At the EPA meeting in Waycross about the Seven Out Superfund site, EPA, GA EPD, and state health officials also had information about crossover contamination in Lowndes County.
Matthew J. Huyser, On-Scene Coordinator for U.S. EPA, told me that before EPA shipped those 196,500 gallons of wastewater from Seven Out to the Pecan Row Landfill in Lowndes County they had applied procedures that were supposed to ensure those liquids were no longer toxic and had tested them to be sure. He said he would send me the specifics on that. I didn’t ask him whether CSX toxic wastes were shipped to Lowndes County.
Huyser also said EPA had checked the record of that receiving landfill before sending anything there, and it had a good record. He seemed surprised to learn of the $27,500 fine from GA EPD for PCBs to that same landfill. He asked if that was after the shipments from Waycross. I said yes, early this year. He said nonetheless that made him want to look further into the record of that landfill, and he wrote a note.
It wasn’t clear whether Huyser was aware that landfill is in a recharge for the Floridan Aquifer, the source of our drinking water, and a short distance uphill from the Withlacoochee River. He knows those things now.
I also mentioned to Huyser the TVA coal ash in the Lowndes County landfill. He didn’t seem as familiar with that. But out front, keeping the attendance list, was Sherryl A. Lane, Community Involvement Coordinator, EPA, who was quite familiar with that coal ash, and readily acknowledged that yes, EPA had known some of it was shipped to Lowndes County. She did not seem aware that the landfill had gotten a variance from GA EPD to spread some of it on the internal roads at the landfill.
Maybe I’ll remind her about the shareholder resolution to Southern Company about coal combustion waste (CCW or coal ash) that reads in part:
“The toxins in CCW have been linked to cancer, organ failure, and other serious health problems. In October 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report finding that ‘Pollutants in coal combustion wastewater are of particular concern because they can occur in large quantities (i.e., total pounds) and at high concentrations…in discharges and leachate to groundwater and surface waters.’
“The EPA has found evidence at over 60 sites in the U.S. that CCW has polluted ground and surface waters….
Here is that EPA report, Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category: Final Detailed Study Report (EPA 821-R-09-008). EPA’s own summary of that report says:
Steam electric power plants are responsible for a significant amount of the toxic pollutant loadings discharged to surface waters by point sources, and coal ash ponds and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems are the source of much of these pollutants.
Jim Brown, Program Manager, Hazardous Waste Corrective Action Program, Georgia Department of Natural Resource (GA DNR), Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD), Land Protection Branch, recommended Mike Elster, Unit Manager, Treatment and Storage Unit,, 404-656-7802, about the landfill.
Roger Naylor, Public Relations Director for Southeast Health District, told me the state health department is looking for comparisons, and yes, he’d be interested in comparisons with hazardous waste disposer Perma-Fix, which recently caught on fire in Valdosta, and is on the same railroad, CSX, as the Seven Out Superfund site. The state health department may also be interested in comparisons with the Lowndes County landfill. Naylor knows Dr. Grow of Health South District, which includes Lowndes County; Naylor says the districts cooperate all the time.