Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
An article in today’s Denver Post entitled “Large metro duck die-off blamed on chemicals” includes the following quote:
"No one expected it," said John Wegrzyn, a Fish and Wildlife biologist who worked on the study. "When we got the results back, we were like, 'Really?' ".
I guess Mr Wegrzyn hasn’t been reading this blog or the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s articles by Adrienne Anderson. In January, 2008, Anderson said:
What’s significant about this for drowning ducks, whose feathers are stripped of their natural oils? The fact that the Lowry Landfill, which is saturated with over 138 million gallons of liquid toxic and even radioactive wastes, is loaded with a huge volume of various toxic solvents, whose very purposes were to cut oils in various industrial applications. Coors, the company which dumped the largest volume of toxic solvents at Lowry, used the solvents to clean the company’s huge beer vats. Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) used the solvents to degrease machine parts in its missile manufacturing process. Rocky Flats used the solvents to clean the plutonium of impurities. The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News used the solvents to clean the inks from their printing presses. These same papers and associated media’s failure to report about this permit allows their own and other corporations’ poisons to be flushed back into the public domain without proper treatment. The continuing ducks deaths are just the tip of the iceberg and should serve an early warning system for broader public health considerations.
One particular compound, 1-4 dioxane, is a particularly troubling solvent contaminating not only Lowry Landfill, but points beyond the boundaries of the Superfund site near Aurora. In September 2005, the State of Colorado set a new surface and groundwater standard for 1,4-dioxane at 6.1 parts per billion. Yet in the permit now in effect, and revised before the onset of last winter’s duck deaths, the permit allows this same compound, a stabilizer for solvents, to be flushed at a level of 3,950 parts per billion for every 15 gallons per minute discharged every single day from Lowry to Metro Wastewater. This is nearly 650 times higher than the level set to protect human health, and with little if any apparent consideration for what the potent degreasers at such a volume might do to swimming ducks and their feathers’ protective coatings.
Oh well, I guess we should be thankful that the Post published anything, given their status as one of the EPA-identified polluters at the Lowry Landfill.
at 10:26 AM
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Has the Denver Police Department lost its mind? Zona’s, exactly at the intersection of the streets that define the Five Points neighborhood, is an institution not to be trifled with. I speak with some authority as I owned property and lived a mere 2 blocks away from Zona’s for 22 years.
And hauling away Zona Moore, aged 84, in an ambulance, for selling cigarettes from an open pack? When was this crazy law against poor people passed? Cigarettes have always been sold individually in every poor neighborhood I’ve ever lived in. And a three-day eviction notice? If they are shutting it down as a public nuisance, it may take longer. It took us three years to get one shut down at 26th and California.
This from the email stream:
Just a heads up that Zona’s was shut down by DPD District 6 today around 4pm. Lt. Cmdr Davis gave me a heads up that they’d been engaged in an undercover operation that culminated in today’s arrest of Zona and several of her staff. The arrests were based on purchases by undercover police of drugs, illegal individual cigarettes, and stolen audio equipment.
Lt. Cmndr Davis said the property was targeted as a nuisance and would not likely be reopening…she will continue to keep me informed.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT RALLY FOR MS. ZONA MOORE
PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT MS. ZONA, A DENVER FIVE POINTS ICON, AND OWNER OF ZONA'S!
MS. ZONA, AN 84 YEAR OLD MATRIARCH WAS ARRESTED ON THURSDAY, JULY 22 FOR ALLEGEDLY SELLING SINGLE CIGARETTES. SHE HAS ALSO BEEN GIVEN A THREE DAY NOTICE TO VACATE HER BUSINESS!
IS ARRESTING AND JAILING AN 84 YEAR OLD WOMAN JUSTICE?
WE AS A COMMUNITY MUST STAND AND SUPPORT ONE OF THE FEW BLACK REMAINING BUSINESSES IN FIVE POINTS!
COME OUT AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!
WHEN: THURSDAY, JULY 29, 1010
WHERE: 26TH AND WELTON STREET AT ZONA'S
FOR MORE INFO CONTACT ALVERTIS SIMMONS 303-521-7211
at 8:25 AM
Monday, July 26, 2010
Cherry Creek News writer Guerin Lee Green (kudos!) has laid out the details of the work Bennet did for Anshutz. Go here to read the whole article
Bennet made more than $11.4 million during the years after the Regal Cinema deals. In 2001, Regal Cinemas closed 30% of its theaters, shuttering 128 theaters. With 30-50 full or part-time employees at the average theater, these closures eliminated an estimated 4,000 – 6,400 jobs. So while in some quarters, including the editorial page of the Denver Post, this financial engineering was praiseworthy, the reality is it impacted thousands of families, and cost investors millions while crippling an otherwise productive company.
