Fri

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May

2014

Top 10 cities at risk from hurricane damage - Page 3



(MoneyWatch) Storm surge damage from a hurricane or tropical storm can devastate a city, leaving destroyed homes, standing water and debris in its wake, miles away from any coastline.

This year, more than 4.2 million homes are at risk from storm surge, which could cause more than $1 trillion in damage, according to a recently released storm surge report by CoreLogic, a property analysis and data firm. Vulnerability is so widespread that more than 75 percent of major cities could be underwater after a major storm.

Storm surge is the rising tide of water that is pushed inland by the high winds of hurricanes and tropical storms. I actually found this short article on the subject of water extraction and thought it was interesting. If you want more information, you should go here:Hurricane Katrina washed ocean waters up to 12 miles inland along the coast of Mississippi. Last year, Hurricane Isaac caused an 11-foot storm surge that affected 59,000 homes and caused $2.3 billion in damage.

Still, Hurricane Sandy -- which wasn't even technically a hurricane by the time it hit land -- was the most devastating storm of 2012, causing more than a 12-foot surge in some areas, damaging 650,000 homes and killing 72 people.

What cities are at risk for suffering that kind of damage this year?

While it's impossible to predict exactly which cities are at the greatest risk for hurricanes as we enter a new season, CoreLogic did name the cities with the most homes at risk for water damage from hurricanes and tropical storms, based on the location of the homes and the population density.

http://www.cbsnews.com/media/top-10-cities-at-risk-from-hurricane-damage/3/
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Wed

21

May

2014

USAA Changes Policy After ABC News Investigation Into Sandy-Damaged Vehicles Sold on Used Car Lots



ABC US News | International News

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In the wake of an ABC News investigation into superstorm Sandy-damaged cars being sold on used car lots, a major American insurance company acknowledged that its salvage vehicle branding process after Sandy was "unsatisfactory," and it is making changes to help keep those damaged cars off the road.

USAA, which focuses on providing financial services and insurance to U.S. military members and their families, is now facing questions, which were raised by an ABC's "The Lookout" report in July, over its failure to brand at least one of its flood-damaged vehicles -- a 2006 Ford F-350 -- as a salvage vehicle before selling it at auction.

In a follow-up interview with "The Lookout's" Bill Weir, Kevin Bergner, the president of USAA's Property and Casualty Insurance Group and a former Army general, said the team's report was "shining the light on something that is troubling all of us."

"We went back and looked at our process, and we said 'unsatisfactory,'" Bergner said. "We are changing it, and we will maintain that highest standard. That even a parts-only sale will involve a [salvage] branded title."

When superstorm Sandy pummeled the Northeast last October, the damage was widespread. Nearly 300 people lost their lives, and thousands more lost their homes. Then there were the cars. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an estimated 250,000 cars were submerged for days in corrosive saltwater.

Thousands of these flood-damaged vehicles were temporarily stored at the Calverton Executive Airpark in Long Island. In the months following Sandy's destruction, these cars began to disappear. Where did these flood cars go?

In a seven-month investigation, ABC's "The Lookout" found these cars turning up on used car lots across the country.

Christopher Basso, public relations manager at CarFax, explains the potential hazards of flood-damaged vehicles, adding that "flood cars literally rot from the inside out."

Because of how easily the damage can be concealed, Basso warns prospective buyers to bring the vehicle to a mechanic for an inspection. "While this car looks great on the outside and to the untrained eye, things are falling apart inside this car. It may not happen immediately, but days, weeks or months down the road, parts that are on this car are going to fail."

CarFax estimates that more than 100,000 Sandy-damaged vehicles are now back on the road across the United States.

When ABC's "The Lookout" team went undercover at used car dealership D&D Auto Sales in Old Bridge, N.J., it discovered a Ford F-350 truck totaled by superstorm Sandy selling for $19,999. I actually found this informative article concerning water damage remediation and thought it was helpful. If you need more information, you ought to click this link:The truck's Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, and auction records indicated it had been damaged by a flood.



