Attorney general joins investigations into illegal dumping of radioactive waste

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear. Photo provided.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that his office is investigating radioactive waste disposal in landfills in two counties.

“I am deeply troubled by allegations involving the transporting and illegal disposal of radioactive waste in Boyd and Estill counties,” Beshear said in a statement.

“As attorney general, protecting Kentucky families is my top priority, so I am particularly troubled that the Blue Ridge Landfill in Irvine allegedly containing these hazardous materials is located across the road from two schools. To the concerned parents in the community, I promise we are giving this investigation our full attention, and we share your concerns.”

Beshear said his office was working closely with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and other state, local and federal officials.

Landfills in Estill and Boyd counties were cited last week for accepting low-level radioactive waste, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. The Estill County landfill is across the road from the county’s only high school and middle school.

Advanced Disposal Services Blue Ridge Landfill Inc. in Estill County and Green Valley Landfill General Partnership in Boyd County each received a notice of violations from the cabinet.

Blue Ridge Landfill was accused of using inaccurate reporting in a quarterly report, disposing of unpermitted waste and failure to document the source of radioactive waste, according to the cabinet.

Green Valley Landfill was accused of accepting 368.5 tons of low-level radioactive waste and failing to properly document the source of the waste.

The suspected violations of each landfill will be referred to the division of enforcement for action, according to the environment cabinet.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services also recently announced that it had issued a cease-and-desist letter to Advanced TENORM Services, which is based out of West Liberty. The company is accused of importing, transporting, treating, storing and depositing radioactive material since June 2015. Advanced TENORM Services could face criminal penalties and fines up to $100,000.

State officials say the waste was a common, naturally occurring material resulting from oil and gas-drilling activities. When it is processed to recover brine, the radionuclides present in the soil and rocks become concentrated.