Site 104 dumping may imperil critical fisheries and...


August 13, 1999

Site 104 dumping may imperil critical fisheries and habitat

We at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation are concerned that The Sun's editorial about Site 104 ("Dredging up the truth on proposed dumping," Aug. 4) left readers with some misperceptions.

The Sun is correct that the sediments the state proposes to dump at Site 104 near Kent Island do not come from the Baltimore harbor. But to suggest they pose no threat is misleading.

Contaminated toxic material and nutrients are found in most bay sediments. Dumping dredged sediments in open water suspends nutrients and toxics, presenting substantial new localized threats.

Under current plans, roughly 2 million pounds of nitrogen -- nearly 25 times the nitrogen discharged from Kent Island's wastewater treatment plant in 1997 -- would be dumped at Site 104. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers admits that questions about where sediments and nutrients dumped at Site 104 may end up cannot be answered.

Also misleading was The Sun's characterization of Site 104 as a "dead zone."

Although Site 104's deep waters often experience low oxygen in the summer -- caused by years of nutrient overloading -- it remains a favorite spot for commercial and recreational fishermen.

Under a federal fisheries management law the area has been designated an "essential fish habitat" for summer flounder, winter flounder and bluefish.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation believes that, instead of pitting economics against the environment, we should work for a solution that will benefit both the port and the bay. Open water dumping is not such a solution.

Jenn Aiosa


The writer is Maryland staff scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Calm look at dumping is needed, appreciated

Thanks to The Sun for the balanced editorial regarding Site 104 ("Dredging up the truth on proposed dumping," Aug. 4).

Much of what I read about the subject seems ill-informed and alarmist.

I appreciate The Sun's call for an objective rather than emotional approach to dumping at Site 104 and its consequences for a healthy port of Baltimore.

Michele K. Ryan


City consults experts to find best water policy

The Sun's editorial "Water fight" (Aug. 6) must have set a record for inaccuracies and misrepresentations.

The editorial implied that Department of Public Works Director George G. Balog is not a "technical expert" on water supply. That is not true.

He is a water engineer with 30 years of experience in the field. He began his career as a project manager at the Montebello Filtration Plant.

This is not to say that Mr. Balog is making decisions without the assistance of other experts. Indeed, DPW water engineers advised the director to delay tapping waters from the Susquehanna River for an additional week.

Director Balog decided not to follow this advice but to proceed with withdrawing water.

In addition to such in-house technical experience, Mr. Balog hired an outside firm to ensure we would have the most comprehensive information available so we can provide the highest quality and the greatest quantity of water possible.

Kurt L. Kocher


The writer is chief of information services for Department of Public Works.

State's drought is what dumb growth has wrought

I wonder how much worse this drought will have to get before Gov. Parris N. Glendening redefines "Smart Growth"?

This hot, dry weather is the new reality in Maryland. This is global warming. This is the man-altered nature we'll be adjusting to for the foreseeable future.

My definition of Smart Growth: free one-way tickets out of Maryland.

Kirk S. Nevin

White Hall

Police have more important targets than garden hoses

While I fully understand and support the need for water-use restrictions, I have a problem seeing a picture of one of Baltimore's finest approaching a citizen because the "grass was also getting wet" (as the caption under The Sun's Aug. 7 front-page photograph suggested).

I'd much rather see a picture of a police officer putting handcuffs on a thief, murderer or drug lord.

Diane Pazourek


The GOP wants to reprise Reagan-era budget fiasco

In the 1980s, the Republican Party gave us "supply-side economics," which added trillions of dollars to our national debt. They ran up this debt by giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy and spending enormously on the Star Wars missile system and other defense programs.

Now the GOP once again wants to treat us all to a tax break and increased Star Wars spending in a rebirth of supply-side madness.

What they seem to be forgetting is that the deficits of yesterday will have to be paid off -- and, if we don't do it in this time of prosperity, the burden must fall to our children and grandchildren.

Perhaps this is not forgetfulness. Perhaps they really don't care about family values after all.

John D. Venables


A taxpayer who wants a refund

Let's see if I understand this: I overpaid this nonprofit organization (the government), which now has a surplus of a trillion dollars. But it wants to hold on to the surplus for some 20 years?

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