March 7, 2007

Contact: Carole Piszczek-Sheffield, Vice-Chair, Grand Canyon Chapter, (928) 204-1517
Brian Myers, RRRCA, (928) 204-1703
Tom Slaback, Chair, Prescott Group, Grand Canyon Chapter, (928) 778-4233
Howard Shanker, Shanker Law Firm, PLC, Flagstaff, AZ (928) 226-0560

Sierra Club, RRRCA Act to Protect Drinking Water;

Challenges Aquifer Protection Permit Granted to Local Developer

(Sedona. AZ.) The Sierra Club and the Red Rock Rural Community Association (RRRCA) filed an appeal with the Arizona Department of Environmental Equality (ADEQ) regarding issuance of an aquifer protection permit (APP) to BySynergy, LLC. The appeal is based on numerous asserted violations of the APP requirements including, a lack of surface water monitoring and analyses for Oak Creek.

"It was unfortunate that the ADEQ issued Bella Terra an Aquifer Protection Permit," said Howard Shanker, the attorney representing the Sierra Club and the RRRCA. "The state agency charged with protecting the environment should be conservative about protecting drinking water and critical places like Oak Creek. Here, however, ADEQ disregards the fact that there are contaminants in the treated wastewater being introduced to the watershed by Bella Terra that are neither treated nor screened."

The developer's plans include construction of an on-site wastewater treatment plant. Objections to the APP arise, in part, from the proposed sewage treatment plant's location on top of fractured rock overlying aquifers that provide drinking water to the larger community..

"There are too many unknowns in this type of processed waste water. We know, for example, that compounds from insecticides, soaps, and hormones remain can after treatment," said Carole Piszczek-Sheffield, vice-chair of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. "These compounds have the potential to contaminate the aquifers or to find their way into Oak Creek. We hope that the ADEQ chooses to protect these critical aquifers rather than risk possible irreversible contamination."

The Sierra Club is America's oldest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, the Sierra club's 750,000 members - including more than 13,000 in Arizona - work together to protect our communities and the planet.

RRRCA is comprised of property owners and residents who live along rural portions of Oak Creek just outside Sedona, AZ. RRRCA takes action to protect the integrity of the riparian environment, wildlife habitat and local aquifers.

The Sierra Club and RRRCA have retained attorney Howard Shanker of the Shanker Law Firm, PLC. Mr. Shanker represents community groups' and organizations' environmental and resource matters throughout Arizona.