In Search of Toxic Silicon Valley: The Subterranean Poisoning From High Technology Manufacturing

by Marques Vickers

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Author Marques Vickers profiles and photographs twenty-five former toxic waste sites with his book “In Search of Toxic Silicon Valley: The Subterranean Poisoning From High Technology Manufacturing”. His edition focuses on visually documenting the contemporary redevelopment of these properties decades after they have become removed from closer public and media scrutiny.

During the 1960s through early 1990s, an environmental disaster originated from leaking hazardous chemicals and solvents employed in semiconductor manufacturing. A lethal combination of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) seeped through on-site industrial storage containers. These concentrated leakages formed toxic plumes that penetrated between thirty and five hundred feet beneath the ground surface. The plumes ranged from three hundred feet to ten miles in length. Drinking water, regional creeks, streams and estuary lands were affected. The result has left the technology heartland with an extended network of contaminated groundwaters.

The resulting contamination of soils and waters created a large-scale clean-up dilemma for a region that has sustained prosperity from the evolution of the technology industry. Neighboring public health consequences have included documented elevated statistics on cancer rate spikes and birth defects. Limited follow-up litigation has generally resulted in no-fault disclosure financial settlements. Only one individual has faced criminal related disposal charges and was convicted of ten misdemeanors.

Federal Superfund clean up projects began in the 1980s, coordinated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of Superfund sites in the United States. Reclamation projects transported polluted soils to federal hazardous waste sites. Water excavation pumping, filtering and monitoring stations were established. These ongoing treatments have reversed groundwater contamination levels to acceptable EPA standards. They have not completely eliminated the toxic compound presence or eradicated the risk of vapor intrusion aboveground.

Silicon Valley groundwater remains unacceptable for public consummation. The most affected cities currently outsource drinking water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite, Sacramento Delta, San Luis Reservoir and long-established municipal and private wells.

The subsequent reuses of formerly contaminated parcels currently include residential, retail and commercial developments, a shopping center and church. Only a small percentage of lands remain dormant and these are targeted for future development.

The Silicon Valley manufacturing era remains a discreetly mentioned blight to the legacy of the industry. The semiconductor manufacturing process has subsequently been relocated offshore. Instead of prioritizing hygienic solutions for production and waste disposal, the shifting has reportedly created an equally dangerous source of dioxin pollution transported globally by prevailing winds and ocean currents.

The author’s research is based exclusively from EPA archived documentation and related contaminant databases. The text and photographs are best summarized in his chilling opening paragraph:

This is a story about unhappy endings. This is a narrative about how the manufacture of technology has potentially forever poisoned the subterranean strata of the Silicon Valley. In brief, this is a horror story.



Details:
rank:
price: $14.98
bound: 132 pages
publisher: Marquis Publishing; 1 edition (March 29, 2017)
lang: English
asin: B06XY3MZW1
isbn:
weight:
filesize: 3342 KB

















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