UPDATE: WVDEP Responds to Hurricane Landfill after Licorice Odor Complaints

By: WSAZ News Staff; Dan Griffin Email
By: WSAZ News Staff; Dan Griffin Email

UPDATE 3/13/14 @ 6:00 p.m.
HURRICANE, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- There is growing concern about how the wastewater from the Freedom Industries spill site is being disposed of.

WSAZ.com has learned tens of thousands of gallons of water with MCHM residue in it has been dumped at Disposal Services, Inc. landfill on Route 34 in Hurricane.

Department of Environmental Protection officials estimate about 40,000 gallons of wastewater, including some amounts of MCHM, have been trucked into the landfill in Hurricane.

Now, neighbors are frustrated and Hurricane's mayor, who said he knew nothing about it, wants to stop it.

The smell of licorice is filling the air in some parts of Hurricane and Mayor Scott Edwards isn't happy.

"Freedom Industries is indeed transporting lots and lots of waste water with MCHM in it," said Mayor Edwards.

The wastewater is being taken to DSI landfill off Route 34. Mayor Edwards said he only found out after odor complaints lit up the phones at the city's fire department.

"We were never officially notified, we still haven't been officially notified," said Mayor Edwards.

Devonna Parsons lives right next to the landfill and she knows the smell.

"The other day when it was in the 70's it was so strong that I had to bring the kids in from playing," said Devonna Parsons.

With each truck she sees drive in, her frustration grows.

"They drive up the hill, do their thing and drive out like it's another day," said Parsons.

Other neighbors are just as upset.

"I don't like it and I don't think anyone that lives in the area likes it," said Philip Ellis.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said this comes after DSI landfill requested a permit modification to allow up to 100 tons of the wastewater to be disposed there.

DEP officials said it is mixed with sawdust to solidify it.

But neighbors and city officials are concerned about the chemical entering Hurricane Creek.

"We don't have the capacity or the knowledge to treat MCHM, we never have, we didn't even know it existed," said Edwards.

"I worry about it even getting into the yard here," said Parsons.

DEP officials said the landfill is lined and also has a leak detection system and they don't believe there is a threat of the chemical getting into the water.

NewsChannel 3 reached out to DSI landfill for comment, they did not return our calls.

Hurricane's mayor said he's already reached out to the governor's office and the DEP about the situation.

He said his biggest concern is how much more wastewater will be trucked in before anything changes.

DEP officials said this is the only facility where the wastewater is being taken right now.

But they said it's not the final option. They also said Freedom Industries is looking at other waste facilities in West Virginia and outside of the state.

UPDATE 3/13/14 @ 11:50 a.m.
HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says their Division of Air Quality responded to licorice odor complaints at a landfill in Hurricane Wednesday.

Investigators say the complaints were reported at Disposal Services Inc. landfill on Route 34.

Investigators say 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 DSI. 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.

Before being deposited into the landfill, the DEP says the wastewater is mixed with saw dust to create a solid material.

The DSI landfill is lined and equipped with a leak detection system and groundwater monitoring wells, according to officials. They say all leachate collected from the landfill is sent to a wastewater treatment facility prior to discharge.

The WVDEP Division of Water and Waste Management approved DSI's request last month for a Minor Permit Modification to accept the wastewater. DSI can accept the material until October of 2014.

The DAQ did not issue an odor violation to DSI as a result of its investigation.

Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards spoke out on the issue Wednesday. Read the story below to see his comments.

ORIGINAL STORY 3/12/14 @ 11:30 p.m.
HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards spoke out about the water crisis that contaminated the drinking supply for about 300,000 people across parts of nine West Virginia counties.

Edwards told WSAZ.com on Wednesday night he had just learned that large amounts of water containing residue of the chemical MCHM is being transferred by tanker trucks to a landfill in Hurricane -- and has been since March. 7.

While Edwards said there is no way for the runoff to reach the city's public water system, he said he simply doesn't want the chemical in the city.

Edwards urges people who live in Hurricane to call Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to put a stop to the transfer.

Mayor Scott Edwards Posted Statement on Facebook
I was just notified that large amounts of water containing MCHM residue from the chemical leak that affected WV American Water Company's water source is being transferred by tanker trucks to a landfill in Hurricane, and has been since March 7th.

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. Not notifying me or others in the county really infuriates me. Folks along Rt 60 and Rt 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.

I am going to do what I can to stop this from continuing, but 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.

The runoff and the leachate CAN NOT 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, but I do not know what other dangers exist by them dumping this MCHM waste water into a local landfill.

I would ask each and everyone of you to immediately call the Office of the Governor at (304) 558-2000 and protest this action and ask him to take steps to stop it.

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