2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Sep 2003 14:15:18 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
The following was posted by Adrienne Anderson <Andersa@colorado.edu>
Please post this editorial from today's Denver Post to the CPEO list,
along with my correction and comment that state and bfederal officials,
including EPA, CDC's ATSDR, USAF and  CDPHE have known since at least
1986 that the groundwater at Lockheed Martin's Littleton, Colorado site
is extensively contaminated with NDMA and hydrazine, among other potent
carcinogens found to be present at huge volumes.  EPA's 1990 Record of
Decision for this site (formerly known as the Martin Marietta Aerospace)
shows that the groundwater at the site - directly neighboring the
downhill and downgradient Chatfield Reservoir to contain NDMA at levels
up to 100 ppb, or nearly 100,000 times higher than that considered safe
by EPA.

Adrienne Anderson
University of Colorado at Boulder
Environmental Studies Program
CB 339
Boulder, Colorado 80309-0339
How safe is Chatfield's water?
Sunday, September 20, 2003

Chatfield Reservoir - one of Colorado's most-visited state parks - also
supplies drinking water to Englewood, Highlands Ranch and sometimes
Denver. In turn, Denver provides water to several suburbs, so the
quality of its water is a metro-wide issue.

But questions have arisen about whether a chemical once used to build
rockets - at what today is Lockheed-Martin's plant in south Jefferson
County - ever leaked into groundwater near Chatfield. If so, municipal
water systems that use the reservoir must upgrade their testing and
treatment systems. To decide if a problem exists, the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment should require better tests
for the chemical.

At issue is N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. It is of special concern
because it's toxic in surprisingly small amounts. Many substances become
a problem in relatively large doses - measured in parts per million -
over long periods of time. Even if such common chemicals get into
Chatfield, the volume of water in the lake usually would dilute them to
safe levels.

But in animal studies, NDMA caused liver damage and other problems -
possibly including cancer - in concentrations of just parts per billion.
Moreover, the harm occurred in a short time. The studies suggest small
amounts of NDMA may be a worry even in a lake of Chatfield's size.

It's thus disquieting that there are questions if NDMA ever got into
groundwater near Chatfield, from where it might have leaked into the

But NDMA presents a troubling paradox. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency says NDMA shouldn't get into drinking water in concentrations
above 0.00069 parts per billion. However, tests to detect NDMA have been
able to measure it only in quantities of 0.7 parts per billion. That is,
labs have been able to find the stuff only when it shows up in amounts a
thousand times above recommended health limits.

http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~417~1641014,00.html ]

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