The Lowry Superfund Site, Other Views

I have come to expect a high standard of journalism from the Monitor, but "A Trooper, a Dump, and a Tale Of Doubt" (June 10) breaks that faith. Consider:

1. It reports nothing new, rehashing old discounted stories spoon-fed by critics of the Lowry Superfund cleanup plan.

2. Your reporter says, "The project marks the government's most ambitious attempt anywhere to turn toxic waste into a beneficial resource." In fact, the project under discussion is not intended to turn toxic waste into a beneficial resource. It is a plan to treat and remove slightly contaminated groundwater that flows naturally under the site so it won't contaminate other groundwater. The groundwater itself, after pretreatment at the Superfund site and further treatment at the Metro District's facility, will pose no threat.

3. The article says there might be a problem and virtually ignores those who say there isn't. The critics' charges are all variations on "but what if...." They ignore the science, the empirically demonstrable facts.

4. In the discussion of biosolids, the reporter quotes critics but ignores 30 years of sound science that says it's safe to use biosolids as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.

5. One significant misrepresentation of the facts involves monitoring. The story did not report that the Metro District will pay for, and the governments of Elbert and Arapahoe Counties will control, a thorough, independent monitoring program on the district's 50,000-acre biosolids application site, a program expected to be conducted by the US Geological Survey.

This story also doesn't mention the strict controls that will be placed on the Lowry Superfund site discharge to the Metro District and the district's perfect record over the past decade of protecting its effluent and biosolids from any unacceptable contamination by toxic pollutants.

This record will in no way be endangered by the district's acceptance of the Lowry Superfund site groundwater.

Robert W. Hite


District manager, Metro Wastewater Reclamation District

I have continuously felt the Monitor was of great personal value to me. And every once in a while a single edition will justify my year's subscription - or in this case, a single article. The Lowry Landfill special report was balanced, thought provoking, and intelligently raised numerous questions and issues that are at the heart of sustainability - how to enjoy today, and tomorrow.

Specifically raised for me, and left for us all to answer: What defines an "activist"? Who is responsible if not me? Should we ignore "conflict of interest"? What does it mean to be a neighbor? Who is the government? What defines "evidence" in technical disputes? Who should disclose to home buyers that they may be buying radioactive land? And what options do polluters and whitewashers have when their only source of income involves polluting and hiding, and they are nowhere near retirement?

Mark Stafford

via e-mail

Thank you so much for the excellent article on the Lowry Landfill. My suggestion for solving the issue of safety is to move the Department of Energy headquarters to a site adjacent and downstream from the landfill. Of course, the families of the DOE officials would also have to move to that new subdivision in Aurora, and then the bread they buy can be baked from the wheat fields they have fertilized. Now, if the DOE thinks it is safe enough to put their own families at risk, then I say, okay. If not, what message are we getting from our government?

Nadine A. Muller

Nicasio, Calif.

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