Norfolk Southern contractor accused of dumping hazardous waste at Scott County landfill

Norfolk Southern contractor accused of dumping hazardous waste at Scott County landfill

Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel, January 30, 2013
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A Norfolk Southern Corp. contractor dumped hazardous waste at a Scott County landfill in December, and now the company is working to clean up the mess and move the soil to an appropriate location, according to state officials.

Shannon Ashford, a communications officer with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said that on Jan. 3 it was discovered that Domermuth Environmental Services, a contractor responsible for transporting nonhazardous soil to Volunteer Regional Landfill in Oneida, Tenn., had “accidentally transported and disposed of the hazardous waste soil pile” from the Coster Shop site in Knoxville, where Norfolk Southern’s bulk transfer facility is under construction.

Ashford said the disposal of about 275 cubic yards of soil with hazardous constituents, namely tetrachloroethylene, took place between Dec. 26-28.

Ashford said the contamination was discovered at the landfill by a second Norfolk Southern contractor — AMEC — when a stormwater sediment basin was excavated.

Susan Terpay, a spokeswoman with Norfolk Southern, said the mistake was made because of “a miscommunication between a consultant and contractor.”

“As soon as we were made aware of it, we alerted the authorities and we have a work plan to begin remediation, which is under way,” she said.

Ashford said Norfolk Southern plans to dig the contaminated soil out of the cell and segregate it for disposal at a permitted site.

Ashford said staff in TDEC’s Division of Solid Waste Management’s enforcement section “continues to assess the incident” and will make the decision regarding if/when to assess a fine or penalty.

She said TDEC has not received any reports of health problems from the hazardous waste.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website, tetrachloroethylene is widely used for dry-cleaning fabrics and metal degreasing operations. Acute and chronic inhalation exposure to tetrachloroethylene may lead to neurological, liver and kidney damage.

Volunteer Regional Landfill is owned and operated by Waste Connections, Ashford said.


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