at 4:19 PM
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Three years ago when they excavated Grasmere Lake in Washington Park and put in a double-layered liner, they said it was because the lake had been leaking. What? Lakes leak. That's part of being a lake.
at 1:56 PM
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Congratulations to Rep. Wes McKinley for being selected by the Colorado Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural organization, to receive its 2010 Pinnacle Award. This is the highest award given recognizing one Republican and one Democrat from both the House and Senate for their support on legislation that was vital to the agriculture community, overall commitment to Colorado Agriculture, and their willingness to advocate on behalf of the Industry. Other recipients include Representative Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), Senator Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley), and Senator Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus)
McKinley is running his usual laid-back campaign way down there in the southeast corner of our spacious state (HD64). He's been out visiting the fairs, parades, and festivals, maybe playing a few tunes here or there. He has always been clear - he is there to represent the people. He generally doesn't give political speeches. He explains why here:
McKinley will be at a Press Conference on the Capitol steps with Dr. LeRoy Moore at 11:00 am., Wednesday, Aug. 4. Dr. Moore will reveal his findings from recent tests near Rocky Flats.
On Thursday, August 5, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, McKinley will attend a fundraiser at The Milwaukee Street Tavern, 2nd and Milwaukee St., free parking behind bldg. – cash bar – appetizers hosted by McKinley. If you haven't met Wes in person, this is the perfect occasion to do so.
at 2:48 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Last week, as part of discussions related to DPS' 2010/2011 budget, DPS Chief Operating Officer David Suppes sent the board of education a spreadsheet that details DPS' expected payments to the Colorado PERA system for the next 28 years. The spreadsheet was prepared by Brett Fuhrman, DPS' former Chief Financial Officer. (Brett left just recently to work at a school in
.) Fuhrman put the spreadsheet together for who knows what reason, but he provided it when Jeannie Kaplan and Andrea Merida asked for documentation of what DPS was paying to PERA. Boston
To say the least, the spreadsheet is illuminating. It shows the percent of payroll that DPS should be paying to the pension system, the actual anticipated payroll for the next 28 years, the deduction DPS is taking for servicing its pension related debt (more on this to come), and what DPS will actually pay through 2038, when its pension debt is paid off.
For example, in 2010, DPS should pay 17.45% of its payroll to PERA. DPS' payroll in 2010/2011 is anticipated to be $491,749,509. Therefore, DPS should be paying just under $43 million for the last six months of 2010. Instead? DPS has budgeted to pay $6.9 million in this time frame. At the same time, DPS' employees will pay $19.7 million into the pension.
Any sane person would ask, how can this be? The answer isn't simple. (Is it ever?)
The legislation governing the merger between DPS' retirement system and the
state retirement system allows DPS to take an 8.5% deduction based on loans taken to fund the pension. On these, DPS owes $750 million, 8.5% of which is $63.75 million. This is the amount DPS can deduct from its PERA contributions each year. Colorado
How this mess came to be is a long story that I will not go into here. However, the fact that this is DPS' planned contribution for 2010, a contribution rate that holds steady into 2015, has caused great concern on the PERA board of directors as well as with former members of the board of the DPS retirement system.
According to actuaries at PERA, DPS may never be able to fund its pension fully by 2040, as required by a bill passed in the
state senate last year. In fact, doing the math using the numbers in DPS' spreadsheet shows that, at its current rate of contribution and the $386 million funding shortfall as of December 2009, DPS will build a $1 billion liability by 2015. Colorado
That's right: $1,000,000,000. In just 5 years. And DPS will have to pay that back using taxpayer money.
at 7:34 AM
Monday, July 19, 2010
Last Monday at 4:00 am I was back in the PSL (Presbyterian-St. Lukes) emergency room with intense abdominal pain. The pain is hard to describe – grinding and insistent. It makes you writhe in agony. It was a repeat of my condition from 18 months earlier.
The doctors immediately went to work, hooking me up to an IV, taking my history, etc. Within a half hour they got to the pain relief, my choice of morphine or Dilaudid (synthetic morphine). I chose Dilaudid, and within seconds of injecting it into my IV tube – relief, ah, blessed relief. The abdominal agony gone.
Next was the CT scan. This requires that you be wheeled on a gurney through the incredible maze that is PSL to the lab. Once there, you get a scan in the big doughnut machine, pause for an injection of contrast dye, and then another pass into the doughnut. Then back to the ER to wait for the results.
