City supports cleanup plan

Commissioners worry that hazardous waste will get into the aquifer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting public comments on proposed plans for cleaning up the Tremont City Barrel Fill until July 30.

The barrel fill was a licensed hazardous waste dump from 1976 to 1980. Environmental regulations have since changed and it is now a Superfund site. The EPA has been looking at cleanup options for nearly a decade.

City commissioners discussed the proposed cleanup plans on Tuesday with Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson. They passed a resolution supporting one plan, Alternative 4A, and not supporting another option, Alternative 9A.

Alternative 4A calls for removing all of the hazardous waste and taking it to a licensed facility for treatment and disposal, then reburying the nonhazardous solid waste on site in Tremont City. That plan could cost the companies responsible for the waste $45 million to $57 million.

Alternative 9A was recently proposed by one of the potentially responsible companies. It calls for digging up the barrels, staging them on site and then reburying the hazardous solid waste in Tremont City in a lined landfill. That option could cost $28 million, although Patterson believes it will be more because the estimates don’t account for future monitoring and maintenance.

That leaves contamination on site, Patterson said, in a landfill that doesn’t meet standards for storing hazardous waste.

Trace amounts of the chemicals in the barrel fill have been found in the aquifer, Patterson said.

“We cannot allow it to ruin our water supply,” he said.

Commissioner Kevin O’Neill agreed, saying water quality is key to quality of life and the economy.

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