2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 15 Sep 2003 14:17:48 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Lockheed may face tighter pollution limit
Lockheed may face tighter pollution limit
By Jennifer Beauprez
September 14, 2003

Colorado health officials may toughen the conditions of a permit
allowing Lockheed Martin to discharge a cancer-causing chemical in
Jefferson County.

Under a state permit that is up for renewal Sept. 30, the defense
contractor may discharge treated wastewater containing a hazardous
chemical called N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, at levels 1,000 times
higher than recommended for safe drinking water by the Environmental
Protection Agency.

At issue is whether Lockheed should be required to detect NDMA at
significantly smaller amounts than it does now. The decision could
affect nearby wildlife wetlands and ultimately the drinking water for
hundreds of thousands of Denver-area residents, a handful of
environmental activists argue.

"At the time the permit was put in place five years ago, there was the
practical problem of how low can you detect NDMA," said Howard Roitman,
director of environmental programs at the Colorado Department of Public
Health and Environment.

NDMA is a byproduct of rocket fuel and other industrial uses. It causes
liver and lung cancer in animals.

Lockheed's permit allows it to discharge 0.7 parts per billion of NDMA
in treated water. The EPA - which bows to state authority in setting
discharge- permit limits - recommends levels of 0.00069 parts per
billion for safe drinking water.

Lockheed Martin officials say the laboratory it uses cannot detect NDMA
at anything less than 0.7 parts per billion. The company says it doesn't
know how much NDMA it actually discharges, although it never has
exceeded its permitted parts-per-billion level, Lockheed and state
health officials say.

But as many as six water quality laboratories worldwide claim they can
test for NDMA at or below 0.002 parts per billion.

The state now will be reviewing those laboratory methods to determine
whether Lockheed Martin's processes should be held to a much higher

"If we find that there is a viable methodology out there, then they
would be required to use it," said Dave Akers, the state health
department's water quality protection manager.

Because Lockheed Martin has no violations on its permit, it's virtually
guaranteed that the company will get a new one, Akers said. But health
officials are reviewing discharge standards to ensure they are setting
safe conditions, he said.

A draft of a new permit should be issued by late October, followed by a
30-day public review process and a public hearing, if one is requested.

This article can be viewed at:

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