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Casino Neighbors Worried About Waste Water

27 June 2005

CAMPO INDIAN RESERVATION, California – As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune: "While employees inside the Golden Acorn Casino dealt cards and served drinks, workers outside stood over a vat of frothing sewage. Grasping metal chains, they pulled baskets and milk crates from the sludge, using them to filter out items such as underwear, towels, tampons and hypodermic needles.

"The sewage treatment plant vat needed their attention every few hours, all day and all night. It was nasty work – and prompted some employees to quit – but it was the only way to keep the plant from breaking down, again.

"The casino, which operates on the financial edge, has used these extreme measures off and on since it opened in 2001. Because the plant wasn't properly working within just a few months, partially treated wastewater was allowed to flow out of a pipe and down a hill behind the casino for about two years, employees said.

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which examined the plant last year after nearby residents complained of a stench, recently looked into reports that someone misled the investigating agent about how the tribe was handling its wastewater.

"…Campo says the wastewater is no longer piped down the hill, but the tribe is spraying its casino's wastewater onto the ground out back while it renovates the plant.

"…The casino uses chlorine and ultraviolet light to treat its potable water. Plus, experts say the desert soil is an effective filter for groundwater, including the casino's two wells near the spray field…"

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