Sustainable Living

I wrote about the release of GM mosquitos when they started the first trial in the Cayman Islands about 8 years ago.

Mosquitos are pollinators too

After we posted that article we kept track of what was happening.

In 2015 Genewatch UK published an article titled GM insect factories might become antibiotic-resistant bacteria factories. Their concern was mass production of GM insects in factories, using tetracyclines as an additive in their feed, could lead to drug resistance in their microbiota, in the same way that treating bees with tetracyclines has selected for antibiotic resistance. Oxitec’s GM insects may then disseminate antibiotic resistance when released into the environment in the repeated, largescale releases needed to vastly outnumber wild pest insect numbers.

This is a big deal – the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

Then just as Florida was thinking of releasing the GM mosquitos Physicians from the area expressed their concerns: These GM insects are programmed to require tetracycline as a maturation factor. If they do not receive the antibiotic in sufficient dosage to penetrate every cell and neutralize the implanted lethal gene, the insects die in early larval stage. If they receive a sufficient dosage, they will live and reproduce.

They asked that nasal swab studies be done to assess pre and post release bacterial resistance.  According to one of the doctors involved the company continued to spend big money marketing the concept but did not run the cheap cultures to soothe residents fears. Physicians Vote No To GM Mosquitos

In January 2017 in the Cayman Islands Oxitec announced The release of some 8 million modified mosquitoes in West Bay has had a significant impact in reducing populations of the disease spreading insects.

In June 2017

In  October 2017 a report was released identifying the success of the project claiming a 62% suppression rate.

An $8 million plan for an island wide rollout of the genetically modified mosquito program was aborted at the last minute in late 2017 amid budget cuts and concerns that the technology has yet to fully prove itself.

Instead government opted for a much smaller-scale deployment, testing the GM mosquitoes in combination with other suppression techniques in a $588,000 trial throughout 2018.

But in May of 2018  a cache of internal emails was released following an open records request. In those communications staff at a management level expressed serious doubts about the impact of the technology in controlling natural populations of the disease-spreading insects. They also expressed concerns about the claims being made on its behalf by British biotech firm Oxitec. The emails state that the report was generated by Oxitec which stood to gain from a deal of close to US $8 million dollar that would expand the project to entire island.

The Revealing and disturbing MRCU Oxitec Emails – Editorial

If it were not for the release of those emails, it seems likely that Oxitec’s claim that its program had led to a “62 percent suppression rate” of the disease-carrying Aedes aegypti population in the West Bay pilot area would have gone unchallenged by government officials. That may well have led to the awarding of a two-year, US$8 million contract to Oxitec based on, at best, incomplete data.

Instead, the government budgeted “only” $940,000 in 2018, essentially for Oxitec to rerun its pilot tests in West Bay from 2016 and 2017.

In November 2018 it was announced that the release of the GM mosquitoes has stopped and no new public funds are committed to the project next year.

It seems like this may be the final chapter in this GM Mosquito story in the Caymans.


The next time you go to use a throw away plastic cup – think about where it could end up.


March 2011 046

Most people who visit Dominica exclaim over and over how green it is!

Most of the people who live here say one of the reasons they put up with all the challenges of living on a small island with low incomes is the access to nature.

Lucky for me growing up my parents loved to immerse in nature; our most frequent family outing was an experience in nature; visiting a lake or a park for a day or a week holiday. I still remember the feelings of well being after being immersed in nature and the deep refreshing sleeps after.

01012015 001

Immersion in Nature is now scientifically proven to be healing!

I first learned this concept – nature is healing as part of a conscious lifestyle for health and wellness – in the 1980’s from the Rasta’s I studied during my year’s sabbatical in the West Indies studying Herbal Medicine; Appropriate Technology and Vegetarian Cooking!

Repeatedly as I interviewed people who were part of the Rasta Movement and interested in Healthy Conscious Living I heard that Immersion in Nature – gardening; hiking trails; nature walks; river baths; hot water soaks or visits to ‘Dr. Sea’ – was an intricate part of their Healthy Lifestyle.

Now Forest Bathing is offered everywhere.

The scientifically-proven benefits of exposure to nature include:

  • Boosted immune system functioning.
  • Reduced blood pressure.
  • Reduced stress.
  • Improved mood.
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD.
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness.
  • Increased energy level.
  • Improved sleep.





A new study released within the last few days by the Center for Disease Control and  Prevention has shown a marked increase in Autism;  it now affects 1 in 88 children, 1 in 54 boys, an increase of 28% since and a frightenly huge jump from 1 in 10,ooo cases seen in the 1980’s.

As a early childhood education teacher I began to see the increase in autism in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I was told by parent after parent that they thought immunizations had changed their child overnight, they had observed different behaviours.

This was repeatedly refuted by the vaccination companies, but now as the rates of autism increase people are looking at vaccination as a possible cause of autism.

Another suspected source of neurotoxins in children is environmental toxins and agricultural chemicals such as organophosphates.

My husband was recently diagnosed with dementia, after a few years of research I have realized that dementia is also increasing rapidly and there are starting to be a few studies linking agricultural chemicals and dementia.

I asked the Neurologist when we went to Guadeloupe for testing and diagnosis; we discussed that there were no studies at that time that we know of. I kept researching and the links are becoming more clear.

See the studies below

Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors may increase the risk of later Parkinson’s disease, but the risk is relatively small.


Cognitive impairment in agricultural workers and nearby residents exposed to pesticides in the Coquimbo Region of Chile.

Association between background exposure to organochlorine pesticides and the risk of cognitive impairment: A prospective study that accounts for weight change.




Prenatal chlorpyrifos leads to autism-like deficits in C57Bl6/J mice.

Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and risk of autism spectrum disorders and other non-typical development at 3 years in a high-risk cohort.


When I moved to Dominica in the 1990’s and traveled the island catching rides I often talked about water conservation. I already saw signs of less water in the dry river beds and low water levels of rivers. I had first came to the island in 1981 and the observation was personal.

Everyone laughed at me and said; Dominica does not need to  conserve water.

This year for this first time I remember Dominica has been warned that there could be a drought.

Tropical Storm Erica showed us that not all precipitation contributes to higher water levels in out rivers, as runoff from hard rains after long dry periods can leave as quickly as it comes.


All household faucets should be fit with aerators. This is hands-down the single best home water conservation method – and the cheapest!

Be sure taps are fully off before leaving your home. Leaving a rap running can waste gallons of water.

Check the household water system for leaks regularly. A small drip from a faucet can waste 20 gallons of water per day.

Don’t leave the water running to wash dishes. If you use a basin when washing dishes by hand, you use half the water.

Ensure  toilets are working properly. A “running” toilet with a loose or stuck seal can waste thousands of gallons of water.

Fill the washing machine with clothes before doing the load. This allows you to wash more clothes with the same amount of water.

Go to the Beach or the River. Take advantage of Dominica’s natural hot pools, rivers and ocean beaches. Private swimming pools use large amounts of water.

Hide a small water bottle or 2 filled with water/sand in your toilet water tank. This means every time you flush the toilet you save 1/2 or 1 litre of water.

Insulate hot water pipes. It’s inexpensive and very easy to insulate water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. Since hot water comes faster we don’t waste water running the tap while it heats up.

Just use the hose to rinse off the car or equipment when washing them. Use a pail of soapy water first to clean the car then turn the hose on.

Know that every drop of water saved is valuable! Climate change is here!

Low-flow faucet aerators.  This is hands-down the single best home water conservation method – and costs very little!

Make showers quick! Long, hot showers can use 5 to 10 gallons every unneeded minute.  

Not to leave the water running when you shampoo or soap up in the shower. Turn the water on to wet the body; turn it off to soap or shampoo then back on to rinse.

Open the facet a little less than full force when using the hose or tap. In Dominica water pressure can be high and that means a lot more water flows when the tap is on.

Purchase water saving household equipment. Washing machines that are water saving use less water per cycle.

Quit letting the hose run when u wash your car. Better yet don’t turn on the hose until you are ready to rinse.

Replace regular shower heads with water-saving shower heads, It’s easy and inexpensive to install water-saving low-flow shower heads. “Low-flow” means using less than 2.5 gallons per minute.

Save a few liters of water every day. This will add up to saving 1000’s of gallons of water over a lifetime.

Turn it off while brushing. After wetting the toothbrush, turn off the water while brushing. This can save 684 gallons of water in a year’s worth of brushing

Utilize efficient watering systems. We can greatly reduce the amount of water used for gardening by utilizing soaker hoses, installing drip-irrigation systems and watering plants in the early morning or late evening so the water does not evaporate as quickly. Water sprinklers use much more water often with greater lost to evaporation.

