Oil waste brought to Pecan Grove landfill

By MELISSA M. SCALLAN – mmscallan@sunherald.com

PASS CHRISTIAN

Waste Management began dumping oil-coated materials from Coast beaches into the Pecan Grove landfill Wednesday. It is permitted to do that, but local officials have lobbied against it.

The disposal of the waste came a day after Harrison County supervisors agreed to subpoena representatives from the company to appear at its July 26 meeting, but Waste Management officials said it is a coincidence.

“It’s unrelated,” said Ken Haldin, director of communications for Waste Management. “We completed our process, and that led to our actions this week. It was a coincidence of timing.”

Supervisor Kim Savant disagrees.

“It absolutely pulled the trigger,” he said. “Why did we get an e-mail about this after we decided to subpoena them? I think they decided they could do it and they were going to. Waste Management’s interest in this is dollars.”

Waste Management has a disposal contract with the Harrison County Utility Authority that expires in August 2015. Garbage is picked up by another company and brought to the Pecan Grove landfill.

Before the oil spill started in April, Waste Management had a permit to accept nonhazardous solid waste at Pecan Grove.

The company signed a contract with BP to dispose of oil-related waste from Mississippi and stage containers at the landfill, which later were brought to areas of the beach where oil was found.

About two weeks ago, workers began collecting oil waste, which was tested for toxicity, from the beach along the Coast.

The containers were brought to holding areas after they were filled with debris, but not to the landfill until Wednesday because Waste Management officials said they first wanted the go-ahead from the Department of Environmental Quality.

DEQ Director Trudy Fisher said last week as long as the material wasn’t hazardous, Waste Management could accept it at the landfill without any special permission.

Mark Williams, an administrator in the DEQ Solid Waste Division, said his office reviewed the tests performed on the material and found it wasn’t hazardous, and told Waste Management that Friday afternoon. He said the company might have construed that as the permission it wanted.

“We’re not happy with waste going into our landfill,” Williams said. “This is a terrible environmental tragedy.

“All we communicated to them is that we finished the review and didn’t find any basis to keep it out of the landfill.”

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/07/07/2315953/oil-waste-brought-to-pecan-grove.html#ixzz0t5goWkpg

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