A D&D's salesman sold the car to an ABC's "The Lookout" producer for its asking price and referred to a flood alert on the vehicle history report CarFax as only "a glitch."

But Alan Picker, owner and certified mechanic at All-Time AutoBody in Point Pleasant, N.J., knows the CarFax alert was no glitch. "The Lookout" team brought the truck to him to examine the dangers a cleaned-up flood vehicle can often conceal. Picker discovered the car had serious damage, including a corroded transmission, as well as potentially hazardous airbags that could randomly deploy while driving.



http://abcnews.go.com/US/usaa-policy-abc-news-investigation-sandy-damaged-vehicles/story?id=20156236

7 Comments

Wed

21

May

2014

Who is a good contractor to help with water damage restoration in grand rapids?

When I needed to renovate I contacted the renovations experts, they have a list of local contractors and they pre-screen each contractor, and you get free estimates from those who made the cut in your area.



It saved me a lot of money because I could negotiate with the contractor I wanted to use based on the free estimates I got from other contractors, so I really recommend it. I came across this informative article concerning water damage repair service and thought it was interesting. If you want more information, you ought to follow the link:Here is the link I used, if you want to contact them: http://best-offers-online.com/estimates

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/?qid=20091109061314AAIY1C8

5 Comments

Wed

21

May

2014

West Virginia spill latest example of coal tainting US waters



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Water is distributed to residents at the South Charleston Community Center in Charleston, West Virginia, January 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Lisa Hechesky)

The chemical spill that contaminated water for hundreds of thousands in West Virginia was only the latest and most high-profile case of coal sullying the nation's waters.

For decades, chemicals and waste from the coal industry have tainted hundreds of waterways and groundwater supplies, spoiling private wells, shutting down fishing and rendering streams virtually lifeless, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal environmental data.

But because these contaminants are released gradually and in some cases not tracked or regulated, they attract much less attention than a massive spill such as the recent one in West Virginia.

"I've made a career of body counts of dead fish and wildlife made that way from coal," said Dennis Lemly, a U.S. Forest Service research biologist who has spent decades chronicling the deformities pollution from coal mining has caused in fish.

"How many years and how many cases does it take before somebody will step up to the plate and say, `Wait a minute, we need to change this'?"

The spill of a coal-cleaning chemical into a river in Charleston, W.Va., left 300,000 people without water. It exposed a potentially new and under-regulated risk to water from the coal industry when the federal government is still trying to close regulatory gaps that have contributed to coal's legacy of water pollution.

From coal mining to the waste created when coal is burned for electricity, pollutants associated with coal have contaminated waterways, wells and lakes with far more insidious and longer-lasting contaminants than the chemical that spilled out of a tank farm on the banks of the Elk River.

Chief among them are discharges from coal-fired power plants that alone are responsible for 50 percent to 60 percent of all toxic pollution entering the nation's water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thanks to even tougher air pollution regulations underway, more pollution from coal-fired power plants is expected to enter the nation's waterways, according to a recent EPA assessment.

"Clean coal means perhaps cleaner atmosphere, but dirtier water," said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University researcher who has monitored discharges from power plant waste ponds and landfills in North Carolina.

In that state, Vengosh and other researchers found contaminants from coal ash disposal sites threatening the drinking water for Charlotte, the nation's 17th-largest city, with cancer-causing arsenic.

"It is kind of a time bomb that can erupt in some kind of specific condition," Vengosh said. The water shows no signs of arsenic contamination now.

In southeastern Ohio, tainted water draining from abandoned coal mines shuttered a century ago still turns portions of the Raccoon Creek orange with iron and coats the half-submerged rocks along its path white with aluminum.

Public drinking water systems in 14 West Virginia counties where mining companies are blasting off mountaintops to get to coal seams exceeded state safe drinking water standards seven times more than in nonmining counties, according to a study published in a water quality journal in 2012. The systems provided water for more than a million people.

