News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Uranium issue coverage useful
May 15, 2012 - David S. Luzmoor, Riverton
As a citizen of Riverton, I wanted to compliment The Ranger for the excellent coverage in the May 3 edition of the recent Department of Energy public meeting. Mr. David Geiser from the DOE headquarters in Washington, along with April Gil from DOE in Grand Junction did an excellent job of informing us about uranium contamination issues.
I want also to point out how many of us in attendance at the public meeting, along with those DOE officials, were quite shocked about the possible uranium contamination in the tap water at four residences serviced by the Northern Arapaho Utilities Organization domestic water pipeline system. Around two o'clock the day of the public meeting it became known that samples of tap water pulled from 4 residences in October 2011 had possible uranium contamination as indicated by some unknown form of chemical analyses. Since only the level of contamination was mentioned without any supporting information on the sampling event and subsequent technical reports, it left open a lot of questions in the minds of all of us. Most of us were alarmed that this information was brought out only a few hours before this public forum was scheduled to begin. Adding to the confusion was the absence of any information as to why these potentially dangerous levels of uranium had not been publicly revealed during the intervening time since October 2011. We later learned from DOE and Wyoming DEQ officials, who promptly provided bottled drinking water to the four residences, that none of these residences had been informed since October 2011 that their water potentially contained elevated levels of contamination in the form of uranium never before seen in any of the tap water samples.
All of us in attendance were very impressed with the prompt reaction from the Department of Energy and Wyoming DEQ and the efforts taken to expedite new sampling and confirmation analyses completion at a testing laboratory certified for testing these very low levels of uranium in water. Please continue your excellent coverage of these emerging issues. Thanks.
Editor's note: Subsequent testing by the Deparmtent of Energy did not confirm the original findings reported at the meeting. The DOW tests showed uranium levels in the water to be well within federal drinking water standards.