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Results From Paonia Chemical Dumping

Bart Eller

Early last month, chemicals were illegally dumped in an irrigation ditch outside Paonia. 

The Delta County Sheriff’s Department said that the dumping of the milky white substance took place on the 4th of July weekend.  The following Wednesday, samples were taken by the Delta County Health Department.   The samples were then sent to the state testing facilities.  Three weeks later, the results were released.   

The report of the surface water had several results, from Hexadecanoic acid, to Octodecadein.  It was initially suspected to be some sort of acrylic paint base.

Bret Icenogle works for the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.  He and his team tried to interpret the results.

"It seems low probability that this is paint," said Icenogle, " we have a chemical engineer on staff and I asked him to look at this.  He said that with paint, you'd expect to see some other unique-type identifiers, which just don't seem to be showing up." 

He did note that the test of the chemical was only a SVOC test, looking only at semi-volitile orgainc compounds. 

"All that we found could be speculative, as we didn't sample and try to do a match," said Icenogle.  "What we found was that this appears to be some sort of an organic insecticide, as a best guess, and all the individual compounds appear to have low toxicity." 

The Sheriff’s Department is still investigating who dumped the chemicals that day.

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