EE 302 - Unit C - BLF339 Final Version

EE 302 - Unit C - BLF339 Final Version - Brian Fontenot...

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Brian Fontenot 16190 Telang October 8, 2007 EE 302 Project Unit C Engineers have great social and ethical responsibility in our society. The success rate and performance of every engineer in the United States impacts each individual, each citizen, and changes the way our lives are shaped. These so-called “engineers” also possess many traits to help improve our lifestyles and aid the advancement of our lives and careers. Without their guidance, judgment, and knowledge, our society could not have advanced as an incredible and rapidly growing society . The events in Buffalo Creek and the events in Gulf Coast with Hurricane Katrina are examples of engineers not living up to ethics and standards. Buffalo Creek’s tragedy begins with the lack of engineering guidance and provision. The Buffalo Creek tragedy caused over 118 people to die, 4,000 people to be left homeless, and over seven people to disappear in a matter of minutes. The cause—negligent strip mining and heavy rain that led to a raging flood. Being one of the deadliest floods in US history, how could this have been avoided? Buffalo Creek is seventeen miles long with many coal towns that were built to support the mines. Primarily European immigrants worked and lived in the mines until the population decreased in the 1960s causing people to be replaced by mechanized mining. Buffalo Creek has not been a visitor to disasters; during the 1950’s to 1970’s, there were explosions, disasters and fires at various chemical plants all on the Buffalo Creek. Buffalo Creek is divided into three branches. Being 1 | P a g e
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part of the strip mining operations, the Buffalo Mining Company dumped gob, which is mine waste consisting of multiple elements, such as mine dust, shale, clay, or low-quality coal, into the Middle Fork branch of Buffalo Creek in the 1960’s. Buffalo Mining constructed the first gob dam. About six years later, it added a second dam not far upstream. With more and more gob being dumped, it had to make a third dam almost six years later. The excess of waste had caused the Middle Fork branch of Buffalo Creek to turn into a black pool. In 1967, one of the dams broke and caused a minor flooding. State officials acted sharply by requesting minor alterations to the dam. In 1971, Dam No. 3 failed, but Dam No. 2 withstood the water. West Virginia finally acted by citing the city of Pittston for violations but failed to follow through with their request. Not only did the city of Pittston not follow the safe ordinance by the state, but also the city gained a reputation for bad safety practices, and only paid 275 dollars of the 1.3 million dollars levied in fines by the states for the over 5,000 safety violations it accumulated. Pittston gained prestige for being the largest independent coal producer in the country but ranked second in the number of accidents during the year 1972. During that February of 1972, rain fell continuously. Buffalo Mining officials
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This note was uploaded on 03/22/2008 for the course EE 302 taught by Professor Mccann during the Fall '06 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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EE 302 - Unit C - BLF339 Final Version - Brian Fontenot...

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