Landfills ordered to determine what they accepted and develop a compliance plan

Kentucky officers have begun to take enforcement actions of their investigation of radioactive oil and fuel drilling wastes they are saying was introduced illegally into Kentucky and dumped at two landfills.

State well being officers ordered the corporate they are saying hauled the fracking waste into Kentucky to cease or face $one hundred,000 per incident fines and potential felony costs.

And two landfills in Kentucky have been despatched violation notices Tuesday from the Kentucky Power and Surroundings Cupboard. The violation notices declare the landfill operators in Greenup and Estill counties did not precisely characterize the waste for what it was, permitting what’s thought-about an unlawful launch of a hazardous materials into the surroundings. They have been additionally cited for poor report maintaining and different violations.

The Power Cupboard and the Cupboard for Well being and Household Providers have been investigating a possible pipeline of types of radioactive waste from out of state fracking operations into Kentucky.

Well being Cupboard assistant counsel Jennifer Wolsing wrote a March four letter made public Tuesday that claims BES LLC, doing enterprise as Superior TENORM Providers, imported, collected, transported and/or deposited radioactive oil and fuel drilling waste in a number of Kentucky counties since a minimum of June 2015.

Wolsing stated the state would go to courtroom to cease the corporate if it didn’t comply.

As of Tuesday, well being cupboard officers had not heard from the corporate, stated Beth Fischer, cupboard spokeswoman.

Louisville environmental lawyer Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Assets Council, stated Tuesday night that it’s a “good signal to see each businesses coordinating their response and utilizing their regulatory and statutory powers to get a deal with on this example.”

Kentucky Division of Waste Administration officers on March 2 confirmed that radioactive waste from rock and brine that’s brought to the surface during oil and gas drilling was brought into Kentucky against state law. The agency said it was fracking operations in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The Health Cabinet’s letter was sent to Cory Hoskins, who was identified as the owner of BES LLC. Records filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State show a Jason Hoskins as owner of Advanced TENORM Services. TENORM is what the industry calls drilling waste that’s been technologically enhanced. Both show West Liberty addresses.

A man answering the phone at the address of Cory Hopkins told a reporter he had the wrong number. The Courier-Journal has been unable to reach Jason Hopkins.

State health officials have said they are also trying to determine whether any landfill workers or others were exposed – and whether the material could have been sent to other landfills. They have said they don’t believe there are any current health risks from the dumping.

State officials have said a West Virginia company that recycles the drilling further concentrated the radionuclides – and that’s the waste that made to the Blue Ridge Landfill last year just outside Irvine, in Estill County. A less radioactive waste was sent to the Green Valley Landfill in Greenup County, they said.

The violation notice sent to Green Valley Landfill’s owners, Green Valley Landfill General Partnership, said 369 tons of radioactive drilling waste was dumped there between May 2015 and January 2016. The Blue Ridge Landfill accepted 47 loads, previously described as 25 cubic yards each, from July 2015 through Nov. 2015, according to a violation notice.

Both landfills have been ordered to comply with all provisions of a radiation survey and site investigation guidance provided by the Health Cabinet.

Representatives of the landfills could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. Blue Ridge owner Advanced Disposal has previously pledged full cooperation and has said it did not know it was accepting radioactive waste.

FitzGerald said the landfills eventually will either have to develop a plan to safely manage the drilling wastes inside the landfill, or remove them. The waste contains radium 226, which has a half-life of 1,600 years, or the time it takes for half its radioactivity to decay. Municipal landfills typically have protective liners guaranteed for 30 or 40 years, he said.

The drilling waste is called TENORM, from the term technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. Kentucky considers the material to be low-level nuclear waste, subject to handling under an agreement with the state of Illinois.

Reach reporter James Bruggers at 502-582-4645 and at jbruggers@courier-journal.com.

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