Warning: lots of acronyms ahead
On Wednesday night, the EPA held a meeting of the North Indian Bend Wash Superfund Site's (NIBW) Community Involvement Group (CIG) in the auditorium of the Civic Center Branch Library in Scottsdale.
Summary - there was no breaking news tonight, no bombs like the one dropped at November's meeting (the week+ during October of 'incomplete remediation' .)
Of course, there were no 'F-bombs' dropped in return. :))
The longer version of tonight's events isn't actually all that much longer than the summary, and most of the information was made available previously.
A number of officials from EPA, DOJ, ADEQ, ADHS, MCESD, and City of Scottsdale were present, as well as elected officials or their representatives such as Scottsdale City Council members Ron McCullagh and Wayne Ecton, and Robbie Sherwood, District Director for Congressman Harry Mitchell.
The people who were there for professional reasons may have outnumbered the folks who were there as "interested citizens." :))
Both the Participating Companies (PCs) - Motorola, Siemens, and GSK - and the operator of the Miller Road Treatment Facility (MRTF), Arizona American Water Company (AAWC), conducted separate investigations into the incidents (October 2007, January 2008). The end result of those investigations was that the PCs blamed human error on the part of AAWC personnel, and that AAWC blamed the system set up by the PCs.
The EPA had an independent contractor overseeing the investigations; their report isn't complete as yet.
While that report is pending, and long-term solutions are evaluated, the output of the well with the highest concentration of trichloroethylene (TCE), called PCX-1, has been permanently disconnected from AAWC's drinking water system. The facility was shut down after the January incident but is now back online, with the output of PCX-1 discharged into the Arizona Canal.
The PCs have contracted with a new firm to handle the remediation of PCX-1 while the remediation of two other wells, with much lower contamination levels, is still handled by AAWC. The output from those wells is discharged into AAWC's water distribution system.
In addition to the permanent disconnection of PCX-1 from the water distribution system, increased testing of the effluent, 24/7 onsite monitoring, and thrice-daily inspections of all equipment and controls have been implement as interim actions to address the TCE contamination while ensuring that similar failures do not re-occur.
The interim operating plan is available here.
Information regarding long-term measures should be forthcoming during the fall. Possible options in that regard include, but aren't limited to, reinjection, reconfiguring MRTF to add precautions and redundancies, and continuing to treat and discharge the water from PCX-1 into the Arizona Canal.
The EPA's most recent update on the MRTF situation is here.
Other info from the meeting -
...According to Terry Lockwood, representing Motorola (and the other PCs), there is no evidence of northward movement of the contamination plume.
...The money from the $500,000 fine levied against the PCs is going into the Superfund. (AAWC was fined $69K by the State of Arizona.)
...There will probably be another CIG meeting in the fall after the evaluation of options for long-term measures.
...Oh, and even though the majority of people affected by January's incident at the MRTF live in Paradise Valley, which is in his district, no one from Congressman Shadegg's office was present Wednesday night.
Guess he's still MIA when it comes to his constituents.
Other Scottsdale news from the meeting - As of 5:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Councilman Ron McCullagh was the only candidate who has turned in nominating petitions so far. When asked about being first, he stated that he turned them in so early because he had enough to do so, and that he was working on collecting sigs for the state land trust reform initiative and wanted to focus his attention on that.