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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Comment/Q? from a Fellow Blogger

Rec'd from fellow blogger PeaceGirl yesterday:
"Why don't people worry about water pollution in the river?
In advance of what will more than likely be a very lengthy response, perhaps one for the ages, I would ask that everyone read this recent post that was written by my fellow paddling partner and partner in crime @ RiverFests ( and other clandestine operations ) for the past decade.
And then, for those that didn't get a chance yet, please read this recent article in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader...focusing on comments made in the latter half of the article by Vincent Cotrone.
Please hold on to those two viewpoints on the state of the Susquehanna for a little bit. I have a 7 a.m. physical therapy appointment this morning, followed by a 9:30 a.m. meeting with some folks from the PA Turnpike Commission and some local politicos about the widening of the Northeast Extension right here in Montgomery County.
I'll be back.
P.S.: Thanks for the excellent question, Peacegirl!
Early Summer Sunrise in Harleysville, PA


  1. William L. Yingling M.D.June 26, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Allow me to respond to Peacegirl's question also.
    Today a picture appeared in the Sunbury Daily Item showing children jumping into the West Branch of the Susquehanna from an old cement pier just above the Northumberland bridge.
    This area was the site of a Superfund review done by EPA in early 2000. In their HRS scoring they totally ignored ground water contamination and never explained the source of heavy metals and organic compounds found in the river and around the site. They ignored the construction of an underground trench channeling leachate from the site of an old dump to the West Branch of the river where children swim. This leachate diversion trench was approved by the PADEP.
    Citizens, government and environmental officials were informed of the pollution issues. The problem as been ignored. Why?
    Arrogance,Complacency,Ignorance and Deceit.
    The Susquehanna is impaired,it is dangerously polluted and presents a risk to those who use it.
    William L. Yingling M.D.

  2. Dr. Yingling: Thanks for taking the time to stop by & comment. Amen to all of the above.

  3. One of my concerns is that many of my cousins ages 2-66 or so will be swimming in the river at French Azilum in July at the family reunion. Shouldn't I be concerned for their safety? These cousins are not concerned. They call me a Debbie Downer for suggesting there might be a reason not to go in the river. There are many gas well pads and a few compressor stations upriver from our landing.

  4. I have gone swimming in the Susquehanna River (in French Azilum, Bradford County) since I was a child. It was muddy, buggy (yes, I have seen the may flies quite a few times), smelly, and scummy around the shore. For some reason, my cousins and I never gave it a thought because our forebears swam there since 1930, and I have never heard of any dying from swimming! I have heard that decades ago some kids got ear infections from the river water. But, since about 2008 when I became aware of the approaching gas industry, I have only been in once and not at all in the last few years. I don't think it is safe. Even if I were to survive the water, what about the air I would breathe? I don't think the air is good either, especially if there is fracking or flaring going on within a fairly wide radius. Am I being too cautious?

    1. William L. Yingling M.D.June 28, 2013 at 10:07 PM

      I wish I could answer your fears specifically. The 30 or more chemicals found in the organs of smallmouth bass clearly come from the river. Depending on where you are in the river dictates your exposure. If a person spends a lot of time in the river exposed to these chemicals they will be absorbed through the skin, the mouth or by breathing the vapors of volatile chemicals.For goodness sakes many people drink the water.The chemicals are endocrine disrupters that have the potential to disrupt chemical messaging in the human body and even alter DNA. Total exposure is important but timing is critical also. If you are a very young or very old person, or pregnant... the effect might be more likely. The TEDX website will explain more in depth the concern.
      I would highly recommend people limit their direct exposure to the water. The smallmouth bass are the canary in the coal mine.
      William L. Yingling M.D.