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Page-Trowbridge Radioactive/Toxic Waste Landfill and The Water Supply

Buried Poison and Poisoned Wells

Schematic of a potential catastrophe
Schematic of a Potential Catastrophe
(click for larger view)
The figure to the right is a schematic illustrating the elements of a potential catastrophe.

The short story is this:

For well over two decades, the University of Arizona disposed of millions of pounds of radioactive and toxic waste by burying this waste at the Page-Trowbridge disposal site. 
    Large quantities of  radioactive and toxic waste was buried in unlined pits (holes in the earth). 

    Large quantities of liquid toxic waste was poured into the unlined pits.  Bottles of toxic waste were thrown into the pits then broken.

    Large quantities of the radioactive and toxic waste was buried in the flimsiest of containers (e.g. boxes and bags)

    Later the radioactive and toxic waste was packaged in 55 gallon steel drums prior to burial.  However, there is evidence indicating that the acid soaked ground from years of prior dumping, eroded the steel drums allowing the deadly content to soak into the earth.

    If the radioactive and toxic waste reaches the water table, it will disperse in a plume of contamination through the aquifer destroying the communities that rely on the water from that aquifer. 

Communities At Risk

The communities with wells  nearest the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/ toxic waste landfill are: 
  • SaddleBrooke, Arizona
  • SaddleBrooke Ranch (a planned development to be built directly adjacent to the toxic landfill (the landfill is identified as an "experimental ranch" in the developers plans for the community) 
  • Oracle, Arizona
Other communities are also under threat.  The aquifer that lays beneath the several million pounds of radioactive and toxic chemical waste buried at Page-Trowbridge flows south from the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill, underneath the wells at Catalina,  Vistoso and Oro Valley.  The aquifer then turns northwest, flowing under wells in north-west Tucson and Marana. 

(click for larger view)
The direction of flow of the water is shown in a map produced by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Water Resources Research Center1

(click for larger view)
The image to the right shows the relationship of the Page-Trowbridge radioactive and toxic chemical landfill to the flow of water through the aquifer. 

Annotation has been added to provide the reader with familiar landmarks.  The arrows indicating the flow of the aquifer from the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill have been shaded green for clarity. 

The black dots in the vicinity of the green arrows represent wells that will be poisoned should the should the radioactive/toxic waste interred at Page-Trowbridge infiltrate the aquifer.

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