While waiting, I couldn’t help notice that the ER booth I was in was dirty. The floor was tracked with gray splotches. The bathroom in the ER was also dirty. Discarded wrappers on the floor, which, near the toilet, was sticky with crud. Maybe it was the end of the shift and the cleaning crew hadn’t been through yet. I’ve been to the PSL ER on a number of occasions and never seen it dirty. I’ve always been pleased with my experiences at PSL, and I hope this was a rare exception.
My images were sent to a lab, probably in California I was told later, and the report comes back to the ER Doc. My report showed diverticulitis, an infection in the colon. And oh, by the way, some possible lesions on my liver. I was given prescriptions for 4 medicines, and approximately four hours later, I was on my way to the pharmacy – Walgreens at Race and Colfax.
Much to my surprise, one of the prescriptions, Levaquin, an antibiotic, was $352.00 for 10 pills, one per day. I was shocked. I asked the pharmacist, who was very helpful, if it was some kind of a new magic bullet. No, she said, and suggested that she could call the ER doctor and see if a substitution was available. Within minutes the answer, yes, Ciprofloxacin, another antibiotic, would do the trick. Cost - $10 for 20 pills, two per day. Why would the ER doctor prescribe a medicine that cost $35 per pill when one was available that cost 50 cents per pill? You be the judge.
I made an appointment for Thursday with my primary physician as I was instructed. The comment that lesions had been discovered on my liver began to sink in. Google, as usual, provided way too much info. Usually benign, sometimes malignant. If malignant, usually indicative of cancer at another location.
Of course I tried to remain calm. Would a biopsy be required? Further tests? Don’t jump to conclusions. Wait. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
Thursday finally rolled around. My doctor, having reviewed the scan and lab reports, said it was the VOMIT Syndrome. What? Yes, VOMIT – Victim of Medical Imaging Technology. There was nothing wrong with my liver, but the ability to see every dot and speck in my gut had led to the over-analysis of the scan by the technician. Happens a lot these days, he said, what with vastly improved imaging technology. Of course I was relieved, but couldn’t help but think of the thousands of days of unnecessary worry endured by those who, like me, waited in limbo between the technician’s reading and the physician’s analysis.
I’ve been on a high-fiber diet for years, and if I continue to have these attacks, will probably have to have a section of my colon removed. No big deal, I’m told. Done laparoscopically. Leaves three dots on your lower abdomen. A friend who had it done said it completely cured him of the attacks, and has had no problems since. Here's hoping.
at 11:10 AM
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I've previously mentioned the idea that "corporate personhood" underlies many of our current problems. From the Gulf oil eruption to our own local Purple Pipewater Pollution, the power of corporations over people is evident. How else can one explain the secret deal during the Web administration that allowed large corporations, Coors, Lockheed-Martin, Rockwell International, et.al. to avoid their liability for massive contamination at Lowry Landfill by dumping it on us - through our sewers and into our recycled water - ending up on our fields and in our lakes.
When I heard that two old guys were walking across the United States to raise awareness of the devastating effects of corporate personhood on our everyday lives, I couldn't resist attending their rally on the Capitol steps last Monday.
at 8:34 AM
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Below is an "official" response to one member's query regarding the Duck Pond duck deaths and the Purple Pipewater Pollution issue:
Subject: duck deaths at City Park
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2010 18:45:04 -0600
CC: Meghan.Hughes@denvergov.org; Alan.Polonsky@denvergov.org; Jill.McGranahan@denvergov.orgDear Ms. Ferris:I wanted to respond to your recent e-mail regarding the duck deaths at City Park. You had also contacted Jill McGranahan with Denver Parks and Recreation Department. Please consider this a response from Jill as well, as this e-mail incorporates information from Parks and Recreation. There are a number of important factors at play regarding the duck deaths at Duck Pond.As you know, there is a large population of cormorants and other waterfowl at Duck Pond, some of which have recently died. As in previous years, duck samples were taken to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, who confirmed that the ducks died from avian botulism. Unfortunately, there have been recurring instances of duck deaths due to avian botulism at Duck Pond for many years, including well before any recycled water was ever directed into the City Park lakes. Over the years, we have consulted with numerous experts for suggestions on how to eliminate the duck deaths due to avian botulism. The experts tell us that dormant spores of the avian botulism bacterium are widely distributed in many wetland sediments, including within healthy birds living in healthy environments. However, when a number of environmental conditions occur simultaneously, the spores germinate, botulism bacteria reproduce rapidly, and the bacteria produce the botulism toxin.Some of these environmental conditions include shallow warm water, presence of decaying matter on the lake bottom, and the presence of a protein source. These factors combine to create a lack of oxygen in the water column which is also necessary for the bacteria to reproduce. The presence of animal carcasses from