Environment

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is launching an investigation into allegations that several Eastern Kentucky companies illegally transported and disposed of radioactive waste.

Last week, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced they were taking enforcement action against a company they say brought low-level radioactive waste into the state and two landfills that accepted it.

The waste — called Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, or TENORM — was believed to be from out-of-state oil and gas drilling operations.

Beshear said in a statement:

“I am deeply troubled by allegations involving the transporting and illegal disposal of radioactive waste in Boyd and Estill counties. My office has launched an investigation into the matter, working closely with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and other state, local and federal officials. As Attorney General, protecting Kentucky families is my top priority, so I am particularly troubled that the Blue Ridge Landfill in Irvine allegedly containing these hazardous materials is located across the road from two schools. To the concerned parents in the community, I promise we are giving this investigation our full attention, and we share your concerns.”

The Blue Ridge Landfill is operated by Advanced Disposal. The company said in a statement that it hadn’t been presented with any proof that the landfill actually had accepted TENORM, and that the landfill’s customer had certified the waste was non-hazardous.

“Prior to accepting this waste, Advanced Disposal received a waste profile sheet in which the customer certified that the material was ‘non-hazardous exploration and production soil and debris.’ The customer expressly certified that ‘the waste does not contain radioactive waste as defined by State or Federal Regulations.’ The landfill only agreed to dispose of materials that conformed to the certified and approved profile and did not agree to accept for disposal any waste which did not conform to the description and specifications set forth in the profile.”