Verify the water from your guttering is caught in a rain barrel water catchment system covered for mosquitos. Free water for all your outdoor needs.

Wash sheets, towels and clothing only when they need it. Wearing an outfit more than once or washing sheets and towels less frequently can cut water usage in half.

Xeriscape with plants that suit the environment. Keep lawn surfaces to a minimum and plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants. Use native plants and flowers known to thrive in the area you live. Around Salisbury we would focus on drought resistance flowers and shrubs; perhaps cactuses and succulents. In Pond Case and Laudat we would grow plants that love the wet cool conditions there.

Yes these little tips do make a difference. Never under estimate the impact of one person in the world wide scheme of things. 

Zest for living in a mindful manner results in less resources being used per person and family. This ensures resources will still be there for our grandchildren.

It is always prudent and mindful to conserve precious drinking water as one of Dominica’s most important resources.

United Nations University

Orkustofnun, Grensásvegur 9, IS-108 Reykjavík, Iceland


Thesser E. De Roche
Office of Disaster Management
Ministry of National Security, Immigration & Labour
Financial Centre, Kennedy Ave.  Roseau;  DOMINICA, W.I.

Dominica forms a part of the Volcanic Caribbees in the Lesser Antilles Island Arc and has nine active volcanoes whereas the other islands have one volcano per island.

Southern Dominica is the most active part of the island and includes the Wotten Waven area, one of the sites due for geothermal exploration. Preliminary surface exploration in Wotten Waven suggests the possibility of the existence of a deep high-temperature reservoir.

Dominica is known as the “Nature Island” of the Caribbean and therefore promotes eco-tourism. Very often geothermal sites are found in environmentally sensitive areas, often of historic and cultural importance. Wotten Waven falls into this category, hence the recommendations suggested. The purpose of this report is to serve as a guideline to the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica regarding geothermal development. In the event of geothermal development, and despite being a clean and sustainable source, there are several factors to be taken into consideration due to potential impacts on the environment.

The Lesser Antilles Island Arc is a chain of islands, 740 km long which stretches from the Anegada Passage in the north to the South American continental margin. Dating as far back as the Eocene period, this area has been one of high seismicity, tectonic activity and active volcanism. The Island  Arc was formed as a result of the subduction of the North American plate under the Caribbean plate.

The Lesser Antilles presents a very interesting structure. North of Dominica the island arc divides into two giving rise to the Limestone Caribbees which refers to all the islands found on the northeast end of the arc while the Volcanic Caribbees are in the more active part of the arc and comprise all the islands found on the western side or inner arc from Saba in the north, to Grenada in the south (Figure 1).

The volcanoes of the Lesser Antilles have produced a wide variety of eruptive products. The most abundant rock types are andesites. Dominica lies in the centre of the Lesser Antilles Island Arc and has a land area of 750 km². It is the most rugged of the islands; about 60% of the land is still covered with lush green vegetation. There are nine active volcanoes in Dominica, unlike in the other volcanic islands of the Lesser Antilles which feature one apiece. There has been no major magmatic eruption in recent times. Two phreatic eruptions took place in the Valley of Desolation in 1880 and in 1997. Each of the major peaks has its own radial drainage system. Also known as “The Nature Island” of the Caribbean, Dominica has one of the densest water networks per  area in the world. The island is characterized by vigorous and widespread geothermal outcrops and relatively frequent seismic episodes. Dominica boasts its three National Parks and World Heritage Site, Northern and Central Forest Reserves, its 365 rivers and streams, scenic and relatively challenging hiking trails (the level of difficulty varies), sulphur baths, bird watching, the Syndicate Parrot Reserve and much more.

The island enjoys a typical wet tropical climate with relatively high temperatures and abundant rainfall. Temperatures vary from 21-26⁰C during January to 22-30⁰C in June. At night there is very little variation in the  temperature. The temperature may not vary greatly from month to month, but the  precipitation does. Dominica has a rainy season from June to November, which is also called the Atlantic Hurricane Season. However, the rest of the year also sees rain but not as heavy. The average annual rainfall is about 5,000 millimetres. On the west coast (Leeward side) rainfall is much less abundant, only about 1,800 millimetres per year.

Two of the highest points in the Lesser Antilles Island Arc are found on the island of Dominica: Morne Diablotins which stands at 1,421 m and Morne Trois Pitons at 1,394 m.

The southern part of Dominica is characterized by recent volcanic activity, less than 100,000 years old. The main volcanic centres are: Morne Trois Pitons, Morne Micotrin, Grand Soufriere Hills, Morne Paradis, Morne Plat  Pays and Morne Patate. Two areas with high temperature and surface hydrothermal manifestations are recorded in the south part of the island, in connection with volcanic activity: the Wotten Waven area and the Soufriere area. They are considered potential geothermal resources.

Dominica is, in fact, the most active of all the Caribbean volcanic areas and the opinion that the island is long overdue for an eruption has been expressed by a few scientists. Sigurdsson and Carey (1980) concluded that about 30,000 years BP, a large Plinian eruption released about 58 km³ of pumiceous material / tephra in what was described as the largest eruption in the past 200,000 years in the Caribbean. The capital of Roseau and most of the island’s infrastructure lie on this pyroclastic flow fan and abound with ignimbrites, surge and airfall deposits derived from the Wotten Waven and Morne Trois Pitons caldera situated on the eastern outskirts of the capital. All conclusions indicate that the capital of Roseau is located in one of the most hazardous areas of the island.


2.1 Thermal manifestations in the Wotten Waven area
Wotten Waven is situated roughly 8 km east-northeast of the capital of Roseau. There are several surface manifestations such as hot springs, fumaroles, phreatic craters etc. present. These are mainly concentrated in two spots: The Wotten Waven village and the Boiling Lake – Valley of Desolation. The area is characterized by several bubbling pools and fumaroles of up to 99⁰C. The geothermal activity in Wotten Waven is situated in and adjacent to the River Blanc, a tributary of the Roseau River. Surface manifestations observed in and around the area have been classified into eight types: warm springs, hot springs, mineralized fluid hot springs, fumaroles, kaipohan, solfataras, fossil
alteration areas, and phreatic craters .

The geothermal activity associated with River Blanc is related to the fractured lava forming the Wotten Waven basement. Manifestations vary from steam vents, steaming ground and springs. Some springs discharge hot mineralized fluids while other springs discharge warm low-mineralized waters which give evidence to shallow aquifers heated by steam and gas. In the vicinity of the old Wotten Waven Lodge, and near the confluence  of River Blanc and Trois Pitons River, phreatic craters are anticipated.

TABLE 1: Types of surface manifestations recorded in the Wotten Waven geothermal field (adapted from Lasne and Traineau, 2005)

see orinal document for table – link below

Cold spring: Spring discharging fluids at ambient temperature and conductivity lower than 100 μS/cm, characterized or not by light red-coloured Fe-hydroxide  deposits, associated or not with diffuse degassing (H2S).

Warm spring: Spring discharging warm fluids at a temperature lower than 50-60°C and conductivity lower than 1,000 μS/cm, usually isolated, characterized by red coloured Fe-hydroxide deposits.

Hot spring: Spring discharging low-mineralized fluids (conductivity lower than 1,000 μS/cm) at a temperature higher than 60°C; isolated or observed within Solfatara areas along with other thermal manifestations; white-coloured deposits (silica, carbonates, zeolites), black-coloured deposits (Fesulphides), red-coloured Fe-hydroxide deposits.

Mineralized hot spring: Spring discharging fluids at a temperature higher than 60°C and conductivity higher than 2,000 μS/cm; isolated or observed within Solfatara areas along with other thermal manifestations; white coloured deposits (silica, carbonates, zeolites), black-coloured deposits (Fe-sulphides), red coloured Fe-hydroxides deposits.

Fumaroles Area: characterized by steam discharge, steaming ground; no or low water flow rate; no native sulphur deposit.

Kaipohan Area: characterized by cold degassing and dead vegetation (according to
Bogie et al., 1987).

Solfatara Area: with several thermal manifestations such as steam vents, fumaroles, steaming ground, mud pools, boiling pools, coloured water streams; springs may be observed or lacking; characterized by advanced argillic alteration with deposits of native sulphur, sulphate, Fe-sulphide, silica, clay material, carbonate.

Fossil alteration area: Area of extinct solfataras activity.

Phreatic crater: Vent resulting from a hydrothermal explosion; active or extinct; may be filled or not with a crater lake.