prior botulism-infected birds provide the opportunity for fly larvae and other scavengers to concentrate the toxin. Diving and dabbling ducks as well as other diving birds, such as cormorants, may be more susceptible as they dive and feed from bottom sediments. While it is very hard to completely remove botulism from the lake sediment once it is established, modifications to the lake can help minimize opportunities and the severity of future outbreaks.We all want healthy and aesthetically pleasing lakes in our parks, including Duck Pond at City Park. Denver has been working to improve City Park lake quality and habitat over numerous years through a variety of drainage and lake improvements. I imagine you have noticed construction activities in the park over the last several years, as improvements to Ferrill Lake were made. This summer, Denver is working on a joint effort with the Denver Zoo to refurbish Duck Pond. As a part of this renovation, Duck Pond will be deepened, resulting in slightly cooler water which should improve oxygen levels. Excess sediments will be removed from the lake bottom, decreasing the amount of organic matter decomposing at the lake bottom, also improving oxygen levels in the lake. Aeration features will be incorporated, and water flow will be increased, again with the goal of improving oxygen content. We are hopeful that these improvements will provide a more favorable habitat for the animals that live in City Park. As you can imagine, the renovations are costly and it has taken years to assemble the funds to undertake these improvements, which were made possible through a combination of funding from the Denver Zoo, the City and County of Denver, and a recent significant grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. We continue to investigate additional constructed features that could be installed to improve water quality as well, which will be dependent in part upon appropriate design and securing needed funding.If you wish to learn more about avian botulism, here are a few resources:
- Brief summary: http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/avian_botulism/index.jsp
- More detail: http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publications/field_manual/chapter_38.pdfDenver uses recycled water as a water supply in a number of Denver’s lakes. The use of recycled water has many environmental benefits, especially in a semi-arid environment such as Denver where much of our potable water must be diverted and transported from other areas of Colorado. All of the recycled water has been treated twice before entering Denver’s lakes – once at the Denver Metro Wastewater Robert W. Hite Treatment Plant, and again at the Denver Water Recycle Plant.[Emphasis added]: That tiny portion of the flow that may have come from the Lowry Landfill went through an extensive treatment process at the landfill before being piped to the Denver Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant. After passing through Metro’s full wastewater treatment process, prior to discharge to the South Platte River, a portion is diverted to Denver Water’s Recycle Treatment Plant. The water then undergoes further treatment including additional settling, filtration, and disinfection. Recycled water treatment processes and uses have been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Water, and the City and County of Denver. You can get more information about the recycled water treatment processes at http://www.denverwater.org/WaterQuality/RecycledWater, about the Metro Wastewater District treatment processes at http://www.metrowastewater.com, and about the Lowry Landfill at http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/co/lowry/.I hope that this e-mail addresses your concerns. If you have any questions, please contact me directly.Celia VanDerLoop, DirectorEnvironmental Quality DivisionDenver Department of Environmental Health200 W. 14th, Suite 310Denver, CO firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2010
Thanks for forwarding this. I'm going to make a few comments and then forward it to our email stream (Purple Pipewater Pollution Prevention People - P5), and post it at www.DenverDirect.tv.
To fully understand this issue, we have to do a little homework. Go to www.westword.com and enter Eileen Welsome in their search box. You should find 3 articles, starting with "The Lowdown on Lowry". Welsome is an award-winning author and the articles are dense with facts. I've had to read them a number of times myself to comprehend the "fix" that was accomplished by the then secret deal. Keep in mind that these articles were written before the Purple Pipewater system was built. As I recall, the final piece, off-loading the toxins to our lakes and parks, was not done until 2004.
You may also want to familiarize yourself with two Colorado State Regulations: Regulation 31 and Regulation 84. Also see my discussion [of how they get away with not obeying Reg 31 on the use of recycled water by flushing it directly into the lake and then to the lawn for irrigation] here.
Thanks for joining in - if enough people are made aware maybe we can stop the pollution of our parks. Just think about it - shutting off one valve could remove 157 pollutants and 10 radionuclides from our recycled water.
From an earlier email by Adrienne Anderson:
For our collective education, I've found a very concise publication which discusses avian botulism and the conditions leading to outbreaks in a book Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases. The pertinent chapter is attached for your review. Within the chapter is a table which I've copied [above], and which shows the human activities which are thought to contribute to conditions which can spawn avian botulism outbreaks.
