Gulf residents fear contaminated landfills

Aug. 3, 2010 at 4:34 PM
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MIAMI, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Residents in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast communities and oil cleanup workers say they fear the cleanup is contaminating landfill dumps.

The tar balls, oil-saturated boom and oily sand and sea grass are buried in the same landfills as ordinary refuse, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

Since June, when nearly 40,000 tons of oily solids and related detritus went to municipal landfills, local people became upset enough that BP agreed to stop dumping in one Mississippi landfill, the Herald said.

"They tell us: 'It's not bad. It's not hazardous,''' said Christopher Malloy, whose wife's business sports a sign reading "Oil in Gulf -- Bad. Oil in landfill/well water not bad? What!'' to indicate his opposition to dumping oil-related debris in the Pecan Grove landfill in Harrison County, Miss.

Malloy, 39, said he worries that the oil's toxic chemicals could seep into his groundwater drinking supply.

The federal government has developed a 34-page waste management plan to have BP contractors bag solid oily waste and transfer it to area landfills by such waste management corporations as Heritage Environmental Services in Louisiana, Waste Management Inc. in Mississippi and Republic Services in the Florida Keys and Miami, the Herald said.

The U.S. EPA and each state's environmental protection agency have approved the plans for the solid oily waste.

Landfill operators say the BP garbage is suitable for the selected landfills.

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