(The online document has a Map showing Location of the main hydrothermal manifestations in the lower section of the River Blanc, Roseau River and River Camelia (Sourced from CFG Services, 2005))

2.2 Structural geology
The principal sets of faults strike NE-SW, EW and N-S. Most of these structures dip vertically or at angles larger than 60⁰ (Lasne and Traineau, 2005). There is a correlation of the NESW and the NW-SE fracture sets with the main inferred faults mapped around the Wotten Waven area.

The E-W set may be considered a buried structure since it does not have any identified surface manifestations according to the geological map (BRGM, 1983).

The most permeable fracture directions are presumed to be the fracture sets trending NE-SW, NW-SE and N-S. BRGM (1984, 1985) proposed that the NE-SW fracture set is parallel to a major transverse fault trending NE-SW and crossing the island. It preferentially controls shallow geothermal fluid  circulation in the River Blanc valley. The NW-SE and N-S fracture sets are basically normal faults whose existence is corroborated by the alignment of the Morne Trois Pitons and Micotrin recent lava domes. This fracturing trend is observed in the vicinity of the Boiling Lake. Lasne and Traineau (2005) suggested that the geometry of the geothermal reservoir at depth is controlled by these NE-SW and NW-SE to N-S fracture networks, and secondarily by the E-W fractures (Figure 3).

(The online document has a Geological and structural sketch of Wotten Waven region showing the main volcanic structures (taken from BRGM, 1984)

One of the many characteristics of the Wotten Waven area is its active seismicity which contributes to fracturing, exemplified by the recent seismic episode recorded in 1998-99 (Young, 2005). This contention is supported by the presence of fractures in the most recent outcrop in the Wotten Waven area. The trends of the main fracture set striking NE-SW and the broad linear zone defined by the earthquake epicentres are seen to be similar.

2.3 Hydrothermal alteration
Hydrothermal alteration and deposition are widespread in the Wotten Waven area. Their products have been sampled in several places for X-Ray analysis. The mineral species identified are silica, zeolites, clays, carbonates, sulphates, Fe-sulphides, native sulphur and Fe-hydroxides.

Silica (cristobalite, quartz), native sulphur and sulphate (alunite) are the dominant mineral phases identified in the areas of high-temperature surface manifestations. Combined with pyrite and alunite, clay minerals such as smectites and kaolinite are also found precipitated in mud pools. They constitute an argillic type of alteration.

Deposits of white-coloured concretions from hot springs in the River Blanc are principally carbonates (calcite, dolomite) and silica (cristobalite, quartz). Veins sampled from massive lavas in the River Blanc comprise quartz, clays (smectites, kaolinite/chrysotile, and chlorite/clinochlore) and subordinate  zeolites (clinoptilolite), carbonates (calcite, siderite), sulphate (alunogen), and sulphide (pyrite).

The light-coloured coatings around warm springs are mainly amorphous carbonates (calcite, aragonite). The red-coloured vein deposits found around warm springs are predominantly goethite and hematite associated with silica (Traineau and Lasne, 2008).

2.4 Fluid geochemistry
2.4.1 General
Primary waters (Na-Cl type and Ca-Na-Cl type) and secondary waters (acid-sulphate type, Ca-Na-HCO₃ type and Na-HCO₃-SO₄ type) have been identified in the Wotten Waven area and the nearby Boiling Lake / Valley of Desolation area (BRGM, 1985; Lasne and Traineau, 2005).

High-temperature sodium chloride waters (TDS=1-5 g/l) are commonly representative of high enthalpy geothermal reservoirs.

The online document has: Geological and structural sketch of Wotten Waven region showing  the main volcanic structures (taken from BRGM, 1984)

The main features of the new fluid analyses, collected during the field survey, revealing the distinct origin of hot mineralized fluids discharged in the River Blanc and the  Valley of Desolation are:

• Sodium chloride waters, identified in four high-temperature springs located in River Blanc, are marked by the presence of seawater in various ratios (from 2.5 to 13% according to the Na and Cl contents). The other fundamental component of the fluid is highly diluted water very close to meteoric water. The high-temperature exchange between this mixed fluid and a hot reservoir rock is proven by its chemical and isotopic characteristics (oxygen-18 shift, strontium isotopes, and geothermometers). Equilibrium with an andesite-basalt reservoir rock is reached at about 210-230⁰C.

• Very close to these springs, acid sulphate and sodium-bicarbonate waters emerge and are indicative of the presence of an underground steam heated aquifer. Low-temperature sodium carbonate springs are located in Trafalgar and Laudat and also in the Camelia River (Ty Kwen Glo Cho) and probably indicate the northern and southern boundaries of the shallow HCO₃reservoir.

• Mineralized fluids discharged in the Valley of Desolation are slightly different. They contain no seawater and exhibit calcium-rich facies. Chemical geothermometers indicate a higher equilibrium temperature with the reservoir rocks, about 250-300⁰C.

As formerly proposed by Lasne and Traineau (2005), a field survey was carried out in 2008 to provide data on the geology of the Wotten Wave geothermal field.

• It emphasizes the link between the massive fractured lava formations belonging to the Wotten Waven basement and the discharge of mineralized, high-temperature fluids which could be related to a lateral outflow from a deep NaCl- type reservoir. The geothermal reservoir is thought to be developed within the fractured massive lava extruded during the old stages of the  island building (i.e. the Watt mountain volcano). The thick layer of ignimbrite deposits covering a wide area south of the Micotrin lava dome (geological map) probably acts as a caprock above the massive fractured lavas.

• The N50⁰ to N70⁰ strike direction of the main fracture set observed at Station N⁰72 is very similar to the dominant NE-SW strike direction of the fracture population recorded in Wotten Waven by Lasne and Traineau (2005). This strike direction is thought to be dominant at depth within the Wotten Waven basement. Unfortunately, the dense vegetation and soil thickness prevent the mapping of fault zones (possible priority targets for well drilling) on the surface outcrops.

• The survey in the high valley of River Blanc (Robinson Estate, Du Mas Estate) does not provide evidence of the proximity of an eruptive vent related to the so-called 1300 years old Du Mas Estate eruption which emitted the debris flow deposit observed in the River Blanc and the Roseau River Valley.

2.4.2 The 2008 field survey
The 2008 survey focused on Na-Cl rich fluids. During this survey, two medium-temperature springs discharging Na-Cl waters were sampled: one in the Trois Pitons River (St70) and the other in the  Roseau River (St72). They appear to be slightly more dilute than the Na-Cl waters sampled in the River Blanc in 2005. Based on the interpretation of their chemical and isotopic composition, additional information on the  Na-Cl rich fluid origin was obtained which supports the idea of the existence of a deep, high temperature reservoir. Sodium, chloride and bromide have a marine origin. Their composition is described by a mixing model between sea and rain water. Part of the mineralization is brought about by intense water rock interaction of this mixed water at depth. Lithium, boron, arsenic, germanium and silica contents reveal good evidence of this process. The oxygen-18 shift also indicates an exchange with rocks at high temperatures. The absence of tritium, reported by Lasne and Traineau (2005), and strontium isotopic ratios in the Na-Cl rich fluids, which indicate andesitic equilibrium values, suggests that the reservoir water transit time is long enough to ensure considerable water rock interaction in the reservoir and equilibrium at  reservoir conditions.

The results from chemical and isotope geothermometers applied to sodium chloride waters are prone to variations. Lower temperatures (170-200⁰C) are obtained using silica geothermometers and higher temperatures with Na/K and Na/K/Ca ratio geothermometers (210-250⁰C).

Considering the behaviour of some minor elements such as boron, the idea of a common origin for the Wotten Waven and the Valley of Desolation mineralized fluids is not ruled out. They might be derived from a common deep, high-temperature fluid. Late deposits and mixing with different portions of rain water and seawater might explain the observed discrepancies pointed out by Lasne and Traineau (2005) between the Na-Cl fluids discharged in the lower section of River Blanc and the Ca-Na-Cl fluids discharged in the Valley of Desolation, hence supporting the idea of distinct origins. One of the main differences is the absence of seawater in the fluids of the Valley of Desolation. The Ca-Na-Cl fluids of the Valley of Desolation appear to be less dilute and more representative of a deep Na-Cl parent fluid than the Wotten Waven fluid. Geothermometers indicate higher equilibrium temperatures (250-300⁰C), which is consistent with the hypothesis of a location closer to the deep reservoir (possible upflow zone?) (Traineau and Lasne, 2008).

