Nov 26, 2019

Douglas, Ariz., Prison Investigating Water Well Contamination

A report shows that a new well supplying water to a state prison in Douglas, Ariz., could be contaminated. 

A report shows that a well supplying water to a state prison in Douglas could be contaminated

A report from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) shows that a well supplying water to a state prison in Douglas could be contaminated.

The well is owned by Cochise County and was installed in June after an outage left the prison without water for several days, according to KJZZ.

“In Oct. 2019, ADEQ received complaints from families of inmates about the water at the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC) in Douglas smelling like diesel fuel and being discolored,” stated the report.

ADEQ investigators visited the prison and took water samples, which showed acceptable levels of contaminants. Inspectors did note deficiencies with the new well, however.

“Well 1’s pump does not directly sit on a slab/pedestal,” according to the report. “The pump sits on elevated casing. Well 1 did not have a sanitary seal between the water pump base and casing.”

The report believes an old gas station less than 300 ft from the new well could be the source of contamination. The ADEQ Waste Programs unit is investigating the potential for an underground leaking storage tank as well. 

The report also goes on to detail that the system reportedly has a problem with oil from the pump oiler seeping into the water. 

“Arizona’s Department of Corrections (ADC) position is that it will not accept water service from well 1 again unless and until the county, working with ADEQ, can prove and certify that water sourced from that well is safe and clean to drink, and free of any bad odor or taste,” said ADC spokesman Andrew Wilder. “The Department continues to closely monitor for additional information and for solutions proposed by the County to address and resolve this matter.” 

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