b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEing waters of the aquifer. If plutonium tors all over the state, who obliginglycontaminated the aquifer, or if the rest published or quoted from them. Theof the world thought that it had, his South Idaho Presssaid Idahoansbusiness could be finished. 21 should be alarmed generally, andquoted Robert Lee, the director of theHe sent off a letter to Governor Idaho Water Resources Board, whoSamuelson. He questioned Bill Ginkel, said, If the aquifer became radioactive,who wrote a response intended towe would be wiped out. The editorreassu e: called for the creation of a nationalrdump at some barren place where theWe have zealously guarded the water waste could never cause harm to any-resources at the NRTS by an extensiveone and quoted Erkins:environmental research and monitoringprogram which has extended over two Basic common sense would tell anyonedecades. We have never found any evithat-you do not store your garbage overdence of movement of the plutonium oryour water supply regardless of the Boise State University Library POR-105 Dother wastes through the soil at any type of garbage. How then can we con - Senator Frank Churchlocation in the burial ground. Because tinue to permit disposal of radioactiveof the desert conditions, the soil does material over the source of one of thenot contain sufficient moisture to pro - worlds great spring water systems? representative from the Idaho23vide transport for this material. Reclamation Association. Bill GinkelMoreover, the plutonium is in an essenErkins-kindled doubts elsewhere in the and John Horan immediately invitedtially insoluble form. Tracer studies agricultural community of south Idaho, the task force to have a look around. 25have demonstrated that the water undermost of which relied on the aquifer orthe south-central part of the Site is the Snake River into which it flowed. The public outcry reached Idaho sena-moving at the rate of 10 to 20 feet per Samuelson attempted to get the facts, tor Frank Church. He decided to coor-day.At this rate, the water curentlyr but found that federal agencies seemed dinate resources on a federal level. Heunder the southern boundary of the Siteto have differing assessments of NRTS asked the USGS, the U.S. Public Healthcan be expected to reach the Thousandwaste burial practices. In addition, his Service, the Federal Water PollutionSprings area on the Snake River after own state employees were issuing con- Control Administration (FWPCA), andthe year 2070. tradictory statements, fueling more the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and22press coverage. 24 Wildlife to conduct a joint study inde-Ginkel also said that if signs of migra- pendently of the AEC to assess thetion ever were found, the waste was not This confusion is not leading us any- long-term implications of NRTS burialbeyond recovery or countermeasures. where, decided Samuelson. He put a practices. His news release said thatHe reminded Erkins that plutonium was stop to ad hocstaff comments to the Church had acted after NRTS officialsabout thirty times more valuable than press and created a State Task Force to had acknowledged publicly thatgold, and that all reasonable efforts thoroughly examine, through a coordi- radioactive wastes from both the NRTSwere made to recover it before the nated approach, any possible atomic and Rocky Flats were being buriedwaste went to Idaho. In newspapers, pollution to the aquifer and then recom- above the aquifer. The practice hadGinkel was quoted as saying, We have mend a course of action. The commit- been known to the state for years, butsubstantial technical experience. tee consisted of the director of the this fact did not become part of theTheres no real or potential basis for health department, the state reclamation public discussion on the issue. 26alarmever. Erkins was not reas- engineer, the director of the Watersured. He sent letters to newspaper edi- Resources Board, Gene Rutledge, and a1 9 8'