The water quality monitoring in mining areas is so inadequate that most health violations likely were not caught, said Michael Hendryx, the study's author and a professor of applied health at Indiana University.

The EPA, in an environmental assessment last year, identified 132 cases where coal-fired power plant waste has damaged rivers, streams and lakes, and 123 where it has tainted underground water sources, in many cases legally, officials said.

Among them is the massive failure of a waste pond at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in 2008. More than 5 million cubic yards of ash poured into a river and spoiled hundreds of acres in a community 35 miles west of Knoxville.

Overall, power plants contributed to the degradation of 399 bodies of water that are drinking water sources, according to the EPA.

There are no federal limits on the vast majority of chemicals that power plants pipe directly into rivers, streams and reservoirs. The EPA just last year proposed setting limits on a few of the compounds, the first update since 1982. More than five years after the Tennessee spill, the EPA has yet to issue federal regulations governing the disposal of coal ash.

Experts say the agency is playing catch-up to solve a problem that began when it required power plants in the 1990s to scrub their air pollution to remove sulfur dioxide. An unintended consequence was that the pollutants captured were dumped into landfills and ponds, many unlined, where they seeped into underground aquifers or were piped into adjacent rivers, reservoirs and lakes.

"As you are pushing air rules that are definitely needed, you need to think of the water. I stumbled upon this informative article on the subject of water damage repair and thought it was helpful. If you would like more information, I recommend you check the page:And they didn't," said Eric Schaeffer, a former EPA enforcement official. "Now they are running after the problem."

He now heads the Environmental Integrity Project, a group whose research has uncovered previously unknown sites of contamination from power plant waste pits.

The federal government has in recent years issued the first-ever regulations for mercury released from power plant smokestacks, the largest source of mercury entering waterways. The EPA has stepped up its review of mountaintop mining permits, to reduce pollution.

"Coal-related pollution remains a significant contributor to water quality pollution across the United States," said Alisha Johnson, an EPA spokeswoman. "The EPA's efforts have yielded significant improvements, but significant work still remains."

On the mining side, a review of federal environmental enforcement records shows that nearly three-quarters of the 1,727 coal mines listed haven't been inspected in the past five years to see if they are obeying water pollution laws. Also, 13 percent of the fossil-fuel fired power plants are not complying with the Clean Water Act.

Many mines don't even report their discharges of selenium, although researchers have found the chemical near mines at levels where it can cause deformities and reproductive failure in fish.

A study in the journal Science in 2010 found that 73 of 78 West Virginia streams in mountaintop mine removal areas had selenium levels higher than the official threshold for fish life. Higher levels of selenium - a natural component of coal that seeps from rock when water runs through it - often means fish don't reproduce or have deformed, even two-headed, offspring, Lemly said.

University of Maryland environmental sciences professor Margaret Palmer spent much of the weekend that Charleston was without water testing the Stillhouse Branch stream near Clay, W.Va., just below a mountaintop removal coal mine. She said her tests showed the water was too salty from the rocks from the mine.

"It's like a desert with a few water rats in it," Palmer said. "The organisms that do live in (these streams), you think of them like water rats. Only the really hearty ones survive."

Efforts by the EPA to ease the problem, by requiring mine permits to be judged by a measure of the saltiness in downstream water, have been vacated by a federal court. That decision is under appeal.

A spokesman for the National Mining Association said the industry operates in accord with extensive and rigorous permitting guidelines.

Pollution still enters the environment from coal mined decades ago.

The EPA estimates 12,000 river miles are tainted by acid mine drainage from long-shuttered coal mines. One of them is Raccoon Creek in southeastern Ohio.

"These mines have been abandoned for a hundred years," said Amy Mackey, Raccoon Creek's watershed coordinator. "There is no one to fall back on."

States take the lead on the water pollution front. But advocacy groups from at least three states in coal country - Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana - have asked the EPA to step in, arguing that state officials aren't doing enough.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/20/west-virginia-spill-latest-example-coal-tainting-us-waters/
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