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WCSWA Members Raise Drilling Waste Concerns

By Staff | Nov 3, 2015

Members of the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority approached the county commissioners regarding the disposal of drilling waste in the Wetzel County Landfill.

The solid waste authority members are concerned that the drilling waste that has been dumped in the landfill could cause harm to the land and those in the area. Another point that was touched on was the possible contamination of the Ohio River.

Bill Hughes passed out several articles from local publications elaborating the fact that drilling waste disposal has been a hot topic. Some of the concerns about drilling waste has been not only the environmental affects but road conditions and regulations.

Solid waste authority member Steve Conlin said the solid waste authority was concerned about what is being put in the river. The moisture drained out of the landfills, leachate, goes to the water treatment plant, which then goes into surface streams and rivers. Conlin expressed concern that this material being processed into the river could contain radioactive materials.

“We are the only landfill, that takes drill cuttings, whose leachate goes into the river,” Conlin said. “At other landfills it goes to a publicly operated treatment works, a waste water plant.”

Commissioner Donald Mason inquired as to whether the solid waste authority had gotten any cooperation from Lackawanna.

“We don’t have a dialogue with Lackawanna,” Mark Cochran of the WCSWA stated. “The only way we speak to them is both sides hire lawyers. We are trying to establish a dialogue. I think the road is open there to do that.”

The two entities have had a case before the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding the WCSWA’s opposition toward drilling waste disposal at the landfill. The solid waste authority’s reasoning against the disposal of drilling waste included the fear the waste could be radioactive, as well as a fear that the landfill’s lifespan could decrease substantially.

Fellow Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority member Mark Cochran also spoke before the commissioners to dispute some of the remarks that Hughes made in his presentation.

“I keep hearing this thought that everyone is against us, that the people in Charleston don’t care,” Cochran said, adding he’d like to see proof of such.

“We are more informed (on drilling waste) because we have activists that care … that has manifested itself into the solid waste authority’s business. “If we are antagonistic and keep after people and pester people and burn bridges with people, then it is pretty hard to get things done.”

Cochran also added that he feels that it is time to work with Lackawanna rather than work against them.

“There’s a 25 year history of legal skirmishes . . . every opportunity appealing and every opportunity intervening. At times you intervene and figure out what a case is, and then you appeal and figure out what a case is . . . I think we need to go in a different direction,” Mason said.

Mason added that the commission had not seen the other side of the arguments.

While Conlin stated that they have never asked anyone for money, Mason is concerned that money is being spent in wrong direction.

“I just would like to see a little more teamwork. We don’t have any regulatory authority over you but wanted to make our concerns felt,” said Mason.