RUSSELLVILLE, Ind. — Residents who live around a massive toxic waste landfill in northern Putnam County got the chance to ask questions and voice their concerns to employees with Heritage Environment, which operates the landfill, in a town hall-style meeting Wednesday.
The meeting filled the tiny gymnasium at the Russellville Community Center where the meeting got heated several times with residents upset that contaminated soil from the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment was brought to Indiana.
When Heritage representatives said to the crowd gathered that three truckloads of soil had already been dumped into the landfill, that resulted in lots of boos and jeers.
“The most environmentally responsible thing to do with this material is to bring it to this facility,” said one Heritage worker among the boos. “We’re not poisoning you. The material is isolated in one of the most protected landfills in the country.”
The workers were also asked how many more truckloads of soil they expected to arrive. The workers said they are not sure, but that they do expect somewhere in the ballpark of 2,000 tons of contaminated soil.
“All the elements in that soil are well below the limits that we are allowed to accept at the landfill here in Roachdale,” said another landfill worker.
Many residents were concerned that the waste could leak into the local environment, specifically the area’s watershed.
“The landfill, that’s why it’s specifically designed the way it is,” said another worker. “It’s to keep those contaminates in one permanent spot forever. It would never get out into the environment. It would never get out into anyone’s water supply.”
Other residents pointed out and pressed the workers about recent violations that the EPA found at the landfill. Those violations, as it turns out, are for labeling issues for material at the plant for 12 straight quarters. So far no penalties have been given to the landfill regarding those violations.
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