Despite objections, cleanup waste moves to Pecan Grove landfill - - The News for South Mississippi

Despite objections, cleanup waste moves to Pecan Grove landfill


By A.J. Giardina – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - First, oil made its way on our beaches, and now, oil is making its way into our landfill. Waste Management is now transporting and disposing of oil spill cleanup waste in the Pecan Grove landfill in Harrison County, over strong objections of County officials.

The tar balls, oily sand and other material are scooped up from the beach, bagged and dumped into Waste Management containers.

When they leave the beach, they're going to the company's Pecan Grove landfill in Harrison County. The company said the landfill is fully permitted and equipped to receive and dispose of the oil waste.

In a statement, the company said, "the content of cleanup waste has been analyzed, screened and profiled under prevailing regulations for proper waste disposal and deemed non-hazardous."

Several weeks ago, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing any plans by Waste Management to use Pecan Grove for oil-related waste. Tuesday, the supervisors instructed the board attorney to issue subpoenas.

The first containers of oily waste have been picked up from our beaches and are now being dumped into the Pecan Grove landfill.

For weeks, the facility has been a staging area for the containers where clean up crews disposed of the beach mess they pick up. Ken Haldin is the Waste Management Public Affairs Director.

"Material that has been collected at the shoreline and then properly logged and brought to a staging area, now goes to a final disposal at a properly approved landfill," Ken Haldin said.

Haldin said residents in South Mississippi don't have to be alarmed.

"This is deemed non-hazarded waste. It's been thoroughly analyzed and accessed both by the agencies that are involved, as well as others who have oversight, whether it be state as well as federal oversight."

Harrison County Supervisor Connie Rocko along with other county officials are upset over the dumping.

"If it is so safe, why are people in protective suits and gloves picking it up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Rocko asked. "If it's safe, why is that happening?"

Rocko said BP should have come up with other ways of dealing with the oil waste.

"We have waste to energy. We have recycling, so many technologies out there that BP should have been investigating, as well as taking our advice and our pleas to them to please dispose of this in a proper manner," Rocko said.

So what move can Harrison County make to put a halt to the dumping?

"I believe the attorneys will get involved. We will try our best to stop anymore waste going into the Waste Management landfill," Rocko said.

Haldin said if anyone has questions concerning the dumping, Waste Management will listen.

"We continuously communicate with our neighbors. We have overtime. This landfill has been here a long time and want to continue to do that," Haldin said. "It's always been an open door for us for people to express their concerns."

"They've not responded," Harrison County Attorney Tim Holleman said. "Under Mississippi law, this board has the right to issue subpoenas to request that Waste Management appear and respond to the board's request."

In its statement, Waste Management reiterated that the Pecan Grove facility "is fully permitted and equipped to receive and dispose of this non-hazardous waste under Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality regulations and requirements."

Waste management officials said they are willing to listen to any concerns that the supervisors have.

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