by J.C. Huntington
Dateline: Phoenix Arizona, Friday, December 8, 2000
Posted to PoisonedWells, Monday, December 11, 2000
Updated Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Withholding the test results allows the UA to claim that it cannot be confirmed that Page-Trowbridge is leaking contaminants to groundwater.
ADEQ finally agreed to the meeting 30 days after Cliff Russell, representing the Oracle Town Hall, requested that citizens be allowed to present evidence of wrongdoing in the monitoring the groundwater beneath the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill for contamination.
Russell showed ADEQ the chain of custody form proving Turner labs had sufficient water to run two tests from samples taken April 26 and told ADEQ that this form contradicts the UA story that the lab could not run two tests because the lab did not have a duplicate sample.
Turner labs is hired by the UA to analyze water samples collected by the UA at Page-Trowbridge.
The chain of custody form documents the transfer of possession of the water samples and is kept for legal purposes.
Russell said that withholding a test result confirming that Page-Trowbridge is leaking to groundwater is a violation of law.
Henry Darwin, ADEQ enforcement and rulemaking co-ordinator, responded by saying that "nothing screams that the UA broke the law" and conjectured that the UA story could be true if some sort of "error in the chain of custody" process had occurred.
Russell showed ADEQ two test results from the lab and pointed out that these test results contradict the UA story that only one test was run.
Russell then told ADEQ that since there were two tests confirming contaminants in water from the Page-Trowbridge aquifer, the UA had no reason to make an unscheduled trip to the landfill on May 17 to obtain water for another test.
Darwin responded by saying that it is normal to do a second confirmation test.
It was pointed out that if a second confirmation test was part of the normal course of events, there would be no need for the UA to concoct a story, contradicted the facts, as to why the unscheduled May 17 sampling event was required.
Darwin then said that if the UA withheld the test, it would probably be a criminal matter beyond the scope of ADEQ's authority, and referred the citizens to the office of Arizona Attorney General.
Asked what the next steps ADEQ would take to get to the truth of the matter, Darwin informed the citizens that ADEQ would look into the situation but cautioned the volunteers "shouldn't get their hopes up."
The Oracle Town Hall has requested that ADEQ provide a report outlining their efforts and findings from the investigation.
The UA Story
Steve Holland, UA director of risk management, has told the press that contaminants found in water samples taken April 26 from from Monitoring Well #5 at Page-Trowbridge could not be validated because there was no second test to verify the finding.
Holland claims the reason there was no second test was because Turner Laboratories did not have a duplicate sample of water required to do a second test, because the duplicate sample was in a refrigerator at the offices of the UA risk management department.
Holland claims that Turner labs failed to inform the UA when contaminants were detected in the original sample in time for the UA to get the duplicate sample to the lab for testing. The UA claims that the lab notified the UA that contaminants were found after the holding period for the duplicate had expired, making the duplicate unusable for testing.
According to Holland, another test was required because there was only a single test from the April 26 sampling, and because the duplicate was too old to be tested,.
To obtain water for a second test, UA risk management personnel made an unscheduled trip to Page-Trowbridge and claim to have sampled water from Monitoring Well #5 on May 17.
While the April 26 sampling was done by the UA crew that regularly takes samples, the May 17 sampling event was lead by Holland. According to the record, the only UA employee present at both the April 26 and May 17 sampling events was Lloyd Wundrock, UA environmental safety officer.
Because tests on the May 17 samples, which the UA claims was taken from Monitoring Well #5 showed no contamination, Holland maintains that the finding of contaminants in the samples of April 26 is the result of a lab error or some unexplainable event.
Holland claims that since the contamination discovered in the April 26 tests is "unexplainable" it cannot be confirmed that the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill is leaking into the water supply.
Herb Wagner, assistant director or risk management and safety, vouches for Holland's story as does Lloyd Wundrock.
Russell presented the Chain of Custody form showing that the laboratory had the duplicate sample from the April 26 tests, contradicting the UA claim that the duplicate was in a refrigerator at the offices of the UA risk management department. The chain of custody form was in the report supplied to ADEQ by the UA and ADEQ is on record as saying that they reviewed this form.
Russell also presented documentation showing that two tests were performed on the samples taken April 26. These results contradict the UA claim that there was no second test. While two tests were run, the report submitted to ADEQ by the UA contains only one test result.
Both tests detected toluene and other contaminants. The two tests, run on different days using water from Monitoring Well #5 confirm that contaminants were detected in ground water beneath the Page-Trowbridge landfill.
Russell obtained the test results from a Turner Labs technician on Oct. 31. The next day, Turner Labs refused to release the reports to the Arizona Daily Star, telling a reporter to request the tests through the UA.
Two weeks later, on Nov. 14, Turner Labs threatened to prosecute Russell "to the fullest extent of the law" unless he returned the test documents to the lab immediately and quit disseminating them to the press and interested citizens. Turner Labs claims that Russell obtained the tests by fraudulently identifying himself as a representative of Page Ranch or possibly the university.
Russell characterized Turner's allegations as "absolutely false and ridiculous" and has refused to return the test results.
The images below are scans of the test results for samples taken from Monitoring Well # 5 at the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste dump confirming that Page-Trowbridge is leaking to the aquifer supplying drinking water to Oracle, SaddleBrooke and several other communities.
These tests contradict the UA story that the finding of toluene cannot be confirmed because only a single test was run on the April 26 samples.
Copies of these tests were
given to ADEQ Dec. 8, 2000.
The following images show the Chain of Custody form showing that the UA turned over all duplicates from the April 26 sampling event.
This form contradicts the UA story that Turner Laboratories did not have the duplicate sample from the April 26 sampling event.
A copy of the chain of custody form was given to ADEQ Dec. 8, 2000.
The Chain of Custody Form
Annotated Printable Form
The following image is a copy of an article from the Arizona Daily Star dated Nov.2, 2000.
Holland told the reporter that the detection of toluene could not be verified because there was only one test from the April 26 sample.
A copy of this article was given to ADEQ Dec. 8, 2000, with Hollands comments outlined.
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