Chemical disposal ban case at landfill dismissed

CHARLESTON (AP) — A judge on Friday dismissed a challenge to a wastewater permit at a Putnam County landfill after the company voluntarily ended the transport of the wastewater from a Charleston chemical spill.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib dismissed the case Friday, citing the Department of Environmental Protection’s move to grant Waste Management’s request to stop the transport to the landfill. The water containing traces of the chemical that spilled Jan. 9 at Freedom Industries, contaminating 300,000 people’s drinking water for days.

On Monday, Zakaib issued a temporary ban against the DEP from allowing wastewater to be dumped at the Disposal Services landfill in Hurricane.

Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards said Friday the issue of removing wastewater already dumped at the landfill remains to be worked out. He said that could include a lawsuit if necessary. The city and the Putnam County Commission went to court because they weren’t told about the dumping.

“We feel that they made a major mistake when they brought it here,” Edwards said.

After the January spill, the DEP ordered Freedom to remove all chemicals from the Charleston site. But when Freedom began transferring to a facility in Nitro, officials declared that facility unsafe.

The DEP had approved the Disposal Services landfill to accept up to 100 tons of the wastewater through October, provided it was mixed with sawdust. The landfill had received about 40,000 gallons of wastewater from the Nitro site.

But Putnam County officials started receiving complaints March 12 from residents near the landfill about the chemical’s tell-tale licorice odor, prompting the court action.

DEP spokesman Tom Aluise said about 700,000 gallons of wastewater containing crude MCHM awaits to be transported from the Freedom Industry site along the Elk River. The wastewater, such as storm water, water from snowmelt, and off-site drainage running onto the property, collects in ditches and other control devices at the facility.

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