People in Estill County want radioactive waste removed from landfill

ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- Some people in Estill County are asking the state to rethink a plan that would leave more than a thousand tons of illegally dumped radioactive waste in an Estill County landfill.

Gina Hatton lives just down the road from the Blue Ridge Landfill.

“I’m just, I’m very concerned. It’s scary. It’s very scary,” said Hatton.

Hatton is just one of dozens of Estill County residents asking the state to remove thousands of tons of radioactive waste illegally dumped into the landfill back in 2015.

“What could happen down the road if it were to be able to leach out of the landfill, get into our streams or into the air and so forth,” said Tom Bonny, with Concerned Citizens of Estill County.

That’s why this group is pleading with the state not to accept an action plan that would keep the waste where it is.

“I mean it’s going to affect us if it leaks out. We’re going to pay the price for it,” said Hatton.

One of Hatton’s main concerns with leaving the waste in this landfill is its proximity to many Estill County Schools including the high school which is just across the street.

“My oldest one still has two more years to go. Youngest one will just be starting high school so he’s got four more. You know and I’m just very uneasy about them being that close to this,” said Hatton.

The company that created the action plan also tested the waste and says it believes it would be safer to keep the waste buried rather than dig it up and move it but people here aren’t so sure of that.

“Given all the uncertainties about how hot the materiel is, the radio-logical activity of this material. We don’t think it’s just to burden this community for generations to come,” said Mary Comer, the lawyer representing the Concerned Citizens of Estill County.

It’s those generations to come that is motivating people like Hatton to fight to get this waste out of their county.

“Oh yeah. Why was this allowed to happen? You know the potential of what it can do, can cause, is that worth money? Is that worth peoples lives?” said Hatton.

It is now up to the state’s energy and environment cabinet to decide whether to approve the current plan to leave the waste where it is or ask for a revised plan that could include full removal.

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