2.5 Vulnerability and sensitivity of study area

2.5.1 Hydrological aspects of the study area
The Roseau River is one of the largest rivers on the island of Dominica and is fed by the Trois Pitons River, River Blanc and the Claire River. The Dominica Water Authority, DOWASCO, has four water production sites within or bordering the geothermal area; there are also two major Forestry water production sites in the vicinity .

Online document has a Map here Hydrological network of the Roseau Valley (CFG Services, 2009)

2.5.2 Ecology
Flora: Dominica has a very rich and diverse plant life. It is possible that every major group of plant life is represented. These include over one thousand species of flowering plants, such as orchids, palms, and other trees, shrubs, vines, bromeliads, sedges, grasses etc. The island also has almost two  hundred species of ferns, fungi, mosses etc. A few species are found only in Dominica.

The study area and its surroundings are rather sensitive and most definitely subject to changes with respect to the environmental conditions to which they are exposed. The geothermal study area is well inside the Morne Trois Piton National Park and the World Heritage Site and thus is of great concern.

The profile of the island, though small, has given rise to quite a variety of plants. The following eight  types of vegetation regimes are found in Dominica:
• Dry forest;
• Savannah-type vegetation;
• Semi-deciduous forest;
• Tropical rainforest;
• Mountain forest;
• Elfin woodland;
• Fumarole vegetation;
• Wetlands.

The general area and surroundings of the geothermal site include wetlands, secondary and primary forest, fumarole vegetation and abandoned agricultural areas.

Fauna: Roughly 176 species of birds have been recorded in Dominica. Fifty-nine of these live on the islands whilst a large percentage is migratory. The best known species are the two Amazona parrots, the Sisserou (Amazona imperialis), the island’s national bird, and the Jaco (Amazona arausiaca), found nowhere else in the world. Among other species of interest are the Blue-headed Hummingbird (Cyanophaia bicoler) which lives in Dominica and Martinique only, and the very rare Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasistata) locally known as the Diablotin, (once thought to be extinct in Dominica), the Red necked Parrot, which is endemic to Dominica only and the Plumbeous Warbler, endemic to  Guadeloupe and Dominica.

Few animals were actually observed in the study area, but most of Dominica’s major fauna is expected to be associated with the area of interest. There are: mammals (agouti, opossum and bats), reptiles (lizards, snakes and tortoise), amphibians (particularly the Leptodactylus fallax /Crapaud or Mountain  Chicken as it is locally called), fresh water fish, crustaceans, insects and other small vertebrates.

Flora and fauna analysis was carried out at three points of the general geothermal area only which limits the overview of distribution and composition. Neither the observed plant nor animal species are known to be unique to the area and can certainly be found in other habitats on the island.

2.5.3 Vulnerability to natural hazards

Dominica’s uniqueness also makes it vulnerable to several natural hazards.

Hurricanes: Dominica’s geographical location places it in a hurricane zone. Situated in the centre of the Lesser Antilles Island Arc, Dominica has almost always been affected during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. The systems mostly develop off the western coast of Africa and frequently move in a north-westward direction, very often affecting the island. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

The extent of storm damage from hurricanes is on the increase in the Caribbean. As significant wind events, hurricanes continue to have an impact on a greater number of buildings each year. In developing a high-wind hazard map, data derived from a wind hazard model were considered. The  entire area of interest falls within the relatively moderate to very high range on the wind hazard map.

Seismic activity and volcanic hazard: There are various indicators of active volcanism, for example:
• Seismic activity;
• Volcanic eruptions;
• Gas emissions;
• Ground deformation;
• Mass movement;
• Hot springs and geysers;
• Sulphur mounds.

The sulphur mounds at Soufriere, the pH of the nearby streams, the fumaroles and geysers of Wotten Waven, the volcanic mud and the general geothermal activity, and the frequent swarms of volcanic earthquakes in the north along with its sulphur springs all indicate that the island is underlain by an  active magma body.

The Wotten Waven/Micotrin centre comprises the Wotten Waven caldera, the twin Pelean domes and the associated craters of Micotrin. There is visible evidence of past eruptive history characterized by large explosive Plinian eruptions generating ignimbrites. The more recent activity has taken the form of Pelean dome-forming eruptions producing block and ash flows and smaller pumiceous pyroclastic flows. The Wotten Waven/Micotrin centre is one of the nine active volcanic centres on the island.

This area also suffers seismic activity which is of both volcanic and tectonic origin. Wotten Waven lies in a very high volcanic hazard zone but a relatively moderate seismic hazard zone.

Floods: Dominica has a very dense water network, and there is significant water density in the general area. However most of the island’s difficulty with flooding has been in the low-lying and coastal areas. Nonetheless, this does not imply that there are not small localities in the interior susceptible to floods. Generally, Wotten Waven is situated in a relatively low flood risk zone.

Landslides: Landslides are among the most common hazards in Dominica. The rugged terrain, steep slopes, volcanic and clay soils, thermal alteration, seismic activity, heavy rainfall, poor road construction and anthropogenic activities are some of the many factors which contribute to these. The general location of Wotten Waven lies within a moderate to very high risk area with regard to landslides.

2.6 Socio-cultural context and economic impact
A geothermal project will bring about significant changes to the Wotten Waven and surrounding communities. The influence of traffic congestion and disturbance, noise due to drilling and vehicular circulation, landscape issues including drill rigs and building construction, the evolution of the identity  of the Roseau Valley and the existing cultural and/ or historical heritage are a few of the issues that the neighbouring communities, and Dominicans in general, are going to have to come to terms with.

The main source of livelihood in the Wotten Waven area is tourism. The tourists who visit the sites will be disturbed by the noise, but even so the installation of geothermal plants will be an opportunity to generate technical tourism. De Roche 140 Report 11

A geothermal project will create employment for several locals. Regular maintenance of the activity of the power station will be required. In addition to supplying all Dominica’s electrical needs, the surplus electricity can be exported, hence generating additional revenue for the country.

3.1 General
In the event of geothermal development, there are several factors to be taken into consideration due to their potential impact on the environment, regardless of the fact that geothermal energy is a clean and sustainable source. Environmental effects vary considerably from one geothermal field and power plant to another, depending on the special characteristics of the field and power plant in question. In this respect the geology and the subsurface structure as well as the type of reservoir and the type of utilization play major roles. All possible changes must be appraised in an environmental assessment report prior to exploitation and an optimum solution devised. Environmental Impact Assessment  (EIA) has proven to be a powerful tool for environmental safeguarding in geothermal project planning.  In this respect it is of utmost importance to have knowledge of the natural behaviour of the area;  monitoring of the field is needed several years prior to development (Kristmannsdóttir and  Ármannsson, 2003; Ármannsson et al., 2000).

3.2 Impact on the environment
Geothermal utilization can present several environmental issues such as:
• Surface disturbances;
• Physical effects of fluid withdrawal;
• Noise;
• Thermal effects;
• Chemical pollution;
• Biological effects;
• Protection of natural features;
• Socio-economic effects.

3.3 Mitigation
3.3.1 Preliminary action and monitoring
A fair amount of information on environmental factors in geothermal areas should be available prior to  production. Surface manifestations may change significantly even though there is no production, as  has been observed in the Theistareykir area in Northern Iceland (Torfason, 1992; Ármannsson et al.  2000). A thorough monitoring programme has to be devised and supervised by an outside authority.

The objective of this is to be able to compare detailed information on the geothermal areas prior to and  after geothermal utilization. In order to accomplish this, the degree of compliance has to be constantly  monitored with respect to: applicable national regulations, requirements for the environmental  assessment process, environmental policy, and safety and social responsibility issues. The biology and  ecological status of the area must be established as well as the concentration of potentially hazardous  chemicals in the atmosphere and groundwater (Ármannsson and Kristmannsdóttir, 1993). Monitoring programmes must be activated. The aim is to be able to capture the changes induced and verify  whether they occurred naturally or from outside sources and to identify deviations to be corrected.

Every geothermal area, and thus every project, is unique. Legal and institutional considerations vary  from location to location. Each resource and each well drilled into a given resource varies in  characteristics. The fluids produced from geothermal wells require the use of different types of pipes  and other equipment materials. The physical location of each project affects the availability and  quality of goods and services. Figure 5 highlights the Roseau valley.

Monitoring the quality of the environment can be carried out through programmes which consist of  systematic observation, measurements and evaluation of the various parameters using appropriate  methods and technology. For example:
• Monitoring programmes for air and noise quality;
• Monitoring programmes for surface and ground water quality;
• Monitoring programmes for soil quality.

