UPDATE: Hurricane landfill no longer receiving MCHM waste water - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

UPDATE: Hurricane landfill no longer receiving MCHM waste water

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According to Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards, a local landfill is no longer receiving MCHM waste water.

Mayor Edwards told 13 News that he received a call from the Director of Public Affairs for Waste Management at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15, telling him that they have ceased receiving anymore MCHM waste into their landfill in Hurricane.

Keep checking wowktv.com for more details on this developing story.



The mayor of Hurricane, WV said he wants to stop a dumping process at a local landfill.

"MCHM tainted water has been transported into a Hurricane landfill and no one was told. Nobody said a word to anybody," Mayor Scott Edwards said.

The company responsible for a massive chemical leak, Freedom Industries, started transporting waste water to the Disposal Services, Inc. Landfill on March 7, according to Tom Aluise, a spokesperson for the West Virginia Dept. Of Environmental Protection. The waste water comes from the original leak site, as well as Poca Blending in Nitro.

As of Wednesday, trucks hauled more than 36,000 gallons of water tainted by MCHM, which is the chemical that contaminated the Elk River in January.

Edwards said neither regulators nor the landfill, owned by Waste Management, notified the city.

"It looks like a cover up it. It looks like people are hiding information," Edwards said. "It doesn't make any sense to me.'

13 News received several complaints about the infamous black licorice odor in Hurricane this week. Inspectors from the WVDEP's Division of Air Quality visited the site to investigate odor complaints between Wednesday and Thursday. They determined the odor originates from the wastewater. As of Thursday, the company has not received any violations.

Crews must solidify the water with sawdust before dumping, according to Aluise. The DEP modified DSI's permit in February 2014. According to documents obtained by 13 News, the permit allows Freedom to dispose for up to 100 tons of waste until October 2014. 

Aluise explained the modification lets Freedom Industries dispose a material not typically dumped at DSI. When asked why the DEP failed to inform the public about the dumping, Aluise deferred to a scheduling issue. He said the DEP does not classify MCHM as a hazardous material.

"I wasn't sure exactly of the time frame of when it was going to be delivered to the landfill, so based on that it wasn't a good schedule for me to follow," he said.

People in the city of Hurricane receive their drinking water from three major outlets: Putnam Public Service District, the City of Hurricane, or West Virginia American Water Company. Edwards assured residents that the dumping does not affect the area's drinking water.

"I don't want the public to think their drinking water will be affected because it absolutely won't be," Edwards said. "But the airborne chemical scares me to death."

Putnam PSD tweeted several assurances to followers Thursday. "PPSD tap water is safe from & immune to anything in DSI landfill as their leachate ends up in a separate watershed than ours," the message read.

Aluise said the landfill is "heavily" regulated by the state: lining protects the ground from contamination, as well as leak detection systems and groundwell monitoring.  Any material that leaches through the landfill would be piped to Hurricane's waste water treatment facility.

City workers tell 13 News they detected a strong licorice odor at the plant on Wednesday, miles away from the landfill.

"We don't know if [MCHM] is in the plant," said Michael Plumley, the chief operator at Hurricane's waste water treatment plant. "We're going to do testing to see if it is in the plant."

The city released treated water into Hurricane Creek, which flows to the Kanawha River. Plumley said he's unsure if the leachate traveled through the pipes to the treatment. But he, like Edwards, wishes he knew about the process up at DSI.

"I don't know that we've ever had this big a worry," Plumley said.

Waste Management sent this statement to 13 News:

"We certainly recognize the sensitivities and want to assure everyone that the waste coming into DSI Landfill is non-hazardous. 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 by definition 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."