ADEQ mum on cover-up
By J.C. Huntington
Dateline: Phoenix Arizona, March 3, 2001
Posted to PoisonedWells Saturday, March 3, 2001

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is refusing to acknowledge resident's requests that they be kept informed of the status of an investigation into the concealment of a test confirming the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill is leaking. 

All requests by local citizens groups asking ADEQ to keep them informed of the status of the investigation have gone unanswered. In fact, ADEQ has so far refused to even acknowledge receipt of the requests or acknowledge that an investigation is actually underway.

The concealment of a test confirming the presence of toluene and other contaminants in groundwater beneath Page-Trowbridge was discovered Oct. 31 2000 by Oracle resident Cliff Russell as he analyzed a status report sent to ADEQ by the UA. The UA owns the landfill and periodically tests the groundwater under the landfill to determine if contaminants are leaking into the local water supply. 

Within days of his discovery, Russell informed ADEQ officials and requested a meeting to present the evidence he had found. 

Thirty days later, on Dec. 8, 2000, ADEQ finally agreed to a meeting and the evidence was presented to Henry Darwin, enforcement and rulemaking coordinator for ADEQ, and other ADEQ officials.  Darwin said ADEQ would look into the matter, but cautioned residents "shouldn't get their hopes up" that anything would come of it.

The day after presenting the evidence, Russell asked ADEQ to keep the Oracle Town Hall appraised of their efforts and findings.

So far, ADEQ has not acknowledged they received this request. 

Another organization of interested residents, The Southeast Regional Safe Water Committee, has met with similar results. The committee sent two letters asking ADEQ to keep them informed of the status of the investigation. 

The first request was sent Dec.15 of last year and the most recent request was made January 16 of this year. 

ADEQ has also refused to acknowledge receipt of these requests.

While it may be reasonable to expect that ADEQ would not divulge sensitive information, residents are left to wonder why ADEQ won't even respond to their requests by saying ADEQ can't say anything or by informing them ADEQ is not interested in the matter.

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