What follows is an excerpt from the Oct. 22, 1998 deposition of Earl Kenon, who worked in the press room of the Orlando Sentinel in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Kenon said he was present when the toxic cleaning solvent trichloroethelene, or TCE, was poured into drains at the Sentinel's downtown printing plant, and also hauled barrels containing the chemical to dumps on Good Homes Road in Orlando and off Douglas Road in Altamonte Springs.
He was questioned by David Best, an attorney representing landowners who have filed suit against Sentinel Communications, alleging that groundwater contamination traced to the newspaper's production facility has pushed down the value of their property. Also present was Sentinel attorney Steven Schooley.
Best: And when the TCE and the other chemicals were used, then what happened to them after they were used?
Kenon: We, we pour it -- we had a barrel, you know, had a -- had a barrel in the ink room and a -- and a -- and a chute up there, you know, where we pour the -- pour the stuff in, run them barrels. Sometimes they pour it down the drain. We had a drain in that ink room. At times we have poured some of it down the drain.
Q: What was that drain on the floor?
A: Yeah, on the floor.
Q: So some of it was poured down the drain?
A: Yeah, some of it have went in that drain, yeah.
Q: OK. And then did, did it get -- was it ever put anywhere else besides down that drain in the ink room?
A: In the barrels, you know, the waste barrel.
Q: All right. And what all was in those waste barrels?
A: Mineral spirit and water, but most time we tried to keep the mineral spirit -- at one time we used to pour it all together. Then later on we found that we could recycle the mineral spirit so we went to separating it.
Q: OK. And would -- what would you do with the mineral spirits then?
A: They save it and, and somebody would come pick it up and recycle it.
Q: OK. Do you remember when that was?
A: No, not -- no, I can't remember when it was, but at one time.
Q: All right. What happened to the TCE after it was used?
A: We put it in barrels and cap it and carry it on outside. And we store it on the outside to haul to the dump.
Q: All right. And you'd store it in -- in a 55-gallon drum?
A: 50-55 gallon drum.
Q: All right. Can you show us where that was stored with this pointer, please sir?
A: We had a place on -- outside over here where them cars parked at right there.
Q: Yes, sir.
A: We just store them right there.
A: And when we get about 20-25 barrels or something like that we will haul them to the dump. We, we had a trailer -- they made a trailer where we do -- haul them to the dump on.
A: And at the time we have rented a, a truck from Ryder and carried them to the dump.
Q: OK. A Ryder truck?
A: Yeah, a Ryder truck, a straight body.
Q: All right. And which dump, if you remember, did you take those barrels too?
A: Well we first started carrying them to Good Homes Road, to the [Orange] County Dump. And they stopped us from carrying it out there. And so we went to carry them to a private dump out there in Altamonte Springs on Douglas Road.
A: And when we first started carrying them out there, we carry them out there and they'll push them off the truck. And then they, they stopped us from doing that. And so he -- the man who owned the dump, he picked a place where we could stack them. Just stack them.
Q: Now, are we talking about Good Homes Road?
A: No the private dump.
Q: All right. And do you remember when you stopped going to Good Homes Road and started going to Altamonte Springs?
A: No, I can't -- I can't give you a definite date on that.
Q: All right. OK. But when you were going to Good Homes Road, what would happen to the barrels when you got to the dump?
A: We'd have to push them off.
Sentinel attorney Steven Schooley: Object to form.
A: We'd have to push them off.
Q: Pushed them off the truck?
A: Push -- yeah, yeah, push them off the truck.
Q: Did anybody tell you where to put them or did you just dump them wherever you, you parked the truck?
A: Well, we dump in the -- we'll put them in the dumping area, the same area where they're putting the trash and stuff.
Q: OK. And were they sealed at the top, the tops of the drums?
A: Yeah, they were sealed.
Q: All right.
A: But a lot of times when you push them off they'll come open, you know, they'll come open and then the stuff, wastes or whatever.
Q: And when they'd come open would the waste spill on the ground?
Schooley: Object to form.