Stop the Sludge!

PACE Local 5-477
Adrienne Anderson
andersa@spot.colorado.edu


EPA APPROVES PLUTONIUM AS ADDITIVE FOR SEWAGE SLUDGE AS "FERTILIZER" IN COLORADO

February 16, 2000

While in Washington State, the sale of uranium fertilizer is blocked, according to an article by Duff Wilson in this week's Seattle Times, the EPA has approved a plan to legally release plutonium, uranium, cesium, strontium and other radionuclide-laced contaminated water from the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site southeast of Denver (which was used as a dump site by Rocky Flats, Martin Marietta, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, the US Air Force and over 200 other polluters for 16 years) for incorporation into domestic and industrial sewage sludge as "fertilizer" to spread on farmland here by the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District. This plan is about to go into effect at any time, says the EPA, and this "Plutonium Permit" was made effective August 1, 1999, with EPA's stamp of approval.

Despite evidence in hand from EPA's own files showing staggering levels of plutonium and 30 other radionuclides saturating the site from DOE-certified laboratory analyses conducted over a four year period, the EPA and the DOE are now denying there's any plutonium at the site and have engaged in tactics to defame and humiliate those of us who have obtained the documents and brought the shocking evidence forward in an effort to alert the public.

Workers at the plant represented by OCAW (now, PACE) have protested this outrageous plan, as they are not even covered by OSHA, and are united in their opposition by farmers, environmental groups, the Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado Public Interest Research Group and numerous other citizens' groups here and around the country concerned about environment and occupational health, food safety, and abuse of process by our government against its own citizens.

Furthermore, Metro Wastewater is already hawking Superfund Site-laced sewage sludge, marketed as "MetroGro" for commercial sale for $3 an acre (not including tax) and free delivery by truck within 25 miles of the sewage plant to home gardeners and others wishing to reclaim "disturbed land." If you live more than 25 miles from the sewage plant, you have to pay an addition $1 for each additional 5 miles the trucks have to go to spread the stuff at you location. The bulk of it is currently being trucked to a 50,000 acre farm they bought with public funds in eastern Colorado, near the town of Deer Trail, where wheat is grown and sold for commercial distribution throughout the food chain without labeling of any kind as to its source.

We believe we have the only case in the United States where a sewage treatment authority has approved a permit for the release of plutonium, depleted uranium and other nuclear wastes to public sewer lines -- using the increasingly controversial Section 503 Clean Water Act loophole -- to become incorporated into sewage sludge as "fertilizer" for redistribution to unsuspecting farmers and home gardeners.

Our investigation of this case over the last 4 years concludes that this is a staggering state and federal cover-up of an illegal plutonium and other nuclear waste dumpsite that federal officials -- including DOE and EPA and the Department of Justice -- wish to ignore.

Please immediately urge DOE's Bill Richardson and EPA's Carol Browner to rescind this outrageous plan, since the cat's out of the bag. Also, urge your Congressional Representatives to look into this outrageous case, and most especially if they sit on the House Science Committee, Energy & Commerce Committee or Senate Environment Committee. Further, they could ask that this case be featured in congressional hearings and urge that the EPA's National Hazardous Waste Ombudsman, Robert J. Martin and his Chief Investigator, Hugh Kaufman, fully investigate EPA's actions in this case.

The USEPA Ombudsman from Washington, D.C. is already spending a great deal of time in Denver investigating EPA abuses of the public trust in other cases. In the last six months, EPA's actions have been the focus of EPA Ombudsman hearings on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Shattuck Superfund Sites. On January 29th here,

The Ombudsman held a hearing in Denver where questions of EPA corruption were raised in testimony - with supporting documents from EPA's own files - on this case, as well as other cases in USEPA Region VIII.

If the EPA and DOE succeed in doing this here, expect it to happen around other mixed radioactive and hazardous nukewaste sites in America, where DOE and EPA may be looking for other places to stash still-hidden secrets from their weapons production and nefarious waste disposal activities, putting our communities and our health and safety at risk.

For further information on EPA's outrageous "plutonium-to-your-plate" plan, see the Christian Science Monitor's "A Trooper, a Dump, and a Tale of Doubt" at http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1998/06/10/p1s5.htm
And search the Internet using keywords and search terms:

+"Lowry Landfill" +plutonium

Adrienne Anderson
Former Member, Board of Directors
Metro Wastewater Reclamation District (1996-98)

and

Instructor, Environmental Studies Program
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, Colorado 80309-0339
Phone: (303) 492-2952 (message)
Fax: (303) 329-0217