends a lot of time pruning the vines, so that growth is maximized, and enough sunlight keeps the leaves dry. Then we had a tour of the processing facility. There are confined spaces (permit required) that store the juice, hazards of extremely hot water that is used to clean the tanks, and lifting the boxes of wine when ready to be shipped. After all the touring, we had a chance to taste many of the wines produced by Sakonnet Vineyard.

We have 31 people on the tour, including students and faculty from the NYNJ ERC and the University of Cincinnati ERC.

Sakonnet Vineyard is in Little Compton RI. A very beautiful location, and well worth a trip to RI to visit. Spend some time in Newport, and then head to Little Compton for a visit. Stay tuned for more of the tour as we head to New Bedford to visit fishing vessels and a fish processing facility tomorrow. John Talty, from NIOSH met us in New Bedford, and will join us for the tour tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ERC Historical Perspectives Tour 2010

We are in our final planning stages for our 2010 Tour. We will visit the following places:
Sakonnet Vineyard - Little Compton RI
Fishing Vessels - New Bedford, MA
Granite Quarry - Barre, VT
Asbestos Mine - Thetford Mines, QC
Hudson PCB Clean-up - Glens Falls, NY