Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Jan. 23

Work continues on new casino site following uranium testing
<b><i>Analysis shows fill soil used for casino is free of uranium contamination</b></i><br>

Analysis shows fill soil used for casino is free of uranium contamination

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - An analysis of soil being used by the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) for construction of its Fire Rock Casino parking lot in Church Rock, N.M. has shown it to be free of any uranium radiation contamination.

Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency Executive Director Stephen B. Etsitty stated that his agency's Superfund Program conducted a surface radiological survey of the Becenti Trails Road borrow pit and determined its soil to be free of contamination and safe to use.

In a July 18 letter to Navajo Nation Resources Committee Chairman George Arthur, who asked for the soil testing, Etsitty said his program surveyed a two-acre area and conducted 70 readings from 35 sampling locations.

"Sixty-two of the readings were equal to or below the determined background (level of radiation)," Etsitty wrote."

"This information leads me to conclude that no further investigation is required regarding the presence of uranium contaminated soils at the Becenti Trails Road Borrow Pit," he said.

Arthur said at a July 10 Resource Committee meeting that he understood that the casino construction was halting, although no work stoppage occurred.

"Construction has not been affected," said Raymond Etcitty, the gaming enterprise's legal counsel. "They've drilled and set 50 pillars ... for the administrative building."

He added that concrete for the bingo hall and casino area has been poured and work is underway for the foundation walls.

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