"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

No Internal Security Systems Present At NJ Water Treatment Plant

The water treatment complex in Totowa, where chemist Geetha Angara was found murdered earlier this month has no internal monitoring or security systems. Once an individual passes through a 10-foot-high gate, a uniformed guard and a surveillance camera, security measures stop. All employees have access to all buildings, with no doors requiring pass cards and no indoor video capturing their movements, workers and borough officials said.

"There are no secure doors. There's no card access. Even visitors from the outside can go anywhere," said Allen Del Vecchio, Totowa's fire marshal and emergency management coordinator and one of the first to respond to the missing persons call. "We walked that entire site without any problem at all."

That freedom of movement and lack of surveillance have complicated the work of detectives seeking to explain how senior chemist Geetha Angara wound up dead in an underground water tank - apparently at the hands of one of her co-workers.

Commission officials declined to say if security changes are planned for the site. A spokesman said PVWC, which directly supplies water for 17 North Jersey communities, has invested $70 million in recent years "to ensure the safety and security of our water supply."

Normally, a 50-pound, aluminum plate covers the tank opening. The plate is kept in place with about a dozen screws, Del Vecchio said. But he and several officers who went to search for Angara found the screws either broken off or missing, he said."There's no way that thing was screwed down," Del Vecchio said. Among conflicting points in the investigation is whether the panel was found in place or dislodged when workers first began searching for Angara.

Nothing about Angara's life has suggested any reason why someone would want her dead, investigators say. There is no evidence that she had any enemies or a secret relationship. As senior chemist, she had no hiring or firing privileges, co-workers said, so workplace grudges seem unlikely. And with no signs of drug use at the crime scene, detectives consider it unlikely she came across a wayward addict.

Other than saying that Angara drowned and was not sexually abused, authorities have refused to disclose autopsy results. Co-workers say she was hard-working, friendly and never boasted about her credentials. "She didn't even want to be called 'doctor,' " one plant supervisor said."She didn't bring it up that she had a Ph.D. She just wanted to be 'Geetha."

More here.



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