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Presentation Slide Shows Presented At
Past Conferences By Professor Hatheway
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Gas Works Dump at Aventura, Florida

This 2007 paper was originally presented in pdf format and deals with a case in which we assisted a land redeveloper who was faced with the discovery of and ensuing remedial action order for hazards gas-manufacturing wastes blanketing half of the former premium-priced land, upon which he had planned to construct mid-rise residential condominia.  Consider this to be a distinct possibility for any site within a few miles of a former manufactured gas plant, anywhere! 

Citation:
Hatheway, A.W. and Malek, Ali, 2007, Geo-Forensic Characteristics of a Gasworks Dump  at
          
Aventura, Florida: Geol. Soc. America,  Programs & Abstracts, Annual Meeting,
            Denver, CO, v. 39, no. 6, p. 199.

This was an invited paper for the Session Honoring the Late Dr. James E. Slosson, former State Geologist of California, and it was held at the 2007 Annual Meeting of The Geological Society of America, at Denver, on 29 October; the Session was chaired by Prof. (Dr.) J. David Rogers, Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Missouri, Rolla, and by David Abbott, Consulting Minerals Geologist, Denver, Colorado.

Geo-Forensic Characterization of a Gasworks Dump at Aventura, Florida
   
  -  PPTX Format  - 23 MB

Geo-Forensic Characterization of a Gasworks Dump at Aventura, Florida
   
  -  PPT Format  - 134 MB

Geo-Forensic Characterization of a Gasworks Dump at Aventura, Florida
   
  -  PDF Format  - 105 MB



AVENTURA SITE as ONE EXAMPLE of GAS WORKS DUMPS

 The Aventura PowerPoint presentation opens with scenes of the obvious source of the dumped wastes, the nearest FMGP, the former 9.6 ha. 1930-1959 gas plant of North Miami Beach, located some three kilometers due south of the client’s property. Both properties, dump site and alleged source, lie along the same Dixie Highway and the present-day line of the former Seaboard Airline Railroad that pass along the west side of the affected redevelopment property. Mr. Jesus Velez (left), the developing owner's project manager, along with co-author Consulting Geologist, Ali Malek (right), are shown at the client's property, just after the two-meter-thick blanket of dumped wastes had been removed, in response to a hazardous substances abatement order issued by the Miami-Dade County Environmental Protection Agency. The following images then depict an array of remaining wastes that the authors found exposed along the west and south edges of the property, where we conducted our observations, sampling, and geologic face mapping. Examples of these gas-manufacturing wastes, along with trashed antique bottles of the gas works operational era are then depicted, and then you view some of the similar gas-manufacturing wastes and historic conditions found at the western parcel of the existing waste-source gas plant, which had become surplus to the needs of the present owner, Tampa Electric Company, also continuing to operate the eastern parcel as a gas service yard. That eastern parcel of the waste-source gas works site lies on the opposite (east) side of Dixie Highway, where the "endangered" example of the Horton high-pressure gas storage sphere was located at the time of our investigation. Horton spheres were developed by the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company in the 1920s and were popular with the gas utilities for distribution storage of manufactured gas.

The client’s property was cleared for redevelopment. The authors are presently  (2007) unaware of the status of resolution of the cost-recovery action brought by the developer. 

GAS WORKS DUMPS and BODIES of DISCHARGED GAS-WORKS WASTES

Former manufactured gas plants (FMGPs) produced an ongoing variety of gas-manufacturing residuals on a daily basis. These residuals were both solid (mostly inert, in the form of use-fractured coal-gas retorts, and the spent fire brick of oil-gas and carburetted water gas generators; as well as the generally toxic spent purification media. Accommodating these residuals, usually as a space concern within the gas yard,  was a constant concern for the owners, managers and operators of the gas works, some of whom had to be graduate gas engineers or seasoned tradesmen, both groups of which knew of the inherently dangerous properties and characteristics of many of those residuals.  Faced with a trade-off of space, costs, potential income, and the operating safety of the gas plant, the owners had many options for management of their residuals, including the non-recovery options of discharge and dumping of those residuals that were selected for discharge rather than for treatment and recovery as valuable by-products. The unreclaimed wastes were known, during the history of manufactured gas, to be toxic the to environment.  Many owners and operators chose the option of "discharging to the ground" and were well aware of the ensuing potential for citizen and property-owner complaints over odors, fouled surface water or ground water, the discharge ground itself, as well as the sediment in bodies of water. These individuals also were aware of the potential damage to personal property, particular adjacent and around plants fronting on bodies of water (lakes, creeks, streams, rivers and swamps [today's "wetlands'], the net results of which are abundantly recorded in the general media of the times, along with the gas industry's own literature, and that of the legal profession.  

Much of the negative response to dumping came in the form of "nuisance" charges, allegations, claims, and law suits; but each representing historic red-flag insight into the recognized nature of the impairing discharges and dumping of those times. 

Remedial actions taken at and around FMGP and other coal-tar sites are not complete in the effort to achieve protection of human health and of the environment until the potential for on-site and site-area dumps has been thoroughly investigated and considered in the light of competent explorations, sampling and laboratory testing.
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