Public forum to address radioactive waste concerns

ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – There’s a public forum Tuesday night about the low-level radioactive waste that was reportedly illegally dumped in a landfill in Estill County.

The forum will be held at 6:00 p.m. at Estill County High School. County and state leaders along with officials from the landfill will be speaking to the community.

The state didn’t notify Estill County officials for at least two weeks after learning that low-level radioactive waste was reportedly illegally dumped in Blue Ridge Landfill, which is across from two schools.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health says the reason the state didn’t tell Estill County officials as soon as it learned of the illegal dumping is because the state radiation branch did an assessment at the site and didn’t find any above normal radiation levels, so there wasn’t any risk to the public.

Estill County officials say they weren’t told until last Thursday, February 25, that 1,500 tons of low-level radioactive waste had been illegally dumped in the landfill across from the county high school and middle school.

A West Virginia-based company is accused of dumping the waste by container from July 2015 to November 2015, according to Estill County officials but the judge-executive believes some may have been dumped as recently as two weeks ago.

The state says it doesn’t believe there is an ongoing health risk at the site because the material is buried. The state did say had there been any health risk at all, the county would have been notified immediately.

The judge-executive ordered a private company to run independent tests. Similar to the state tests, the independent tests showed no short-term effects but the judge-executive is worried about the future.

Both Estill County and the state agree there is still a lot to figure out, including if the people who work at the landfill are at risk and if so, what kind of exposure to the radioactive waste.
The public forum scheduled for Tuesday, March 1, at 6:00 p.m., at Estill County High School.

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