THREE COURAGEOUS AFFIDAVITS
STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF New York
PERSONALLY came and appeared before me, the undersigned Notary, the within named Walter Elyon, who is a resident of New York County, State of New York, and makes this his statement and General Affidavit upon oath and affirmation of belief and personal knowledge that the following matters, facts and things set forth are true and correct to the best of his knowledge:
I reside at 131 Bank Street, New York. From 1984 - 1993 I was employed by Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). Under the pretext of performing scientific inquiries, I was hired for what later turned out to be - a scam project, the so-called passive Solar Brookhaven House. From the beginning, this project was intended to pacify the people of the nearby hamlet of Shirley with regard to the now famous tritium plume seeping southward from the Laboratory. Rather than serving to increase the knowledge of sustainability the Brookhaven House functioned as a ploy to green-wash the dismal conditions that later led to BNL's state of a "Superfund Site". That I was not a researcher in the service of science but a political pawn was made clear to me by a caller from another National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado. Unfortunately, shocked as I was by this revelation, the undisclosed tritium leak should not remain the only matter of contention between me and BNL. My first office was located in building 120, a site directly adjacent to the High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR). An intern from Denmark alerted me to the fact that he had detected increased levels of radiation next to the HFBR with a Geiger counter. At a meeting with my department head my concerns about radiation at this location were ridiculed. Incidentally, it was the tritium leaking from this very HFB reactor that threatened the population of Shirley.
All this happened in 1984 and 1985, long before BNL became a Superfund Site. Later our Department of Applied Science office was relocated to the now decommissioned Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR). My concerns about the safety of this location were again derided. However, twenty years later,the Remedial Action Plan for the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor clearly stated the risks to human health posed by the BGRR's considerable radiological inventory. BNL admitted that monitoring wells down-gradient of the BGRR indicted this facility as a source of Sr-90 (Strontium-90) groundwater contamination. Between the years 1997 to 1999 a staggering 58,000 gallons of contaminated water from below ground ducts were pumped out as part of the environmental restoration programs. During the last years of my employment proposals were again put forth to relocate our offices to a building "526" at the outskirts of the property. In this building certain parts were clearly marked as polluted due to storage of radioactive material. It was then that I threatened to involve GREENPEACE and not much later my employment was terminated. In addition to unsafe working conditions due to the exposure to radiation there were other flagrant health and safety violations. In the late 80's I had to perform tests on so-called stator bars from the Northport Power Station (NPS). These tests consisted of charging the hollow bars with perfluorocarbon tracer gas and then collecting the rate of leakage with receivers placed close by. It was only later that I learned that these bars had been enclosed in asbestos. The insulation had been stripped from the bars for the purpose of easier testing. The bars still had visible fibers attached to them but I did not even know that it was Asbestos that I was touching. At the time I worked with Russell Dietz's Tracer Technology Center. Two years after the stator bar experiments I had another assignment with the Northport Power Station. This time I was to demonstrate that condenser air in-leakage- apparently a huge problem for power plants - could be quantified with Perfluorocarbon Tracer gases. Again, I had to produce a report which was published by BNL. Quite obviously, there existed continuous cooperation between the two institutions, BNL and NPS, reinforcing the claim that Brookhaven National Laboratory has a contract with the Northport Power Station allowing BNL to burn their contaminated toxic wastes and bury their radioactive materials at NPS's landfill site. For me personally, the ever present possibility of contamination and exposure to radiation at BNL caused a severe psychological trauma. In that I was not alone however. Most of my co-workers had been-and continued to be- in some form of psychological treatment. The extremely generous insurance policies of the lab enabled every employee to have his or her own psychotherapist and many of my colleagues urged me to take advantage of BNL's unrestrictive offer also. Leaving the laboratory - which I often considered later - was not a viable strategy in the beginning of my employment, since at the time I was an H-l visa holder. If a foreign worker in H-l status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer, or leave the United States. I counted myself lucky that Brookhaven National Laboratory lawyers worked on my permanent residence status which I finally did receive in 1988 ("Green Card"). Several years later I applied for and was granted citizenship. Earlier this year (2011) I was diagnosed with Grover's disease, consisting of mild to severe skin rashes. The etiology of this disease is unknown. However, suspected triggers of disease activity include ionizing irradiation. Individuals who are affected with this disease experience variable degrees of itching, sometimes severe in nature. The skin rashes can be set off by environmental stressors such as impurities in the air and in some cases have been associated with the on set cancer. In addition, I am now suffering from a feeling of weakness, sensory loss andimpairment of reflexes in my left leg and am undergoing testing for toxic neuropathy. According to Merritt's Textbook of Neurology, neuropathies from industrial agents either from occupational or environmental sources, presenting after either limited or long-term exposure, are insidious.
