The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Friday, August 18, 2000
Paducah, Kentucky

Justice to dig in search for DOE contamination
The Paducah site is being investigated to see if past operators falsified reports and concealed material.

By Bill Bartleman
The U.S. Department of Justice will resume digging for evidence of concealed contamination at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

Bill Campbell, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Louisville, said workers will begin digging Monday in the area of the North-South Diversion Ditch. It is the suspected source of a groundwater plume with major contamination that empties into the Ohio River.

The digging will be near two closed landfills, Campbell said. The ditch was once used to carry wastewater from a building where equipment cleaning and other recycling work was done.

The digging is part of an investigation to determine if past operators of the plant falsified reports on contamination to earn millions of dollars in extra operating fees that the U.S. Department of Energy awarded for meeting certain environmental standards.

Several current and former employees sued Martin Marietta and its subsidiaries that operated the plant under contract with the DOE, seeking a multimillion-dollar judgment.

The Justice Department is investigating the allegations to determine whether the federal government should join as a plaintiff in the suit.

Justice officials presided over a digging operation in a closed landfill near the plant. The digging stopped when little or no evidence was found that undocumented material was buried there.

Campbell said investigators have made weekly visits to the plant to review records and documents related to contamination at the plant. The government has until November to decide whether to join the suit.