Rather than seeing this as "normal" as Ms. Vanderloop wishes to portray, it's significant to note that the City and County of Denver's own actions - including those conducted in secret deals over its Lowry Landfill - have resulted in creating all three conditions in City Park's lakes in recent years, to the demise of the ducks and other waterfowl and fish.
Given this, avian botulism should be considered a PREDICTABLE outcome of these policy actions, and ones that can and should be reversed.
This should be considered a "canary in the coal mine" alert, and one we ignore at our own peril in the community. Added to that are other impacts from decreased enjoyment of our public-owned assets, risks to property values, etc.
Do we want our parks and other public spaces to be breeding grounds for disease and death? Who controls our parks and recreation areas? Coors, or you?
at 6:22 PM
Friday, July 9, 2010
(Ed. Note: This is an important article on the Purple Pipewater - from the Washington Park Profile here.)
by Paul Kashmann
These are very difficult scales to balance. Exactly how many pollutants are acceptable in a park lake and how many does it take to foul the water? How many dead birds are acceptable, and how many constitute a needless tragedy?
These questions seem to be at the heart of an ongoing debate over why waterfowl continue to die off in disturbing numbers in City Park’s Duck Lake, what is the root cause of that die-off and what can be done to alleviate the situation. (Continue reading...)
at 6:13 PM
at 10:55 AM
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The $20,000 Duck Mortality Study has finally been released. Go here to read it for yourself (pdf). Further analysis to follow.
Thanks to Dr. James A. Dubovsky, Chief, Division of Migratory Bird Management, Mountain-Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for notifying us of its publication.
at 11:44 AM
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
(Editor's note: The following is a "comment" in response to the Proposed Consent Decrees regarding the State’s claim for natural resource damages resulting from releases of hazardous substances at the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site. It was written by Adrienne Anderson. Reading it makes me thankful, once again, that we have Ms. Anderson here in our community. Her encyclopedic knowledge and unflagging motivation are unique. Who else could we call on to do the heavy lifting in these convoluted matters, so far beyond the comprehension of most of us? Thank you, Adrienne, for all of your efforts.
For more on this topic go here and here.)
Please accept the attached document in comment to the proposed Lowry Landfill Settlement.
Please also provide a copy of these comments to the judge who is hearing the case in the U.S. District Court, and we request responses to these comments also be made and submitted to this organization and the judge prior to a request for final consideration and approval by the court.
A project of the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center
In Re: State of Colorado v. Molson Coors Brewing Company, Roche Colorado Corporation, Shattuck Chemical Company, ConocoPhillips Company, Gates Corporation, Alumet Partnership, Shell Oil Company, Hazen Research, Inc., Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, and Cities of Littleton, Englewood and Lakewood.
I. The proposed settlements are woefully inadequate to compensate the citizens of Colorado for the extensive natural resources damages and losses caused by decades of hazardous and nuclear waste disposal at Lowry Landfill in Arapahoe County. These losses include, but are not limited to, contamination of several billion gallons of groundwater underneath and beyond the site in various directions, and which have and will continue to cause damages in the future. Such damages since 2000 extend not only from the site’s Arapahoe County location, but points beyond where the contaminated groundwater is now being dispersed by Metro Wastewater (a party to this proposed settlement) and points beyond by another Lowry polluter, Denver Water.
The proposed settlements are neither fair and reasonable, nor consistent with CERCLA, and are not in the public interest.
A. Most egregious is the parties’ failure – over now a 30 year period - to have designed and constructed an on-site treatment system for the extensive contamination of the regional groundwater by not only numerous hazardous wastes, but plutonium and two dozen other radioactive wastes that they know to exist in, around and underneath the site at levels which greatly exceed state and federal standards.
1) While wastes of this nature are to be handled in accordance with the Mixed Waste rule, which requires joint EPA and DOE regulation and remedy for nuclear wastes in solution with hazardous wastes, the key parties after 1992 – along with the EPA and DOE - have collectively opted to simply deny their existence. By doing so, they have abandoned their mandates to the public and continue to ignore their responsibilities to protect the citizens of this state and its natural resources from the full extent of known contamination at the site. This constitutes an abuse of the public trust by the agents of the State of Colorado, now acting as Colorado’s Natural Resource Trustees, who have collectively failed to protect its citizens’ interests and the natural resources damaged as a result of the pollutants dumped at the site by the currently named “Generator Defendants” and a couple of hundred other EPA-named “potentially liable parties.”
