Court Sets Hearing on Jail Injunction, Prescott, AZ

Yavapai County Superior Court has set a hearing for Friday, October 9th at 9 a.m. to hear Bill Williams’ claim against the County. Williams filed an Emergency Motion on September 4th claiming pollution was on the worksite where the county is bulldozing for a new jail. An emergency motion for a preliminary injunction was denied. But Williams kept after it and will join by telephone under the Court’s Covid-19 rules.

Williams filed an affidavit from Richard MacLean of Prescott, a retired environmental engineer for General Electric, and vice president of environmental health for Arizona Public Service, who is an expert in environmental engineering and chemical engineering. MacLean was also a consultant on environmental, health and safety evaluation projects for many years.

MacLean stated the site is very polluted and most businesses would never develop on that ground because of the serious nature of the pollution.  He said in his affidavit, that building a multi-million dollar facility next to an old landfill is problematic, especially if the landfill’s construction, restrictions and monitoring are possibly outdated. He also questioned the possible presence of PCBs from an old electric substation, as well as re-stating what the County engineer discovered: “Leaking and non-leaking underground storage tanks, septic systems and water wells were reported present on the property.”

In describing the additional pollution testing that the County’s engineer had recommended, MacLean said, “I believe that this additional testing was not done. But the broader issues is whether this scope of sampling is adequate to promptly put to rest any questions that may arise in the future overexposure to chemicals of concern.”

MacLean continued, “Building a multi-million dollar facility with limited historical soil air sampling and no new current testing specific to the end-use envisioned is risky.” He agreed with most of Williams’ assessment in the first pleading filed: the presence of volatile organic compounds in the two soils collected from the east and west ends of the gasoline storage tank, and concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, chromium, di-n-butyl phthalate.

Former County Assessor Pam Pearsall also filed an affidavit in support of Williams’ claims, and part of her affidavit shows the court how the Board of Supervisors is also the County Jail District members, just to clarify their roles.

There has been a change in judges in the case. The Hon. Michael P. McGill will be presiding.

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