Denver Direct: OSHA Investigates Duck Lake Excavation

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

OSHA Investigates Duck Lake Excavation

The ongoing excavation of the sediment at the bottom of Duck Lake has reportedly been stopped by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) due to concerns for worker safety. The sediment may contain the pollutants and radionuclides from the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site that have been included in the “reclaimed” water coming from Denver sewers. Kiewit, one of the largest construction companies in North America, the contractor for this job, is being required to do soil analysis and testing before work can proceed.
Denver’s City Park Duck Lake as of Nov. 18, 2010

Apparently Denver and Aurora are unique among American cities in allowing Superfund Site effluvia to be pumped into their sewers (since 2000). When Metro Wastewater started recycling the sewer water in 2004 through a system of purple pipes (now appearing in Cheesman Park), it also used this water to fill Ferril and Duck Lakes in City Park, as well as Grasmere Lake in Washington Park. Although the sewer water is partially treated to reduce some contaminants, no special treatment is used to remove the potent pollutants coming from Lowry Landfill.
The recent “Duck Mortality” study suggested that chemicals in this water were stripping the oil off of the ducks’ feathers and causing them to sink and drown. Could the same chemicals cause health problems for the workers who were “down in the hole” without adequate protective gear?

Channel 31’s Heidi Hemmat wraps it all up in her report of Nov. 23, 2010.