2) The credibility of the settling parties to act in the public interest is therefore compromised. For several decades now, all parties to this proposed settlement have been well aware of but - beginning in early 1993 - have incredulously sought to deny and blunt public knowledge of the extensive contamination of the aquifer systems beneath the Lowry Landfill with plutonium and numerous other special nuclear wastes, in addition to an acknowledged array of toxic wastes. Though the State of Colorado is an agreement state for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it has done nothing of record, to date, to require remedy of the extensive radioactive waste contamination present at Lowry from the number of known NRC/AEC/DOE licensed contractors among the EPA-identified PRPs at the site (including numerous AEC/DOE /NRC contractors/licensees including Coors Porcelain, Shattuck, Rockwell International, the U.S. Air Force at the Lowry AFB, Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin), the USGS (operating the state’s only nuclear reactor at the Denver Federal Center, and which discharged nuclear wastes into the sewer system of Lakewood, a feeder entity to Metro Wastewater), and others. Several of these parties also acted as owners/operators of the network of weapons of mass destruction production sites in the Denver metropolitan region, including the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, Martin Marietta Titan Missile Plant, and Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where Sarin nerve agent and other chemical weapons were made.
3) The “Generator Defendants” in 1992 collectively demanded that EPA require the involvement of the Department of Energy for remediation of the special nuclear wastes at Lowry. Yet subsequent to an apparent confidential accord in early 1993 between EPA and DOE with Rockwell International and Dow Chemical, which operated Rocky Flats, all, including the settling parties to this agreement, began to deny the presence of these special nuclear wastes, and failed to implement the Mixed Waste Rule (i) procedures for its proper remedial action. The State of Colorado has initiated no action to challenge this on behalf if its citizens, though at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, it took a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme court seeking damages for losses at that site.
4) The evidence of this extensive mixed waste contamination was confirmed to be present in the groundwater and other media at the Lowry Landfill site through thousands of tests conducted by Harding Lawson and Associates under contract to the Lowry Coalition (the dozen top liable polluters at the site, including currently named “Generator Defendants.”) The results from these multi-million dollar studies included thousands of lab analyses conducted over the 4-year period from 1988 – 1992, pursuant to EPA order. The radionuclide analyses were performed for the Lowry Coalition and its environmental consulting firm using a DOE-certified laboratory, summarized in their letter and attachments of December, 1992 which were submitted to the EPA under the signature of their joint legal counsel, Shattuck’s attorney John R. Faught.(ii)
5) The “Generator Defendants” and other PRPs subsequently entered into secret settlement agreements in 1994 with the City and County of Denver and Waste Management, Inc. negotiated through then-city attorney Dan Muse under the Webb administration. These secret settlements, which even the Denver City Council were not privy to (iii), included “radioactive premiums” which would allow polluters to buy their way out of damages caused by the nuclear wastes at the site that the parties were concurrently denying existed to the public. In these confidential agreements, any costs associated with any future actions to remediate the radioactive component of the site would be passed on to Denver taxpayers.(iv)
6) The proposed settling party “State of Colorado” – acting through its Colorado Department of Health – has not only been well aware of nuclear waste disposal at Lowry, but aided and abetted the continuing disposal of nuclear wastes at Lowry Landfill (v). These radioactive wastes then mixed with the liquid hazardous wastes and municipal solid wastes that were dumped there after 1964, when a section of the former military disposal grounds at the Lowry Bombing Range was deeded to the City and County of Denver by the federal government for use as a sanitary landfill.
II. These settlement agreements fail to acknowledge, let alone address or compensate the citizens of Colorado for, the fact that the zones of damages to natural resources from Lowry toxic and hazardous pollutants have been greatly expanded to numerous points beyond the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site itself. This was accomplished in 2000 by Lowry PRP Metro Wastewater’s issuance of a discharge permit for Lowry Landfill, with a precedent-setting scheme to flush the nuclear and toxic wastes offsite through publicly-financed and owned infrastructures and onto selected publicly–owned grounds and water bodies for the next estimated 50 years. This controversial policy was enacted against extensive and unanimous public opposition from a wide range of Colorado’s citizenry (vi).
Since 2000, the Lowry contaminated groundwater has been flushed to points beyond the Superfund site’s boundaries, being co-mingled in sludge containing regional domestic and industrial sewage waste. The toxic goo is being trucked by the tons to other parts of the State of Colorado for use as “fertilizer” for
land-application on thousands of acres of publicly and privately owned agricultural lands in eastern Colorado.
