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Halliburton Cited in Iraq Contamination
Associated Press | January 23, 2006
WASHINGTON - Troops and civilians at a U.S. military
base in Iraq were exposed to contaminated water last
year and employees for the responsible contractor,
Halliburton, couldn't get their company to inform camp
residents, according to interviews and internal
company documents.

Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice
President Dick Cheney, disputes the allegations about
water problems at Camp Junction City, in Ramadi, even
though they were made by its own employees and
documented in company e-mails.

"We exposed a base camp population (military and
civilian) to a water source that was not treated,"
said a July 15, 2005, memo written by William Granger,
the official for Halliburton's KBR subsidiary who was
in charge of water quality in Iraq and Kuwait.

"The level of contamination was roughly 2x the normal
contamination of untreated water from the Euphrates
River," Granger wrote in one of several documents. The
Associated Press obtained the documents from Senate
Democrats who are holding a public inquiry into the
allegations Monday.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who will chair the session,
held a number of similar inquiries last year on
contracting abuses in Iraq. He said Democrats were
acting on their own because they had not been able to
persuade Republican committee chairmen to investigate.

The company's former water treatment expert at Camp
Junction City said that he discovered the problem last
March, a statement confirmed by his e-mail the day
after he tested the water.

While bottled water was available for drinking, the
contaminated water was used for virtually everything
else, including handwashing, laundry, bathing and
making coffee, said water expert Ben Carter of Cedar
City, Utah.

Another former Halliburton employee who worked at the
base, Ken May of Louisville, said there were numerous
instances of diarrhea and stomach cramps - problems he
also suffered.

A spokeswoman for Halliburton said its own inspection
found neither contaminated water nor medical evidence
to substantiate reports of illnesses at the base. The
company now operates its own water treatment plant
there, spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said.

A military medical unit that visited Camp Ramadi in
mid-April found nothing out of the ordinary in terms
of water quality, said Marine Corps Maj. Tim Keefe, a
military spokesman. Water-quality testing records from
May 23 show the water within normal parameters, he
said.

"The allegations appear not to have merit," Keefe
said.

Halliburton has contracts to provide a number of
services to U.S. forces in Iraq and was responsible
for the water quality at the base in Ramadi.

Granger's July 15 memo said the exposure had gone on
for "possibly a year" and added, "I am not sure if any
attempt to notify the exposed population was ever
made."

The first memo on the problem - written by Carter to
Halliburton officials on March 24, 2005 - was an
"incident report" from tests Carter performed the
previous day.

"It is my opinion that the water source is without
question contaminated with numerous micro-organisms,
including Coliform bacteria," Carter wrote. "There is
little doubt that raw sewage is routinely dumped
upstream of intake much less than the required 2 mile
distance.

"Therefore, it is my conclusion that chlorination of
our water tanks while certainly beneficial is not
sufficient protection from parasitic exposure."

Carter said he resigned in early April after
Halliburton officials did not take any action to
inform the camp population.

The water expert said he told company officials at the
base that they would have to notify the military.
"They told me it was none of my concern and to keep my
mouth shut," he said.

On at least one occasion, Carter said, he spoke to the
chief military surgeon at the base, asking him whether
he was aware of stomach problems afflicting people. He
said the surgeon told him he would look into it.

"They brushed it under the carpet," Carter said. "I
told everyone, 'Don't take showers, use bottled
water."

A July 14, 2005, memo showed that Halliburton's public
relations department knew of the problem.

"I don't want to turn it into a big issue right now,"
staff member Jennifer Dellinger wrote in the memo,
"but if we end up getting some media calls I want to
make sure we have all the facts so we are ready to
respond."

Halliburton's performance in Iraq has been criticized
in a number of military audits, and congressional
Democrats have contended that the Bush administration
has favored the company with noncompetitive contracts.


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