[ RadSafe ] NYC permitting of detectors: NYPD proposes some changes.
Dan W McCarn
hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 21:27:00 CST 2008
I am sure that there are hundreds of environmental shops all over New York
City and surrounding area dealing with any number of hazardous materials
issues at the present time. They have a wide collection of instruments that
(in the view of some) could be easily adapted or used for WMD issues. These
are not only radiation sensors, but also gas chromatographs/mass
spectrometers (GC/MS), GCs, photo-ionization detectors (PID), Lower/Upper
Explosive Limits (LEL/UEL) as well as the more mundane
pH/SC/EH/Temperature probes. Of course, we are all trained in HAZMAT
issues, and have all been fitted with personal protective equipment
including SCBAs, supplied air, etc., and receive our annual HAZMAT
refreshers every year.
Just what is the purpose of this NYC law in its watered-down version? The
language has gone from all-inclusive to only those systems that DHS and the
police department(?) manage for WMD attacks plus what they dont exclude.
Since the largest number (for lack of a better term) of "free-range"
instruments are in the hands of the environmental geologists, scientists and
their ilk (not health physics personnel), they need to be, at a minimum,
excluded from this law not to mention any geotechnical folks running around
with gamma & neutron sources / sensors for soils / geophysical /
Why would a geologist need such instruments?
A few of months ago in Colorado, in addition to the normal hazards of a deep
(2,000 ft) water-well drilling and building operation, I wore an H2S alarm
on my helmet, had a more sensitive H2S detector running during drilling and
well development, a scintillation counter for cuttings, a PID running for
methane, LEL/UEL detector, and we were collecting gas / water samples for
GC, GC/MS and isotopic analysis as well as the "normal" instruments for pH,
specific conductivity, temperature, etc. The H2S far exceeded the IDLH
(Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health) levels if samples were collected
/ stored in a confined space, e.g. the flume for measuring water volumes in
an aquifer test or just downwind of the well head, not to mention that we
exceeded the LEL for methane at the well head and the flume. And that was
just a water well in "natural" conditions, albeit a little on the extreme
I'm sure that as a geologist, Mark Williams (NYSCPG) has similar stories
more pertinent to New York City. He also has the network of individuals and
companies that handle NYC issues.
But I will again stress that it is the training/certification/licensing of
the individual that makes a measurement meaningful, not the instrument.
This isn't over yet. I have a strong feeling in the pit of my stomach that
there will be a move to force this issue by Falkenrath.
Lieber Franz In the USA, Free Range refers to chicken, eggs or cuts of
meat from critters that are allowed to Range Free.
From: Steven Dapra [mailto:sjd at swcp.com]
Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 7:26 PM
To: Dan W McCarn
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] NYC permitting of detectors: NYPD proposes some
Is there a directory of all the organizations in New York state that
will be affected by this law? Someone needs to notify all of them and get
them busy notifying their members to speak out loudly and forcefully against
this law, and to be watching for it to be presented in any other guise
anywhere in New York (or anywhere else). I wonder if the Health Physics
Society is doing anything to notify its members. They certainly should all
be notified. Also the ACGIH needs to be advised, as well as any
professional or trade organizations that do monitoring, or that test soil,
air, or water. Radiologists also need to be notified. True, the law has
been modified somewhat, however it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks
and then unceremoniously thrown into the t-r-a-s-h. And let its decisive
defeat be a lesson to the totalitarian so-and-so's who would try to foist
this thing off on an unsuspecting public anywhere in the US of A.
At 12:27 PM 2/4/08 -0600, you wrote:
I recommend that you make contact with the New York State Council of
Professional Geologists, NYSCPG, Box 2281, Albany, NY 12220-0281. I spoke
with Mark Williams, President of the NYSCPG a few minutes ago, and he was
not aware of this new, proposed law for New York City. He commented that it
would affect hundreds of geoscience, environmental science, geotechnical,
chemistry & biology personnel currently working on issues related to
environmental protection and pollution characterization.
Mark A. Williams, President, 518-270-1620, ext. 106
Charles A. Rich, Vice President, 516-576-8844
§ 20-05 (d) seems to make the entire piece of legislation moot at least for
radiological detection. I doubt that the debate has been brought to the
attention of the geologic community in New York. Since geologists provide
the first line of support in the detection, characterization and prevention
of environmental contamination and pollution, they employ a wide range of
field detection equipment such as photo-ionization detectors (PID),
scintillation counters, Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometers (GC-MS), H2S
detectors, etc. which would definitely fall under the proposed law.
I found Stewart's remark, "Never attribute to malice, that which can be
explained by pure stupidity" as perfectly accurate and appropriate.
In a way, I'm surprised that you haven't been invited to provide testimony
given who you are, what you do and the depth and clarity that you can
provide in the discussion.
If there is anything that I can do, say or write, I am at your disposal. I
know that you must be extremely frustrated with this.
Dan W. McCarn, Geologist; 3118 Pebble Lake Drive; Sugar Land, TX 77479; USA
Cell: +1-505-710-3600; Home: +1-281-903-7667; Fax: +1-713-241-1012; Office:
mccarn at unileoben.ac.at HotGreenChile at gmail.com UConcentrate at gmail.com
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