The remaining liquid residual is being diverted after only partial treatment to selected public parks and lakes from Lowry PRP Metro Wastewater by Lowry PRP Denver Water, and all without conducting Environmental Impact Studies of any sort. Metro Wastewater’s facility was not designed to treat persistent toxic or nuclear wastes, and neither is Denver Water’s non-potable water facility. Neither entity has the comprehensive treatment systems needed to adequately treat mixed nuclear and toxic wastes. Plant employees at these public facilities are not even subject to OSHA oversight, given the present exemption of municipal/state/federal agency employees, so lack any type of occupational health oversight or protection at facilities that are not DOE or NRC-licensed.
A.) Generator Defendant Metro Wastewater, under confidential inducements/demands from other Lowry PRPs, issued Permit I-119 in 2000. It was by way of this permit that the discharge and daily dispersal through the public’s sewage infrastructure of numerous persistent carcinogenic toxic substances and radioactive compounds began. Soon after its start, the highly explosive contents blew manhole covers near the site into the air, and high levels of radiation were documented in samples collected in the Lowry discharge at Metro Wastewater, prompting a period of shutdown. Nonetheless, these highly radioactive and explosive constituents - in violation of the already high permitted levels - were simply flushed to points beyond for distribution.
B.) More recently, the flush has been done via subsequent revisions in the MWRD permit, which in many cases have upped the allowable discharge levels of numerous persistent and poisonous wastes, including a number of known or suspected carcinogens. None of these revisions have been subject to public notification or review, including the subsequent issuance of Lowry Superfund Site Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit No. 2360-3-1A, which among other pollutants, allows the discharge of isotopes of plutonium at levels double the state groundwater standard for the man-made nuclear bomb component, a potent carcinogen with a half-life of over 24,000 years, for re-distribution to numerous additional points throughout parts of the State of Colorado.
C.) The issuance of permits for discharge of Lowry’s dangerous contaminated water has widened the area of actual and potential future natural resource damages to the entire Denver and Aurora metropolitan area and points beyond in Colorado where these pollutants are being dispersed. Lowry pollutants now find their way to the dumping grounds where solid residuals from the secondary and tertiary filtration processes at Lowry PRP and Metro Wastewater’s sewage plant and Lowry PRP Denver Water’s non-potable water plant have been or continue to be taken. Such locales, include but not limited to, thousands of acres of agricultural lands in eastern Colorado, the Foothills plant in the Roxborough area of Douglas County owned by Lowry PRP Denver Water, and other disposal points.
D.) The remaining liquid wastes are dispersed via a constructed system of so-called “purple pipes” at great public expense by Denver Water ratepayers, and which since 2004 has been substituted as the liquid medium to fill lakes at Denver’s City Park and Washington Park. According to annual lake reports issued by the City of Denver, the water in these lakes no longer meets CDPHE standards for lake water quality for some parameters, which its environmental health personnel have attributed to the switch to the non-potable water from Metro Wastewater (vii) (a Lowry “generating defendant”). These parties in their proposed settlements have not further assessed the relative contribution of the Lowry Landfill contribution to this demise of natural resources for natural resource damages. Instead, the introduction of Lowry Landfill-laced sewage effluent makes an apparent ideal milieu for the increased incidence of avian botulism and other diseases to kill further ducks and other waterfowl and wildlife, and to the demise of the public’s enjoyment of our natural resources in these parks. These ongoing wildlife deaths have prompted numerous from the public since 2004. Recently, the City of Denver/Denver Water announced a plan to expand it use of this effluent on parks citywide, without an opportunity for public comment.
E.) There have been efforts to obfuscate and deny such damages by certain parties to the proposed agreements. Lowry PRP Metro Wastewater invested public money in seeking to squelch public knowledge of these facts while laying the groundwork for issuance of a permit to allow the flushing of plutonium, 1-4-dioxane and the rest of Lowry Landfill contaminants offsite in groundwater discharges. These facts were brought forth in Exhibits by the Complainant in Anderson v. Metro Wastewater, and which prompted a senior federal whistleblower judge to issue punitive damages against this agency - one of the top “Generator Defendants” in this proposed settlement - for its outrageous actions (viii).
F.) Well over a thousand ducks suffered death by drowning after alighting on Metro Wastewater and Denver Water’s non-potable water plant holding ponds in 2007. These ponds received daily levels of highly toxic chemicals and radioactive substances in the effluent from the Lowry Landfill discharge. Included in the mix are large volumes of potent and very stable oil cutting substances such as 1,4-dioxane which does not readily volatilize, especially in cold weather conditions, and is not neutralized by any process at the sewage plant, thereby subjecting the waterfowl to an environment that predictably strips the birds of their feathers’ natural protective oils that enables them to float. Metro Wastewater’s permit for Lowry allows release of 1,4-dioxane, as one example, at levels up to 3,950 ppb for every 15 gallons per minute discharged from the Superfund Site to Metro Wastewater. Such conditions of ducks’ death by drowning in a contaminated goo were observed and reported by wildlife rescue personnel.