The information obtained from monitoring programmes and its interpretation can be collected in a  periodic monitoring report on environmental quality which should be presented to the national  regulatory bodies. This certainly contributes to tracking and monitoring, and allows for continuous

The online document contains a map: Location of urban areas in the Roseau Valley  (source CFG Services– Environmental Feasibility Study, 2009)

3.3.2 Mitigation
Surface disturbances: Surface disturbances may take place during exploration and drilling activities,  but are generally temporary and small scale (ponds are drained and the landscape is reshaped). Quite  frequently, this would take place as a result of typical exploration and drilling activities, such as  localized ground clearing, vehicular traffic, seismic testing, positioning of equipment, and drilling.

Most impacts during the resource exploration and drilling phase are associated with development  (improvements or construction) of access roads and flow testing of exploratory wells. Many of these  impacts can be reduced by implementing good industrial practices and the restoration of disturbed  areas once drilling activities have been completed. A drill-site usually extends over 2000-2500 m² and  when more than one well is drilled the total surface area can be significantly reduced through  directional drilling. Very often the source is utilized near the drill-site, hence the use of short  pipelines.

Landslides: Geothermal fields are often associated with volcanic rocks such as pumice, as in Dominica. The upper basements in geothermal fields are often thermally altered and this may increase  during utilization. Landslides are liable to take place in these areas and may place constraints on the  sites chosen for construction. There exist several examples of landslides that were directly connected  to the installation of geothermal plants (Goff and Goff, 1997); therefore, the landslide factor must be  carefully monitored.

Scenery: The scenery must be attended to since the research field is situated in an area of outstanding  beauty with endemic species, of both touristic importance and historical significance. However, one  of the positive effects of utilization is that it can serve as an added tourist attraction. Since geothermal  plants are not a very common sight and many people do not pay attention to science unless they are  immediately affected by it, one of the main attractions at the power plant could be in the form of an  active educational programme like those at the Nesjavellir and Hellisheidi power plants.

The plants in Iceland are very well designed and kept. The well heads are scattered, but are impressively housed not  only for protection, but also, so as not to cause an eye-sore. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most  popular attractions in Iceland. It is, however, certainly very difficult now to have a second “Blue  Lagoon” anywhere in the world, due to the emphasis placed on environmental protection. The silica  rich brine is basically waste fluid from the Svartsengi power plant.

Untidiness: Untidiness at the construction sites and boreholes can be very unpleasant. Therefore, this  feature should be incorporated in the monitoring programme and should be inspected regularly,  preferably by an outside agency.

3.3.3 Fluid withdrawal
Fluid withdrawal can significantly affect surface manifestations. This may cause hot springs and  geysers to disappear or to be transformed into fumaroles. In some cases it may lead to the relocation  of activity. Fluid withdrawal can also cause land subsidence, lowering of the groundwater table and  induced seismicity.

Subsidence: Land subsidence is known to occur as a consequence of fluid withdrawal from highenthalpy  reservoirs (Allis and Zhan, 1997; Allis, 2000; Eysteinsson, 2000; Glowaca et al., 2000; Lee  and Bacon, 2000). Subsidence takes place when fluid withdrawal exceeds the natural inflow into the  reservoir. This net outflow causes loose formations at the top of the withdrawal site to compact,  particularly in the case of clays and sediments. Key factors causing subsidence include:
• A pressure drop in the reservoir as a result of fluid withdrawal;
• The presence of a highly compressible geological rock formation above or in the upper part of a   shallow reservoir;
• The presence of highly permeable paths between the reservoir and the formation, and between  the reservoir and the ground surface.

If all these conditions are present, ground subsidence is likely to occur. In general, subsidence is  greater in liquid-dominated fields because of the geological characteristics typically associated with  each type of field. Generally, a large mass needs to be drawn from a liquid-dominated area for  production. These effects are local but can trigger the instability of pipelines, drains, and well casings.

They can also cause the formation of ponds and cracks in the ground and, if the site is close to a  populated area, can lead to the instability of buildings. There is evidence of subsidence from all  utilized areas but the magnitude varies considerably. The largest recorded subsidence is found in  Wairakei, New Zealand where the maximum subsidence is 15 m (400 mm/year); at Larderello, Italy,  subsidence (25 mm/year) is much less than that at Wairakei, but greater than that of Svartsengi,  Iceland where the total subsidence is less than 28 cm (10 mm/year) (Hunt, 2001; Allis, 2000,  Eysteinsson, 2000; Aust and Sustrac, 1992).

Lowering of groundwater table: Mixing of fluids between aquifers and an inflow of corrosive water  (seawater) may occur due to the lowering of the groundwater table. This may also cause the  disappearance of springs and fumaroles or changes in surface activity (Glover et al., 2000). In  addition, it can also lead to the formation or accelerated growth of a steam pillow and subsequent  boiling and degassing of the field. Such a development may induce major explosions (blow-outs), the  like of which has killed a number of people in the past (Hunt, 2001; Goff and Goff, 1997).

Seismicity: The natural seismicity may also be affected by fluid withdrawal as observed in Svartsengi  (Brandsdóttir et al., 2002). Likewise, reinjection may induce microseismicity (Hunt, 2001). Such  occurrences can mostly be avoided by a sensible choice of a reinjection site.

Fluid re-injection or, in cases where re-injection of the geothermal fluid is unsuitable, injection of  different fluids into geothermal systems can help reduce the pressure drop, subsidence and other  effects of fluid withdrawal (Björnsson and Steingrímsson, 1991). The effectiveness depends on where  the fluid is re-injected and on the permeability in the field. Commonly, re-injection is carried out at  some distance from the production well to avoid cooling of the production fluid but may not, however,  help prevent subsidence. Efficiency varies with the reinjection strategy used. The main factors which  determine how effective reinjection may turn out are: location, injection pressure and chemical  treatment. There must be a pressure connection between the production well and the reinjection well.

The injection wells must be located within the productive area in order to provide pressure support and  reservoir sweep. Separating and injecting the water at high pressure keeps temperatures high, provide  great support to reservoir pressures and also reduce the effects of silica deposition. There is a flip side,  however, resulting in the loss of some of the energy that could have been extracted if the water had  been flashed in a second stage to provide additional steam.

3.3.4 Noise
The primary sources of noise associated with exploration include earth-moving equipment (related to  road, well pad, and sump pit construction), vehicular traffic, seismic surveys, blasting, and drill rig  operations. Well drilling is estimated to produce noise levels ranging from about 90 dB; and the noise  from the discharge of boreholes may exceed the pain threshold of 120 dB with frequencies ranging  from 2 to 4000 Hz at the site boundary.

During the exploration phase, cost is kept to a minimum and adaptability may be needed in the choice  of a silencer. Once the plant has started operation there are several different silencer designs that can  be used to keep the environmental noise below the 65 dB limit applicable in or near to an inhabited  area. If the location is in an isolated remote area, the limit may be as high as 85 dB. Silencers, such as  brine silencers (Thórólfsson, 2010), have to be adapted to the prevailing conditions. Knowledge of the  existing environment, the chemistry and the behaviour of silica scaling is essential when designing the  power plant and its components.  Taking into consideration the sensitivity of the geothermal sites in Dominica, perhaps it would be best  to keep the noise to a minimum and carry out well testing outside of the tourist season.

Types of silencers: Silencer/separator; rock muffler; and concrete.

3.3.5 Thermal effects
Geothermal energy is a clean energy source compared to that of fossil-fuel combustion; thus, using it as a replacement for fossil-fuel energy is beneficial to the environment. However, geothermal energy has its down side which may incur some negative impacts on the local environment. The fluid brought to the surface from high-enthalpy geothermal reservoirs usually contains constituents which may significantly affect surface and groundwater if not disposed of properly. Metals, minerals, and gases
are leached into the geothermal steam or hot water as it passes through the rocks. The large amounts of chemicals released through steam when geothermal fields are tapped for commercial production can be hazardous or objectionable to locals. Excess heat emitted in the form of steam may affect cloud formation and change the weather locally, and waste water piped into streams, rivers, lakes or local ground waters may seriously affect the biology and ecological system (vegetation, wildlife, aquatic biota, special status species, and their habitats).

