From the Cortez Journal (Mary Shinn):
The Montezuma County landfill has taken a proactive measure to help save taxpayers any unnecessary expense when disposing of nonhazardous waste from the Red Arrow mill in Mancos.
Landfill manager Deb Barton recently requested clarification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about accepting any non-hazardous waste from the federal Superfund site. Acting as a concerned citizen, Barton said she sought the clarification in order to help lower waste disposal transportation costs associated with the cleanup effort.
“Why pay an extra 50, 60 or 70 miles of transportation when we’re basically 20 miles from Mancos?” she asked. “If this will reduce the cost to taxpayers, isn’t that my responsibility as a citizen?”
“The EPA is going to tear down everything at the mill, and they would like to keep any non-hazardous material as close as possible,” she said.
After an environmental investigation by state authorities, the EPA issued a temporary 60-day permit for the landfill on Feb. 28. Barton said state and federal laws prohibit the landfill from accepting anything but non-hazardous and non-liquid waste only.
“We’ve been certified to meet EPA standards,” said Barton. “Does that mean they can bring the material to me willy-nilly? No. They have to prove that it is non-hazardous.”
Barton said a certified EPA lab report stating the waste was not hazardous would have to be produced before receiving any non-hazardous waste from Red Arrow. Any mercury tainted waste from the milling site must be less than 0.2 parts per million, and any lead or arsenic polluted material must be less than 5 parts per million, she said.
“The EPA will test everything that comes out of the milling site, because they don’t want another Superfund site along the way,” Barton said. “The EPA would not allow any waste to come that doesn’t meet their standards, so I’m not going to screw the pooch either.”
Because of the EPA lab results, Barton said she remained confident that no hazardous material would ever enter the local landfill. She added that nearby archeological sites, ranchers and ordinary citizens also have nothing to fear.
“If the waste doesn’t have that EPA lab report, then it will be going someplace else,” Barton said. “I’m not going to take any hazardous material.”
More Montezuma County coverage here.