Several Denver Water workers admitted to have buried toxic waste including asbestos near a number of schools and homes twenty years ago. One of the company’s retired employees, Joe Pacheco asserted that their manager instructed them to bury radiation asphalt, asbestos cement, and other hazardous materials at the Foothills Water Treatment Facility in Colorado’s Douglas County.
Pacheco claimed, “They had us bury these toxins. We broke them up with back hoes and all we were given were dust masks.” Expressing concern over the health consequences that the people living nearby will have to face, he said, “It is a toxic burial ground. People are going to die.”
An asbestos pipe if sawed, cut or broken can release airborne fibers, posing a serious threat to the human respiratory system should the fibers be inhaled. Denver Water workers avowed that they “crushed the asbestos piping, spread it out on the land and covered it with dirt. It was never properly capped.”
The former Denver Water employees suffer from serious illnesses that in their view were a result of exposure to the asbestos which they handled and buried. They are also concerned about their neighbors, as the asbestos could have potentially contaminated their ground water and soil. Taking their concern to the Denver Water Board President Penfield Tate, they explained the serious consequences asbestos exposure can have on the lives of people living in the vicinity. Though the media has reported some evidence of clean-up at the site, a thorough investigation of the dumping will only follow specific information from those who claim they buried the toxic waste.
Asbestos is a silicate mineral that is often used in building industries. Unsafe and improper disposal of asbestos can pose serious health risks, as exposure to the mineral can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer.