Estill County running tests on landfill, schools

Published: Feb. 28, 2016 at 3:52 PM EST
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It's been a stressful few days for Estill County leaders like Judge Executive Wallace Taylor.

This after radioactive waste from operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were illegally sent to the Blue Ridge Landfill between July and November of last year.

This leaves Taylor with many unanswered questions like, "why would they do that?"

Until that question can be answered, Taylor just wants to make sure this never happens again.

"I'm not blaming the landfill one hundred percent for this, not whatsoever," explains Taylor. "There has to be a better way to monitor this type of situation."

A situation county leaders say they are taking very seriously, especially with the high school and middle school sitting a stones through away.

"We want to assure the public that there is no danger to the students," says Taylor.

The judge says they're just not going to look over the area where the radioactive waste was dumped, but he says they're going to cover every inch of the landfill to make sure there is no health threat to the public.

To make sure this is true, on Friday the county hired a state agency to come run some tests on the schools.

"They're findings are very much what we expected," explains Arthur Ballard. "There's no evidence of any contamination on our grounds."

Ballard is the Director of Operations of Estill County Schools. He says just to be sure, both the county and school leaders wanted a second opinion. That's why today they hired an independent group to check out the schools once again.

"When we're able to back that up with sound research and testing that makes us feel better about what we're doing," says Ballard.

The independent agency also spent the majority of the afternoon running tests in the landfill.

Although Taylor believes there is no danger to the public, he wants to be 100 percent sure. This while he tries to figure out how 16 to 18 hundred tons of radioactive waste illegally made its way past the gate.

"It may take a few more days, but we will find out. I will not stop until we do."

Taylor tells WKYT that all of the testing has cost the county over 10 thousand dollars. He says the landfill will reimburse the county for those costs.

The landfill has also hired an agency to look over the area. They will be running radiation tests this week.