DATED: June 21, 2011
Mr. Elyon reiterated his earlier claims and asked that this additional comment be added on October 16, 2012 when contacted by Freelance Investigations in regard to publishing his original affidavit.
Not long after I had started working at BNL I discovered that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services had been conducting environmental tests at the lab. They had found tritium in the groundwater and drinking-water wells. In addition, radioactive elements, such as cesium 137 and strontium 90, had been detected in the fish of the Peconic River. Apparently, some of the radioactive leaks had gone undetected for years, dating back to the mid-1960s, when the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR) was decommissioned.
Every morning when I entered our office at the old BGRR I pondered on the consequences of the plume of tritium, aromatic hydrocarbons, chloroform, strontium 90 and 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane, a metal degreaser, that slowly made its way toward Shirley. I shuddered at the thought that all of these toxins had also been sinking into the drinking-water aquifer.
In utter disbelief I read reports by the Environmental Protection Agency stating that about 30% of BNL’s waste – waste that included contaminated clothing, equipment and radioactive animal carcasses - was deposited in an on-site landfill. The horrendous feeling of being on a sinking ship was reinforced by stories in local newspapers which openly talked about different pollutants connected to the laboratory. Now these reports were not confined to bulletins of the Department of Health Services, but there were open allegations about the drinking water being contaminated with cesium 137, europium 154, plutonium 239; and radium 226.
Finally, in 1989 Brookhaven National Laboratory was officially accepted to the National Priorities List.
There was an eerie atmosphere at the lab. Almost everybody that I got to know was in some kind of mental counseling for which the laboratory paid in a lavish fashion. Fear and suppressed discomfort was in the air. When I complained to people and suggested to take some action (such as to bring in Greenpeace), everybody seemed to agree on this one principle: You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. I often considered changing jobs but the laboratory lawyers were in the process of changing my work visa to the status of “Alien Resident” (the so-called Green Card). My only way out would have been a return to Austria, a step I often contemplated. At some point an old girlfriend from Vienna, Austria visited me and after seeing the situation urged me to come back.
For reasons connected to the unfortunate past of Austria in the first half of the 20th Century I did not want to go back to a country that had hailed the instigator of a vast genocide. I still believed in the United States, a belief that was slowly eroded the longer I stayed at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The following is the affidavit of Erik Knudsen who worked at the Northport Power Station.
Mr. Knudsen is suffering from the effects of radiation poisoning he received when he worked at the Northport Power Plant.
STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF SUFFOLK
ERIK KNUDSEN, being duly sworn deposes and says: I reside in Kings Park, New York. From approximately August of 2004 to date (most of the time), I had been employed originally by the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). My initial employment was assignment to Northport Power Station located in Northport, New York., within the Town of Huntington, County of Suffolk. When initially hired my title was maintenance mechanic. I then trained for a new, higher job position as an Assistant Control Operator (ACO). My duties involved being assigned to the Northport Power Station as well as transfer of oil from the offshore loading platform in the Long Island Sound to the Northport Power Station as well as unloading tankers (trucks) of waste and hazardous contaminants/waste by-products. My duties included, but were not limited to being involved in the maintenance, running, cleanup and overall operation of the four power units (four stacks) as well as the unloading and transfer of chemicals and fuel oils from the off shore platform to the Northport Power Station's "tank farm" (oil storage facility). During the course of my employment I was exposed to numerous oil and chemical spills which I later learned contained contaminated heavy metal and toxic chemicals. As a result of this continued exposure without the proper safety equipment, I became sick and was diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity and toxicity. This contamination caused a variety of occupational permanent health ailments including but not limited to an enlarged heart, kidney malfunction, liver malfunction, lung damage, neurological problems, gum disease, loss of teeth and I have been diagnosed with and treated for blood and bone leukemia (CML and APL). As a result of my illnesses, which were the direct result of my exposure to these various chemicals, I am permanently terminally ill and as a result can no longer work. I have been determined to be totally and permanently disabled by the New York State Social Services Department and the New York State Worker's Compensation Board. Through the course of my severe occupational illness I learned I had also been exposed to radioactive waste and beryllium as a result