Over the last few decades many steps have been taken to reduce the environmental impacts of geothermal utilization. These include:
• Directional drilling which aims at reducing damage to scenery, undesirable visual effects and soil erosion;
• Injection of waste water and condensate into bedrock, which reduces chemical pollution of local surface and ground waters while helping to bolster reservoir pressure and prolong the resource’s productive existence. Technologies have also been developed to remove Hg, B and As from steam, thus reducing pollution by these elements;
• Multiple use of the resource is efficient and also contributes to the reduction of heat wastage. As demonstrated in the Lindal diagram (Líndal 1973), there are uses for the heat down to low temperatures. In warm countries like Dominica and the other Caribbean islands, the excess heat could be used for air-cooling by means of heat pumps.

3.3.6 Chemical pollution
In geothermal utilization, chemical pollution is due to the discharge of chemicals into the atmosphere via steam; the spent liquid may also contain dissolved chemicals of potential harm to the environment.

Spray, which constitutes a problem mainly during well testing, could damage vegetation.

Wastes produced by drilling include drilling fluid and mud, geothermal fluids (and remaining sludge in sump pits after evaporation), used oil and filters, spilt fuel, drill cuttings, spent and unused solvents, scrap metal, solid waste, and garbage. Wastes may also include hydraulic fluids, pipe dope, rig wash, drums and containers, paint and paint washes, sandblast media. Wastes associated with drilling fluids include oil derivatives (e.g. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs], spilled chemicals, suspended and dissolved solids, phenols, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and drilling mud additives, including potentially harmful contaminants such as chromate and barite). Adverse impacts can result if hazardous wastes are not properly handled and released to the environment.

The main pollutant chemicals in the liquid fraction are hydrogen sulphide (H₂S), arsenic (As), boron (B), mercury (Hg); other heavy metals such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn) and Report 11 145 De Roche manganese (Mn). Lithium (Li) and ammonia (NH₃), as well as aluminium (Al), may also occur in harmful concentrations. In cases where the geothermal fluids are brines, they may have direct negative impacts on the environment due to the very high salt content.

Disposal of this type of water is critical and the best and most effective method for avoiding water pollution, thus far, is through the reinjection of the spent fluid. If waste is released into rivers or lakes instead of being injected into the geothermal field, these pollutants could damage aquatic life and make the water unsafe for drinking or irrigation. As and Hg, in particular, may accumulate in sediments and organisms while boron, on the other hand, in very high concentrations is very harmful to plants.

3.3.7 Gaseous emissions
Geothermal fluids contain dissolved gases which are released into the atmosphere. The main polluting gases are carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S). Both are denser than air and may accumulate in pits, depressions and confined spaces. These gases are a recognized hazard for people working in geothermal stations or bore fields. Other contributing offenders are methane, mercury, radon, ammonia and boron. Carbon dioxide, which is usually the major constituent of the gas present in geothermal fields, and methane, usually a minor constituent, are both greenhouse gases contributing
to potential climate change. However, geothermal extraction releases far less greenhouse gas per unit of electricity generated than burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas to produce electricity.

Investigations from volcanic terrains strongly suggest that the development of geothermal fields makes no difference to the total CO₂ emanating from them (Bertani, 2001). It has also been pointed out that the CO₂ emitted from geothermal plants is not created by power generation but is CO₂ that would have been vented out gradually and naturally through the earth (Ármannsson et al., 2001).

Hydrogen sulphide probably causes the greatest concern due to its repulsive smell and toxicity (even at moderate concentrations). Although geothermal plants do not emit sulphur dioxide directly, it is alleged that once H₂S is released into the atmosphere, it eventually changes into sulphur dioxide and sulphuric acid. This is a matter of debate because little evidence has been found of such an effect within the vicinity of power plants and it has not been demonstrated that the H₂S is indeed oxidized to SO₂ to any degree. It has been shown, however, that a considerable portion of H₂S is washed out of
the steam and precipitated as elemental sulphur. It has been observed that the concentration of H₂S in borehole steam increases relatively more than the CO₂ concentration compared to their concentrations in naturally emitted steam as a result of geothermal utilization. Probably this is due to the higher reactivity of H₂S.

There are several surface manifestations in Wotten Waven. Some of these are used directly as sulphur pools for therapeutic baths. The area is known for the strong scent of H₂S, which is sometimes apparent in the city of Roseau. Villagers have also complained of heavy corrosion of their appliances.

It was also brought to my attention that some of the visitors who bathe in the hot sulphur pools have complained of dizziness while in the pools. This may be due to the emission of H₂S and CO₂ present in the steam and the length of time people are immersed in the pools and inhaling these gases. However, no research has been carried out to determine the actual cause.

Power generation of any kind presents some degree of risk to the environment and this holds true for geothermal energy as well. While this level of risk exists, it has been confirmed that with proper maintenance measures, monitoring programmes and waste disposal management, these negative impacts can be minimized.

There are several countries in the world that produce geothermal energy or have the capacity to do so. These countries range from: Italy, with over 100 years of electricity production; France, with space heating since the 14th century; The first large geothermal project in Iceland, the Reykjavik Heating System started over 80 years ago (1928); Costa Rica started in 1994; El Salvador in 1975; Hawaii in 1982; and Guadeloupe in 1984.

Presently, Dominica, in the Lesser Antilles, is in the exploratory phase of a geothermal project.

Successful operation of geothermal plants did not happen overnight in these countries. There were cases of poor management throughout the years of operation where strategies had to be redefined in order to continue production – for example in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Geothermal Resources Assessment Program was initiated in 1978. An experimental 3 MW power plant went online in 1982, but it was shut down after eight years of production (Boyd, 2002). This plant was actually built as a two year demonstration project. The plant was closed down permanently due to inadequate maintenance of the equipment and operation at a loss. Furthermore, the effluent abatement systems and brine systems were neither efficient nor acceptable to the
community and the regulatory agencies. The company did accomplish a lot despite being shut down. The facility demonstrated that reservoir fluids required special maintenance and handling, but also showed that this issue could be managed. It was after this experience that the Hawaiian regulatory agencies became aware of the issues regarding geothermal development that could affect the community. Due to emission releases, the extent of brine ponds beyond the plant boundaries and an unkempt appearance of the plant itself because of limited maintenance, this experimental HGP-A power plant, as it was called, was not well received at all. The people expressed their concerns over several issues including impacts on Hawaiian culture and religious values, potential geological hazards, public health and loss of native rainforest as well as a change in the rural nature of the area. This had a negative impact on future exploration. As a matter
of fact further exploration was opposed. The Puna Geothermal Venture plant was eventually established over a decade later. Residents have accepted the plant as a part of the power supply, but there are still lingering health and environmental concerns among residents near the plant. As a result, an investigation was carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency and a programme documenting residents’ health problems which they attributed to geothermal emissions.

When the Puna Geothermal Venture lost control of their wells during drilling and allowed the uncontrolled release of steam from their exploration well in June 1991, this only added insult to injury.

The drilling permits were suspended by the state regulatory agency not only for the Puna Geothermal Venture, but also for another geothermal company – The True Geothermal Energy Company which had already spent quite some years haggling with the regulatory bodies trying to develop the central rift area. This ultimately led to the abandonment of the True Geothermal Energy project.

The Puna Geothermal Venture was able to produce 35 MWe despite the delays and at a much higher cost than had been anticipated. The facility still faces technical challenges, but has been able to produce power with a minimum of “blowouts” to the community and likewise a minimum of public controversy. This facility is now producing 60 MWe, but there are no current plans to expand their production capacity.

There are also global environmental issues on the emission of greenhouse gases.

Geothermal energy plays a very important role in this area as it is renewable and it is an environmentally friendly source of energy. The emission of greenhouse gases has to be reduced.

Iceland is an ideal example of the effectiveness of geothermal utilization. In Iceland 83% of the greenhouse gas emission are CO₂. The use of fossil fuel accounts for 70% of these. In the year 2000, the total emission of CO₂ in Iceland was 3.3 million tonnes, of which 36% came from industry, 31% from transport (excluding international flights), 26% from the fishing fleet, 5% from high-temperature geothermal plants, 1% from homes and 1% from other sources. CO₂ emission has been reduced significantly in Iceland since 89% of the houses are now heated using geothermal energy for space heating, which gradually replaced fossil fuels in the 1930s with the largest increase during the 1970s following the first oil crisis. It is very important to understand that this emission from geothermal
fields is not a result of the production of greenhouse gases but rather a displacement of naturally occurring gas in high-temperature fields.

The use of geothermal energy has advanced over the years in many countries and Iceland is a good example. For centuries it was only used for bathing and washing.  Presently, this resource is used both for electricity generation and direct heat application. Space heating is the most widespread form of direct utilization of geothermal energy in Iceland covering 89% of all buildings in the country. Other areas of direct use include swimming pools, snow melting, industry, greenhouses and fish farming. Electricity generation with geothermal energy has rapidly increased throughout the past few years,
principally due to the increased demand from energy intensive industry.

