Environment News Service

AmeriScan: March 2, 1999

RADIOACTIVE GROUNDWATER COULD PERMEATE COLORADO

Documents reviewed over the last two years in a citizens' investigation show that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a plan to pipe radioactive and hazardous waste-contaminated groundwater from the Lowry Landfill Superfund site through the public sewer system in Aurora and Denver, Colorado. At the Metro Wastewater sewage treatment plant, the wastes would be mixed with domestic and industrial sewage sludge. Some of that wastewater would be used as irrigation water on Denver and Aurora area parks, golf courses and other public recreation areas, while the rest would be discharged to Sand Creek and the South Platte River, upstream of many communities' drinking water supplies. The largest volume of the sludge would be trucked to eastern Colorado for application on farmland at Deer Trail in Arapahoe and Elbert Counties, purchased with public funds, growing crops for sale throughout the nation. Other parts of the sludge would be trucked to other privately-owned farms under lease for this purpose in other rural Colorado counties. The EPA has said that the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site wastewater could be piped into the Denver/Aurora sewer system as early as summer 1999. The Stop the Sludge Campaign, uniting farmers, sewage plant workers, environmentalists, students and others concerned about food safety and community protection from radio-toxic poisons, is pursuing all avenues of administrative and legal recourse to stop this plan.

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