By Rick Sallinger
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Neighbors near the Charles Allen Water Filtration Plant in Englewood are telling city officials they are concerned that three workers there have died of cancer.
The neighbors want to be absolutely sure there is nothing that is affecting their health.
The water treated at the plant for drinking leaves a waste referred to as sludge. Some who work there and families of those who died believe it may have been responsible for causing the cancer. After CBS4’s first report, the city took action, but the controversy is not over.
While much of the sludge has been removed after the first CBS4 report, still more remains, as do the concerns of those who live nearby. Neighbors have obtained a 2012 state health department letter to the city that indicated the radiation then was actually much higher than the city had stated.
Ken Kloewer works at the plant and has contracted cancer. He looked at the document and said, “It says that it’s three-times the legal limit in radioactivity. To me this is the smoking gun.”
Three who worked at the water treatment plant have died of cancer. But the city has insisted the sludge could not have been the source.
“We feel very strongly through our collaboration and cooperation with both the state Department of Health and Environment as well as the EPA that we are not in a situation where we are actually causing harm to our residents,” Englewood City Manager Eric Keck told CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger in April.
Assistant City Manager Murphy Robinson sent a statement to CBS4 explaining there would be no further comment while the matter is under investigation.
Neighbors nearby have been sent a letter by the city informing them that a recent examination by an expert found no cause for concern. But this week some who live close to the plant told the Englewood City Council that doesn’t satisfy them.
“I personally feel this latest attempt to pacify the residents that live in the immediate area of the plant to be condescending and of no factual importance,” resident Joyce Slaughter told the council.
Another resident who spoke was Sean Baker.
“You cannot hide the monster, a.k.a. sludge, in the shadows or under tarps,” Baker said.
The council members said they would try to get to the bottom of it.
Kloewer wants the sludge gone as soon as possible. With tears in eyes he told CBS4, “I have watched three of my friends die … I’m next, and we have another one ready.”