of working at the Northport Power Station contained in the waste oil that is transported to the Power Station and burned for fuel for the generation of electricity was from the Brookhaven National Laboratory and other similar facilities. During the course of my hearings with the Worker's Compensation Board and SSD it was unrefuted that the waste oil and chemicals which contained toxic fluids and heavy metals were both stored and burned at the Northport Power Station during the course of my employment. The source of these toxic chemicals were confirmed to be in part from the Brookhaven National Laboratory. This confirmation came from Arthur Stange an employee of the United States Department of Energy. Mr. Stange's findings and conclusions are unrefuted. Throughout the course of the numerous hearings with SSD and Worker's Compensation it was discovered and proven that Brookhaven National Laboratory has a contract with Northport Power Station to burn their contaminated toxic oils and waste fluids. It was also determined that the Northport Power Station has been a sub--contractor for Brookhaven National Laboratories from 1991 through the present. During the course of my medical treatment and employment I discovered that the waste oil has been contaminated with radioactive isotopes. As a result of being exposed to those hazardous chemicals at the Northport Power Station I became severely ill. Subsequently I have been diagnosed with life threatening medical conditions as a direct result and caused by being exposed to these chemicals. I filed a toxic tort against Keyspan (Northport Power Station) under Worker's Compensation Board Case Number 40305285. The carrier under this claim was the Keyspan Corporation. Carrier Case Number is KYS-03-0005051. My date of birth is June 29, 1972. As a result of my hearing before the Worker's Compensation Board I was awarded lifetime medical and weekly payments for lost wages and benefits. My case was appealed by Keyspan and the decision of the Worker's Compensation Board was affirmed and I now receive lifetime medical and weekly payments. During my employment from 1991 through 2002 I worked on a regular basis with employees of the Town of Huntington. Specifically, I worked on a regular basis throughout this time with Mr. William Townsend Perks, who was assigned by the Town of Huntington to assist me with any cleanup for oil spills which occurred on a regular basis in and around the Northport Power Station in Northport Town of Huntington, County of Suffolk, State of New York. In addition to working with Mr. Perks cleaning oil and toxic chemical spills, I also worked with Mr. Perks when oil tankers would come into the Long Island Sound to make deliveries to unload oil for burning at the Northport Power Station. Mr. Perks, who was then the Harbor Master/Oil Spill
Response Manager/Hazardous Materials Coordinator for the Town of Huntington was also a member of the Town of Huntington's oil spill response team and held the title of manager. He was also the first responder for the Town of Huntington and directly assisted with the cleanup of oi1and toxic chemical spills. These spills occurred on a regular basis during the entire time of my employment. As a result of this contamination by toxic oils and fuels I am suffering adverse medical conditions that are life threatening.
Sworn to before me this day of May 2011 Erik Knudsen
The Knudsen affidavit was never signed by Mr. Knudsen.
The following affidavit was made by William Perks on June 10, 2011.
Mr. Perks states he was present during the time mentioned in the Knudsen affidavit. He submitted the unsigned Knudsen affidavit in his case against the Town of Huntington.
William Townsend Perks vs. Town of Huntington
2nd Cir. 2007,
Eastern District, NY
Docket No. 06-2836
Judge Joanna Seybert
William T. Perks, residing in Centerport NY, 11721. being duty sworn, deposes and
1. I was present in when Erik Knudsen dictated the above Affidavit to my attorney in the within action.
2. Before being transferred to the Huntington landfill where the Covanta (f/k/a Ogden Martin) incinerator was located, during many emergencies when I, Mr. Knudsen, his co-workers, other members of my Team and local firemen/first-responders were exposed to unknown HAZMATS. I was present in my official capacities as Harbor Master/Oil Response Manager/Hazardous Materials Coordinator for the Town of Huntington and as a manager of the Town's oil-spill response team.
3. At no time were any of those present during emergencies at the Northport Power Station or Covanta:
(a) warned about radiation hazards or toxic substances trucked from the BNL Superfund site,
(b) provided a notice pursuant to the provisions of Section 324(b) of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1988 (PI. '99-499) hereinafter "EPCRA"...
(c) a copy of the Suffolk County Hazardous Materials Response Plan
(d) material safety data sheets [MSDS] or
(e) the emergency and hazardous chemical inventory forms required to be filed under said law and any subsequent follow-up notices.
4. In fact, not until I received a copy of the Public Notice in Exhibit A from the June 2, 2011 issue of the Suffolk County News; did I ever hear of EPCRA during HAZMAT training courses.
5. In fact, not until Mr. Knudsen was deposed, did I ever see radiation-warning signs like the one in Exhibit B that Mr. Knudsen took from the Northport Power Station.
Dated: Huntington New York
June 10, 2011
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