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MCHM Water Dumping Leads To Licorice Odor Complaints At Hurricane Landfill

Reported: Mar. 13, 2014 9:12 AM EDT
Updated: Mar. 13, 2014 6:06 PM EDT

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HURRICANE, W.Va. (Jeff Morris, Bob Aaron) -- Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards and community residents are upset over legal chemical dumping at a local landfill. Their concerns center on the largely unknown health effects of Crude MCHM.

Inspectors from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Air Quality responded to licorice odor complaints on Wednesday regarding the Disposal Services Inc. landfill on Route 34 in Hurricane.

It was determined the odor was associated with the approved disposal of solidified wastewater that is being transferred by Freedom Industries from its Poca Blending facility in Nitro to the landfill, according to a news release from the agency. A portion of the wastewater collected from the Freedom Industries’ spill site on the Kanawha River is being stored at Poca Blending and contains some amounts of MCHM.

Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards has voiced concern about the material being transported to the landfill. He said residents along Route 60 and Route 34 have complained about smelling licorice in the air.

Before being deposited into the landfill, the wastewater is mixed with saw dust to create a solid material, the DEP said. The landfill is lined and equipped with a leak detection system and groundwater monitoring wells. All leachate collected from the landfill is sent to a wastewater treatment facility prior to discharge.

The DEP’s Division of Water and Waste Management approved the landfill’s request last month for a minor permit modification to accept the wastewater. The landfill can accept the material until October 2014.

The Division of Air Quality did not issue an odor violation to the landfill as a result of its investigation, the DEP said.

A spokeswoman for Waste Management responded to inquiries about the company's landfill.

"We certainly recognize the sensitivities and want to assure everyone that the waste coming into DSI Landfill is non-hazardous," Amanda Marks-Cunningham said in astatement. "The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) approves the waste stream which comes into Waste Management's DSI Landfill and DSI Landfill is only accepting waste in accordance with its permit. The WVDEP has determined the waste in question that is currently being taken in at our DSI landfill is NOT a hazardous product. We will continue to utilize best practices to ensure there is no potential harm to the environment or the community in which we operate."

HURRICANE, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) – Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards said he has been notified that large amounts of water containing MCHM residue from the chemical leak that affected West Virginia American Water Co.'s water source is being transferred by tanker trucks to a landfill in Hurricane.

“From what I've heard, the DEP modified the landfill's permit and do not consider this product hazardous as they are solidifying the MCHM containing liquid prior to it being dumped in the landfill, but I have my concerns,” Edwards said in a Facebook post. “Not notifying me or others in the county really infuriates me. Folks along Route 60 and Route 34 have been smelling licorice in the air, which is what brought this to light. If they would not have reported the smell, they would have continued to dump this substance in the landfill without telling local officials, which is just bad practice.”

Edwards said the water has been transported to the landfill since March 7 and he is going to do what he can to stop this from continuing.

“I have a feeling that I will be met with deaf ears and it will continue. While I am not a chemist, I know that I do not want this material entering a local landfill, entering into the ground, then the leachate from the landfill entering our waste water treatment plant, then ultimately entering Hurricane Creek,” he said.

The mayor said the runoff and the leachate cannot reach the city's public water supply watershed. There is no danger of the runoff or leachate entering into our municipal water system from the landfill, Edwards said, but he said did not know what other dangers exist by them dumping this MCHM waste water into a local landfill.

Edwards urged people to contact Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office to protest the water being taken to the landfill and ask that the practice be halted.

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