Federal Center workers not told about nuclear waste

July 30, 2009


Denver Federal Center workers demand answers about radioactive waste

Heidi Hemmat KDVR Investigative Reporter

July 29, 2009

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Would you want to dig up dirt at a former nuclear waste site? That’s what construction crews at the Denver Federal Center site in Lakewood have been doing for the past year.

But what’s worse, some workers tell FOX 31 that they never knew about the radioactive history until they saw our story on the news.

“We were told there was asbestos and lead at the site,” says one worker who wants to remain anonymous.

He says when he and his co-workers learned that lead and asbestos were not the only danger, they became concerned for their health. Health department records show the site was a burial ground for nuclear waste and the soil is also contaminated with Uranium, Arsenic, Beryllium, and other toxic metals.

But that’s not the only grounds for concern. Underneath it all, there is a plume of radioactive groundwater which is also laden with the cancer-causing chemical TCE.

“When we dig holes out there -the water table is so high, we often end up knee deep in groundwater,” says another worker.

Workers were told there would be a “safety meeting” to address their concerns Wednesday. Instead, Saint Anthony hospital officials held a “topping off party” to celebrate a construction milestone at the Federal Center site where the new hospital is being built, along with a new RTD Light Rail center and eventually homes and businesses.

The superintendent of the project, Kevin Fone, told us there was no scheduled safety meeting for Wednesday.

When asked why the workers were never told about all the contamination at the site, he told us to contact their corporate office.

A man who escorted us off the property assured us he would forward our contact information to someone who could answer our questions.

We never received any calls.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment maintains the federal center site is safe.


How is this related to I-70 expansion?

The government’s own Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) estimates that I-70 expansion construction would disturb over 100 acres of hazardous materials sites where arsenic, lead, and cadmium are stored. It would stir up poisons that threaten workers and community residents’ health.

No to environmental pollution, no to I-70 expansion!


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