Residents near landfill object to oil waste dumping - - The News for South Mississippi

Residents near landfill object to oil waste dumping

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email 

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - In the next ten days, Harrison County will bring in a testing team to determine if the tar balls being dumped at the Pecan Grove landfill are hazardous.

Waste Management says the material is non-hazardous and it's already testing the tar balls.

On Thursday, the county's attorney sent a letter asking Waste Management for documentation of what is being dumped into the landfill and any testing that has been done to prove that the waste is non-hazardous material.

Board attorney Tim Holleman says Harrison County is testing the oily waste and added, "An environmental consultant has been asked to do testing of his own on the materials coming up on our beaches and marshes to determine if it is hazardous. And to be quite frank with you, my initial conversation with them is, they're a little bit mystified about how somebody can say this is non-hazardous also."

He said if the oil waste proves to be hazardous, the county supervisors will take whatever steps necessary to keep oil out of the landfill.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Waste Management told WLOX that residents living around the Pecan Grove landfill in Harrison County don't have to be alarmed.

Ken Haldin said the oil waste collected from our beaches and now being dumped in the landfill is non-hazardous.

Homeowners are upset after learning that Waste Management began dumping the oil waste into the Pecan Grove landfill.

Don Carter said, "They need to stop it now."

Carter lives near the Pecan Grove landfill off Firetower Road.  He has his own plan for the disposal of the oil waste.

"Why not put it on a barge and send it back to the people that caused the problem? I live here now and you could imagine what it's going to do to the water table later on down the line."

Carter isn't the only one who would like to see it shipped overseas.  Rowena Gubieni said, "Send it back Britain, because it was BP who had the problem and I just don't like the idea of it going out here in the landfill, especially when there's wells around."

Steve Domingue and his wife own a little grocery store in Harrison County.  He wants the oil dumping stopped. 

"Positively, it should not be here. They should not be here in the neighborhood," he said with anguish.

Domingue, like most people in this area, get their water from wells. So they worry about the long term impact of oil and tar waste. 

"It sort of ticks me off because it's very close to me and I'm afraid it's going to mess my water system up, my well," he said. "I've got headaches already, so I don't want that there."

The Pecan Grove landfill is less than a mile from George Graham's home.  

"I'm sure no one wants their well water to be contaminated and there's no guarantee that BP or Pecan Grove can guarantee it won't be contaminated," Graham said.

But Waste Management spokesman Ken Haldin says the company can make that guarantee.

"This is non-hazardous waste and this is an appropriate landfill for this type of material to be disposed of," Haldin said.

Pecan Grove is approved by the state and federal government to accept this kind of waste, and Haldin promises the material has been tested to ensure safety.

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