Mark Krueger's blog

A Layman's Point of View

All this uranium mining seems to be very complicated. Oxidizing agents, injection and production, RO processing of pregnant lixiviant (which isn't even in the dictionary!), etc.

Let's look at this whole thing from a simple point of view.

If I draw a glass of water from my well, I can be fairly certain that the quality of the water will be the same as it was yesterday and the day before. I periodically test my well, but not frequently. There is no apparent need to spend thousands of dollars testing my water unless something drastically changes.

If injection uranium mining occurs near my property, the possibility exists that the mining fluids and the freed-up radioactive metals that come with it could make their way to my water well. Even TCEQ and the mining companies admit this. "Sir, there are no guarantees!" This is a quote from TCEQ to me during the Public Meeting in Goliad.

Well, if I'm not sure what will be in my water tomorrow, wouldn't I want to test it frequently? In other words, if the mining starts upstream, and there are "no guarantees", then I'm sitting on a time bomb which may or may not go off.

So, in order to protect my family, I would be compelled to test my water at least every 90 days. Otherwise, I would be very leery and afraid to let my family drink the water from my well. A fairly comprehensive water test costs around $500, so if I were to test my water every 90 days, this would cost $2,000 per year, or $20,000 over a ten year period. This is just ONE water well. If 200 property owners with water wells surrounding the mining site were to test their water every 90 days, this would cost $4,000,000 over a ten year period. FOUR MILLION DOLLARS!

Just exactly who is supposed to pay for this? This "stigma" did not exist before and therefore frequent testing of my water would not have been necessary.

If one of my neighbors' septic system overflows and runs into my water well, the County Health Department throws a tizzy. If this were to occur, I would be able to see, smell and taste the effluent in my water. Unfortunately, the Health Department does not oversee intentional groundwater contamination for the sake of profit.

Uranium and all of its daughters are not detectible by the human senses. You can't see, smell or taste uranium, radium, selenium, arsenic, molybdenum or radon gas if it gets into your water. The only way to know if it's in your water is to test your water.

Why are we being subjected to this? If our United States Government is willing to let Iraq sell processed uranium to a private company in Canada for resale, and even help them load it and ship it, then why is our drinking water being threatened? Uranium is obviously not that important to our Government or they wouldn't have given it away. How much does Iraq owe the United States anyway? So little that our government can give away 200 tons of Iraqi uranium yellowcake to a private Canadian company?

The fact of the matter is that the Goliad uranium is easy to get to and easy to mine. This means lower costs and more profits for the mining company, NOT our government. This isn't about the "greater good of America". This is about private (Canadian) enterprise wanting to exploit our natural resources, our WATER, to make a profit (and a big one!)

How would you feel if I gave you a glass of water but told you, "I've been injecting fluids into this water which release radioactive metals but I think we got it all out, so it may or may not be safe to drink". How would you feel? Would you drink it anyway? That's what's being asked of me as a water well owner in NW Victoria County several miles downstream of the proposed uranium mine in Goliad County.

If you think uranium mining is "safe", as the mining companies insist, then wouldn't you also think that they would stand behind their words? "NO GUARANTEES" does not lead me to believe that my family and I can comfortably drink MY OWN WATER on a continuous basis over the next ten or twenty years, especially after they've closed shop and gone back to Canada.

We should never be afraid to drink our own water. That is no way to live.

"We can live without uranium. We cannot live without water!" - Richard J. Abitz, PhD, Geochemical Consulting Services.

That just about says it all.

Say what? A uranium mine!?!

I'd first like to introduce and explain myself.

My name is Mark Krueger. My entire life of 49 years has passed me up without allowing me the details of uranium mining. I have had zero education regarding the subject, until now.

The water well we drink from was drilled around 1995 by a water well driller from Goliad County. An unusual amount of calcium carbonate recently and unusually began to clog the sink screens and shower head, so I called the water well driller. "It's probably that damn uranium mine just upstream from you!", he exclaimed. This was my first encounter with uranium mining.

A local television news interview followed a "letter to the editor" of the local newspaper. I then received a phone call from a representative of the uranium mining company, who offered to drill a new water well, should mine become affected, and also wanted to know of anyone who may be willing to lease in my area.

I then went into a frenzy, riding my wife's Chinese motorcycle around the neighborhood to round up water well owners to test their wells. I took nineteen samples to Texas Department of State Health Services to have the water tested for radionuclides. Of the nineteen, three showed substantial traces of uranium, ranging from 4.6 to 6.5 pCi/L (the magic EPA number being 30). One well showed signs of radium 226, a daughter of uranium.

So, we have small ore bodies in the water table. My well registered only 1.6 total uranium, which means it's there but at rest. Introduce oxygen and everything changes. The uranium, radium, arsenic, selenium and molybdenum, to name a few, become mobile. I promptly decided that I do not want uranium mining close to my water well...period.

Then began my blitz...blogs, responses to articles and the like. Yes, I compared uranium mining in Goliad to deer hunting on a golf course for profit. I want to know how a church which lies only 1600 feet downdip from the mining zone and drinks from two water wells cannot be a consideration. I want to know a lot of things, but very little information exists. All I can find is horror stories...the Navajo in New Mexico, the miners in Western Colorado, some native Canadian tribes. Mess after mess left in Karnes County, Live Oak County, Duval County, Kleberg County in Texas. As hard as I tried, I could find no "good news".

At the Public Meeting in Goliad, I asked one simple question of both TCEQ and the mining company: "Is it possible that one single private water well could be negatively affected by this In Situ uranium mining?" The answer: "Sir, there are no guarantees!"

EXCUSE ME???

So, what exactly do they inject into the aquifer to liquify the uranium? I decided to mix up some of this "benign and environmentally friendly" solution and pour some Goliad sand into it. The result was a little more intense than what I expected. Here's the link to the first of two videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW4ZTgIApGY . To watch the second video, simply click "More from markalankrueger" on the right.

"We can live without uranium. We cannot live without water!" - Richard J. Abitz, PhD, Geochemical Consulting Services. That about says it all.

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