G.) A $20,000 study of these ducks’ death promised in 2007 has not been released, to date, despite numerous requests from members of the public, and against the resistance of certain parties to these proposed agreements for the study’s public release (ix,x).
H.) Deaths of water fowl – principally ducks and cormorants - have become the norm each year in large numbers in some of the lakes now comprised of Lowry Landfill-laced, partially treated sewage-effluent waters. These lakes include Grasmere and Smith Lakes in Washington Park, and Ferril and Duck Lakes in City Park. Conditions created by use of this mix since 2004 are conducive to the proliferation of avian botulism, through a resulting environment devoid of plant-life with the presence of elevated copper metals and high nitrate levels which now characterize these liquid effluent waste water bodies. Once prime assets in the city’s parks and recreational system, once beautiful lakes the public once enjoyed have – without public consent – been turned into de facto tertiary treatment ponds within these two public parks, to date. The relative contribution of Lowry Landfill contaminants in an already risky sewage effluent medium for use as lake and irrigation water has not been assessed, as Lowry PRP City and County of Denver and Lowry PRP Denver Water do not test for the full range of contaminants in these “lakes,” despite requests from concerned members to do so.
III. In this context, the proposed settlements by the parties which include a plan to subsidize what will only be a limited number of domestic sewage line repairs for low-income homeowners is wholly inadequate, given these facts of record. Clearly, the most extensive natural resource damages from Lowry Landfill are being caused by the acts and non-actions of the proposed settling parties themselves, now allowing Lowry Landfill’s dangerous contents to be dispersed throughout additional parts of the state, and at public expense. Dying flora and fauna, thousands of dead birds, degradation of parks and water bodies in public parks and recreation areas and other suspected impacts to natural resources are apparent, but have not been properly assessed to date, given the conflicts of interest of the parties to these and prior deals related to Lowry Landfill.
A rightful settlement between these parties would be one which involves: 1) the immediate revocation of the discharge permit from Lowry Landfill to Metro Wastewater and offsite locales;
2) funding of independent party to conduct comprehensive assessment of natural resource damages to points which have received these contaminants – many of which are persistent and cannot be treated by processes in place at either the onsite treatment plant, Metro Wastewater or Denver Water’s non-potable water plant; and 3) a credible assessment of the actual and potential future natural resource damages attributable to dispersed Lowry Landfill contaminants for remedial action. Such an assessment must be made by an independent party with meaningful pubic involvement and oversight, given the history of denials and deception of the public by parties to this and prior agreements related to the toxic and radioactive Lowry Landfill Superfund site, and which have compromised the public trust.
(i) EPA Fact Sheet on Mixed Waste
(ii) Letter to EPA from John R. Faught, Attorney for Lowry Coalition (representing a dozen top Lowry Landfill PRPs and including “Generator Defendants” in this action, including Coors, Metro Wastewater, Shattuck, Gates, et.al.) to EPA, December 1992.
(iii) “Lowry Settlement Leaves Taxpayers in the Dark,” Denver Post Editorial, April 5, 1994
(iv) Confidential Lowry Landfill settlement agreements October 31, 1994, made public in newspaper article, “A Matter of Trust,” in the three-part series, “Dirty Secrets” by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Eileen Welsome, Westword, April 19, 2001, and subsequently presented and accepted by U.S. Department of Labor Senior Administrative Law Judge David W. DiNardi as a Complainant’s Exhibit in Anderson v. Metro Wastewater.
(v) Colorado Department of Health, February 18, 1977, letter from James L. Montgomery, CDH Occupational and Radiological Health Division, to William E. Smith, Department of Public Works, City and County of Denver, regarding recommendations for continuing nuclear waste disposal at Lowry Landfill
(vi) Confidential Lowry Landfill settlement agreements October 31, 1994, previously cited.
(vii) Lake Water Quality study, 2005, Environmental Health Division, City and County of Denver.
(viii) Ruling of U.S. Department of Labor Judge David W. DiNardi in Anderson v. Metro Wastewater and cited Complainants Exhibits, September 18, 2001.
(ix) “Citizenry Questions Waterfowl Fatalities,” Paul Kashmann, Washington Park Profile, July 2010.
(x) E-Mail Communications between Gerald Trumbule, Editor of DenverDirectTV, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009-10, as reported at www.denverdirect.tv.
Documents referenced in these objections will be posted to the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice’s CoWatch project website, online at www.rmpjc.org/co_watch.
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