Wednesday, June 16, 2010

That Pesky Purple Pipe Water

Recent email activity led to the following exchange:

From CHC:
This was sent to me by a friend and fellow dog owner who works for metro wastewater:

The facts as I know them are as follows:
The water she is talking about is from a retired landfill on the east side of town that was contaminating ground water. The water was pumped out of the ground to minimize spread of the contamination. The water is pre-treated on site at the landfill, treated again at metro and then treated a third time by Denver Water to 1985 drinking water standards. The water has been certified by the Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment as meeting all requirements.
Response by GHT:
Yes, that is what they say. And here is the list of pollutants that are approved for daily flushing from Lowry Landfill into the public sewer line. Though a large number of highly toxic compounds are being flushed at many times the state and federal health and safety standards for groundwater, through a regulatory loophole these same pollutants and radionuclides are being deemed "acceptable" once they hit the sewer.  The real question is - is their "acceptable" acceptable to you?
Further response by AA:
1) The EPA's Record of Decision for Lowry Landfill issued in 1994 said the on-site treatment plant for Lowry Landfill was not capable of treating contaminants to acceptable levels, and required the polluters to upgrade the plant.

2) In 1996, lead polluters (led by Coors) engineered a runaround to the expense of that requirement, by secretly entering into settlement agreements that required Metro Wastewater to accept the contaminated groundwater as part of its own pollution liability.

3) Metro Wastewater issued a permit, against unanimous public opposition, to discharge a wide range of toxic and nuclear compounds from Lowry Landfill via the public sewer system. The permit includes "allowable" levels of plutonium and numerous other radionuclides and scores of highly toxic chemicals to be disharged to Metro Wastewater (and Aurora's sewage plant). The permit was submitted by me as an exhibit in my federal whistleblower case against Metro Wastewater, while I was a member of their own board of directors, appointed to represent sewage workers to the position by then-Mayor Wellington Webb, from 1996-1998. I won the case, then the incoming Bush administration cleansed the U.S. Department of Labor and installed a Coors-affiliated head, under whose new administration reversed their own judge. See a copy of the relevant pages from the Metro Wastewater-issued permit at under "Lowry Landfill."

4) The permit has been violated numerous times, records I reviewed showed, including high levels of radiation beyond their own "acceptable" limits set.

5) Metro Wastewater was not designed to treat toxic and radioactive waste, and has no systems for doing so.

6) Denver Water's recycling facility has no treatment systems for removal of toxic and radioactive wastes, other than those that might settle out in their flocculation process (with residuals then to be disposed offsite). Denver Water has produced no records that they even test for the range of contaminants in the Metro Wastewater permit, according to documents produced for a Colorado Open Records Act request that I did a couple of years ago.

7) City of Denver Environmental health Department records of lake water quality for City Park's lake confirm the water has not met the state's relatively low standards for lake quality standards since the "recycled water" from Metro Wastewater began in 2004 to be used as the water source for the lake, switching from its former source, City Ditch (an offshoot of the South Platte River).

8) The water does not meet drinking water standards. By regulation, it must be labelled as non-potable water, and the purple pipes carry a printed warning "DO NOT DRINK."

Your friend seems not to have all the facts, not surprisingly. Those who worked for Metro Wastewater who tried to stop this outrageous plan from being enacted were threatened and forced out, fired without cause or on pretextual grounds. Further evidence is available in Complainants' Exhibits in Anderson v. Metro Wastewater, which of course as the Complainant, I have possession of, and they are accessible as a public record in court files of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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