Going Underground

Industry makes secret push to gut laws protecting subsurface water supplies

In Scottsdale, the Indian Bend Wash, an underground drinking-water reserve for more than 300,000 people, had been laced with TCE dumped by Motorola and other high-tech industries.

Underground water reserves also were polluted by the Motorola semiconductor factory at 52nd Street and McDowell, sending a plume of dangerous groundwater contamination west. That plume has combined with other underground pollution and is now threatening the drinking-water supply of Tolleson.

The 1986 law attempted to prevent further pollution of drinking-water reserves, through consensus among industries, mines and environmentalists.

Now Baron sees attempts to change the law as an indication that industry has gone back on its word.

"I guess my question is, 'Where has honor gone?'" he says.

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