Global warming and climate change are much discussed topics and many ethnic groups and organizations are having increasing concerns for the environment especially since it is an anthropogenic problem. It is, therefore, critical that greater emphasis be placed on the utilization of clean and sustainable energy sources such as geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is considered a relatively clean source of energy. All possible environmental impacts can, to a large extent, be foreseen and this paves the way to take measures to minimize their effects prior to utilization.

Knowing beforehand the contributing factors to possible environmental degradation due to geothermal production and recognizing the areas that are most sensitive and vulnerable enables stakeholders to establish an effective mitigating programme.

In Dominica, the site due for geothermal development is in a significantly delicate location where various species and their habitats, and the neighbouring rivers will be affected one way or another. Consequently, it is imperative that this geothermal field be carefully and continuously monitored and that the necessary means be taken and applied in order to minimize the gravity of the impacts on the environment. One of the first questions asked in such cases is “are we absolutely certain that this geothermal field in such a unique and delicate area is worth the risk?”

If yes, then proceed to ask:
• Was the surface exploration thoroughly carried out?
• In which areas will permission for entering be granted?
• If development of this area is not successful, can the area be recovered/restored to its natural self?
• How does the company dispose of the material cleared?
• Where will roads be built and will the location affect any wildlife trails?
• How big is the drilling plant?
• How does the company propose to approach the environmental aspect of the project?
• How does it propose to protect the unique wildlife and habitats?
• Will a camp be set up at the site?
• How will waste be discarded?
• How long will exploratory drilling last?
• What about waste fluid disposal during this phase?

There are two phases to consider: the exploration drilling phase and the production phase. Some things to consider during the exploration drilling phase are:

• The advantage of seismic sounding before drilling;
• The fluid should not come in contact with ground/surface water;
• The drilling fluid should not or have a minimal effect on the surface conditions of the area;
• Duration of testing (long or short period), as this will affect waste fluid disposal;
• Caution should be taken with any road construction so that animal trails are not crossed;
• Avoid the main areas of hunting and feeding grounds of indigenous species;
• Well testing should be carried out outside of the tourist season because of noise and possible spray;
• A separate environmental impact assessment should be considered during this phase;
• The advantage of drilling according to a “production” well programme as opposed to a slim well programme;
• The possibilities and advantages of drilling directional wells. During the production phase, the plan is basically permanent. Production drilling is carried out during the project planning phase of geothermal development. Attention is paid to the reservoir temperature and pressure, reservoir rock type and flow paths, fluid chemistry, hydrological reservoir parameters and well productivity (injectivity). These investigations are carried out with the objective of revising the conceptual model and the potential generating capacity in order to design and construct the plant.

At this point the most reliable and trusted form of environmental protection is reinjection of the fluids.

It is true that Iceland is a unique country in respect to its geothermal production capacity and utilization and this is due to its fortunate geographical location. Energy use in Iceland differs from that of other countries. The energy use is higher per capita and the ratio of sustainable energy sources is also high. Many countries do not enjoy the widely established and stable range of utilization found in Iceland.

For developing countries like Dominica, applications will not be as diverse. Nonetheless,
geothermal energy can be put to multiple uses in Dominica. The island lies in the tropics and does not have snow, but cooling is greatly needed. It can also be used for greenhouses, fish drying and for the production of commercial liquid carbon dioxide derived from the geothermal fluid, to name a few.

Great thanks go out to Dr. Ingvar B. Fridleifsson, Director of the UNU-GTP, Mr. Lúdvík S.
Georgsson, Deputy Director, Thórhildur Ísberg, Markús A.G. Wilde, Ingvar, Thráinn and Gylfi Páll  Hersir for their kindness and continuous support and attention during this period. I would also like to  extend my sincere gratitude to the ISOR administration and their personnel for their assistance and  vital contribution to my development here. I am very grateful to Halldór Ármannsson, my tutor, for his guidance, patience and advice on my report. I also want to express my sincere thanks to Sverrir Thórhallsson, Helgi Jensson, Geir Thórólfsson and everyone else who assisted me with this project.

I would like to acknowledge the Government of Dominica, through the Ministry of National Security, Immigration & Labour for authorizing my attendance at this six month geothermal training programme. Very special thanks go out to Hon. Charles Savarin, Mr. Lucien Blackmoore and Mr. Michael Fadelle for their support and encouragement.

Finally, to the 27 Fellows, it was a great journey and an amazing experience. I will forever treasure this moment. It was indeed a pleasure to meet all of you. May the grace of God be with you always! Finally, I must give praise and thanks to the Almighty God for blessing me with the opportunity to  come to this beautiful place to attend this training programme.

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De Roche 150 Report 11

Glover, R.B., Hunt, T.M., and Severne, C.M., 2000: Impacts of development on a natural thermal  feature and their mitigation – Ohaaki Pool, New Zealand. Geothermics, 29, 509-523.

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Lasne, H. and Traineau, H., 2005: Field report on geothermal exploration in Wotten Waven,  Dominica. CFG Services.

Lee, S., and Bacon, L., 2000: Operational history of the Ohaaki geothermal field, New Zealand.

Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2000, Kyushu-Tohoku, Japan, 5, 3211-3216.

Líndal, B., 1973: Industrial and other applications of geothermal energy, except poser production and  district heating. In: Armstead, H.C.H. (eds.) Geothermal energy. Paris, UNESCO, LC 7297, 135-  148.

Lindsay, J.M., Robertson, R.E.A., Shepherd, J.B., and Ali, S. (eds.), 2005: Volcanic hazard atlas of  the Lesser Antilles. Seismic Research Unit, University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.

Sigurdsson, H., and Carey, S.T., 1980: The Roseau ash: Deep-sea tephra deposits from a major  eruption on Dominica, Lesser Antilles Arc. J. Volcanol. & Geoth. Res., 7-1/2, 87-96.

Thórólfsson, G., 2010: Silencers for flashing geothermal brine, thirty years of experimenting.

Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 8 pp.

Torfason, H., 1992: The nature of high-temperature geothermal areas: observations at Theistareykir

1991. Orkustofnun, Reykjavík, report HeTo-92/02 (in Icelandic), 2 pp.

Traineau, H. and Lasne, E., 2008: Geological and geochemical survey of the Wotten Waven geothermal field, Dominica, West Indies. CFG Services, final report.

Young, S., 2005: Review of local seismicity and other observations relevant to characterizing the  geothermal resources in Dominica. GeoSY, Ltd., unpubl. report, 8 pp.

I received this by email and was asked to share. I copied and pasted the document and made it fit the page. Then after I posted it I found the link

We are putting chemicals originally developed as neuro toxins in the second world war on our food and therefore in our food, our rivers, our soil and our oceans. This affects those who apply the chemicals, and those who consume them as well as those who are nearby when the application is happening or afterwards.

The following information is a copy and paste from Medscape, I have highlighted a few sentences


Frances M Dyro, MD  Associate Professor of Neurology, New York Medical College; Neuromuscular Section, Department of Neurology, Westchester Medical Center

Organophosphates (OPs) are chemical substances originally produced by the reaction of alcohols and phosphoric acid. In the 1930s, organophosphates were used as insecticides, but the German military developed these substances as neurotoxins in World War II. They function as cholinesterase inhibitors, thereby affecting neuromuscular transmission.

Organophosphate insecticides, such as diazinon, chlorpyrifos, disulfoton, azinphos-methyl, and fonofos, have been used widely in agriculture and in household applications as pesticides. Over 25,000 brands of pesticides are available in the United States, and their use is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Diazinon was sold in the United States for 48 years with 14.7 million pounds sold annually. It was the most widely used ingredient in lawn and garden sprays in the United States. Diazinon was found under the brand names Real Kill, Ortho, and Spectracide. In the past decade, the EPA reached an agreement with the pesticide industry to end the production of diazinon by March 2001 for indoor use and June 2003 for lawn and garden use. Chlorpyrifos (Dursban) was involved in a negotiated phaseout in June 2000. These phaseouts resulted from recognition of the special risk that these substances posed for children. Four percent of patients presenting to poison control centers report pesticide exposure. Of those patients, 34% are children younger than 6 years.

Toxic nerve agents used by the military are often of the organophosphate group; an example is sarin, the nerve gas used in a terrorist action in Tokyo in 1995. In anticipation of military use of OP neurotoxins during the Gulf War, the US military was given prophylactic agents which some believe caused some of the symptoms of Gulf War syndrome.

With the emergence of the West Nile virus in the northeastern United States, programs of spraying have been implemented in large urban areas, in particular New York’s Central Park.

Controversy exists regarding the long-term effects of exposure to low levels of potentially neurotoxic substances.

Therapeutic uses of organophosphates

Several organophosphate agents are being tried therapeutically. Cholinesterase inhibition, which in large doses makes these agents effective pesticides, also may be useful in other doses for treating dementia. Metrifonate has been used to treat schistosomiasis and is undergoing trials for the treatment of primary degenerative dementia.

The organophosphates pyridostigmine and physostigmine are carbamate anticholinesterases that have been used for many years for the treatment of myasthenia gravis. Although the short-duration anticholinesterases are generally safe, reports of their abuse are associated with a picture similar to pesticide intoxication.

One of the author’s patients had been diagnosed erroneously as a myasthenic. Long-term “therapeutic” doses of physostigmine chemically altered her neuromuscular junctions to the point where she had to be slowly weaned from the drug.

Sung and others have reported on the ability of these substances to induce nicotinic receptor modulation. This explains the action of these drugs and may result in development of more effective agents.

Historic and new uses of organophosphates

The first organophosphate was synthesized in 1850. Physostigmine was used to treat glaucoma in the 1870s. By the 1930s, synthetic cholinesterase inhibitors were being used for skeletal muscle and autonomic disorders. Some organophosphates were tried in the treatment of parkinsonism.

In 1986, testing began for tacrine, the first cholinesterase inhibitor to be tried for Alzheimer disease; it was released for clinical use in 1993. It is no longer in use. The blood-brain barrier has been the limiting factor in developing a cholinesterase inhibitor for use in dementia. Drugs such as rivastigmine are now widely used. Reported adverse effects are nausea and vomiting, with resultant weight loss because of the increase in cholinergic activity. It has been shown to be useful in mild to moderately severe Alzheimer disease.

Pyridostigmine has been tried for the fatigue of postpolio syndrome but showed no benefit.

Dominica is a leading producer of Bay Oil; the West Indian Bay Oil is antiseptic and the scent is heavenly; we export the oil all over the world.

I have been using and promoting the use of bay oil as a cleaning agent for over 20 years.

I utilized this oil to make my own cleaning products for Eco Clean, an ecologically friendly cleaning company I owned and operated in Canada people raved about the scent.

Pimenta racemosa. Indigenous to northern South America and the Caribbean, this tropical bay is a sturdy, evergreen tree of the Myrtle family which has been cultivated for commercial purposes for 80-90 years in Dominica. Not to be confused with the bay leaf or laurel (laurus nobilis) native to the Mediterranean area.

To grab a handful of these leaves and steep a tea is truly heavenly and a gift from the earth ….. but that is a whole other post!

Bay oil is used in herbal healing preparations, perfumes and cosmetics of all kinds and also for making Bay Rum.

There are at least 3 kinds of Bay tree grown throughout Dominica but the distilleries I know use the most common bay and are concentrated in the Carib Territories and the south east of the island. As you tour the island you can often smell the distillery before you see it!

The oil is produced in several small distilleries, many of which are run as co-operatives, by distilling the steam from boiling leaves, a traditional process using fire that gives Dominican oil its distinctive dark colour and sweet, spicy, aroma. This oil can be used for many, many things and the agro processing waste is traditionally used as a soil enhancement.

Recently we have been producing a more highly refined bay oil extracted by steam distillation of  the leaves. This is a clear oil that is claimed to be more potent and is a natural product but I love the dark oil made traditionally and I hope efforts are made to keep this knowledge alive.

I clean with bay oil and wrote my first article about bay oil for the Times over 10 years ago. It is a great cleaning agent for almost all surfaces. It may stain a pourous surface so test it out before using if in doubt. It imparts a nice scent which is said to repel cockroaches and some other pests plus it kills bacteria without impinging on the environment.

I would hope other niche markets for tropical bay oil may also evolve as medicinal uses are further investigated.

It is, for instance, an important ingredient, in a herbal supplement promoted for aiding stress associated with the withdrawal symptoms people suffer when quitting smoking.

The bay tree itself is hardy and can even be grown on poor, rocky soils, we could take advantage of this and the fact that unlike some other plant extracts, it is not easy to produce an acceptable synthetic substitute, as bay oil is a particularly complex essential oil with over 20 components. We all know what happened to vanilla when they found a chemical copy.

This oil is easy to store and ship – as most essential oils do, it has a long shelf life. We could truly become the world source for organic bay oil!

Dominica Essential Oils and Spices Co-op right here in Dominica is the best place to get bay oil; you can buy the oil right there in small medium and large bottles. Once in a while they don’t have butafter over 15 years of purchasing there, that has hardly ever happened to me.

Buy Bay Oil add it to your mop water or cleaning water – just a few drops required and a few drops of any liquid soap (liquid soaps are very similar – dish soap and shampoo are not that different and they rarely contain phosphates) to distribute the oil evenly through the water; you will be amazed how easy it is to clean greenly.

Cleaning with Bay Oil means we keep the environment clean too!

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” ~Marion Wright Edelman

I am visualizing a world without such a strong reliance on plastic shopping bags. Slowly but surely an awareness of the environmental consequences of indiscriminate use of plastic bags is growing through out the world.

Dominica has not been using plastic bags like now for long. As little as 10 years ago if you went to the shop in my neighbourhood without your bag they sent you back home to get it! We went to market with baskets and cloth bags to carry our produce home.

Do we really need to receive a bag every time we go to shop? When calculated over a year it adds up rapidly; if we shop on an average of 3 times a week; get 2 plastic bags each time; that adds up to 302 bags a year! Multiply that times 30,000 (guessing that would be the number of active shoppers on island out of 70,000) – now that’s a lot of plastic.

We can recycle our plastic bags and that does happen a lot here. Clean intact plastic bags rarely go in the landfill they are often reused but still ….. imagine if there were none!

Europe’s biggest consumer of plastic bags, Italy, (they use more than 20 billion plastic bags annually) has banned plastic bags as of January 2011.

In 2007 San Francisco was the first city in the US to ban plastic bags and so far, that translates into 5 million fewer plastic bags every month. Long Beach California and  a host of other US cities  have followed suit.

As of January 2011 Malaysia starts the process of banning plastic bags by banning them one day a week.

Dominica has always had a certain eco slant within the traditional culture.

“For far too long humankind has set itself apart from the world it inhabits – attempting to control and subvert natural forces, using the earths resourses freely without replenishing them. ~ Bound to the Earth by James Swan Ph.D and Roberta Swan 


Dr. Don Huber, a senior soil scientist at Purdue University, believes the appearance and prevalence of a newly discovered organism that may have the potential to cause infertility and spontaneous abortion in farm animals  may be related to the nation’s over reliance on the weed killer known as Roundup and/or to something about the genetically engineered Roundup-Ready crops. In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the professor called on the federal government to immediately stop deregulation of roundup ready crops, particularly roundup ready alfalfa.

Below is the full text of the letter:

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn—suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup.  This organism appears NEW to science!

This is highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies. On the other hand, this new organism may already be responsible for significant harm (see below). My colleagues and I are therefore moving our investigation forward with speed and discretion, and seek assistance from the USDA and other entities to identify the pathogen’s source, prevalence, implications, and remedies.

We are informing the USDA of our findings at this early stage, specifically due to your pending decision regarding approval of RR alfalfa. Naturally, if either the RR gene or Roundup itself is a promoter or co-factor of this pathogen, then such approval could be a calamity. Based on the current evidence, the only reasonable action at this time would be to delay deregulation at least until sufficient data has exonerated the RR system, if it does.

For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.

A diverse set of researchers working on this problem have contributed various pieces of the puzzle, which together presents the following disturbing scenario:

Unique Physical Properties

This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.

Pathogen Location and Concentration

It is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, distillers meal, fermentation feed products, pig stomach contents, and pig and cattle placentas.

Linked with Outbreaks of Plant Disease

The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income—sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn. The pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines).

Implicated in Animal Reproductive Failure

Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.

The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%.

For example, 450 of 1,000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlege experienced spontaneous abortions. Over the same period, another 1,000 heifers from the same herd that were raised on hay had no abortions. High concentrations of the pathogen were confirmed on the wheatlege, which likely had been under weed management using glyphosate.


In summary, because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions, we request USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.

It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data.

I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years. We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.


COL (Ret.) Don M. Huber
Emeritus Professor, Purdue University
APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS)  

Interview with Dr. Huber

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