PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Update: County leaders confirm Heritage Environmental will host an informational town hall meeting, Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. at the Russellville Community Center at 300 N. Harrison St. Russellville, IN 46175.
A Hazardous waste landfill in Roachdale, IN (Russellville Township) plans to receive contaminated soil from the East Palestine, OH train derailment.
Heritage Environmental has been operating in Putnam County since the early eighties. It’s the largest privately held hazardous waste management company in the United States, Ali Alavi, Executive Vice President of Heritage Environmental Solutions, explained in a news conference.
Heritage Environmental’s Putnam County landfill is regulated and inspected regularly by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
“We are planning to receive material from the East Palestine location. The material that is destined to come here (Heritage Enviromental Landfill) is soil that is contaminated with low levels of butyl acrylate. It’s a very common chemical found in caulk, sealants, and paints,” Alavi said. “The material also has extremely low levels of the vinyl chloride, I think you all have heard about, it probably got the most attention at that location (East Palestine). It is well below the levels at which we are allowed to receive material,” Alavi added.
The regulatory level is six parts per million that the landfill is able to receive.
The material Heritage Services will receive is reading .033 parts per million. Alavi compared that to a cup of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Heritage says they have a pretty robust waste acceptance plan with several steps and built-in layers of protection they go through before they accept the material.
Facility Manager, Eric Chris, explained that Heritage is expecting around 2,000 tons of contaminated material. The equivalent of approximately 100 truckloads between the landfill in Roachdale as well as their incinerator in Ohio.
“It’s been over 40 years of taking materials into this facility and making sure those toxic chemicals aren’t getting out into the environment,” Chris said.
Chris explained he resides within a mile of the facility and is not concerned because of the protection this specific landfill offers.
“It’s sequestered inside that landfill and completely covered and protected and doubly so from the bottom,” Alavi noted.
County leaders said they have received many phone calls from residents voicing concerns. David Berry, District 1 Commissioner noted that most of the calls stem from the fear of the unknown.
“I was comfortable with it because I know how they operate. So, I was comfortable with that material coming here knowing that it is going to be handled properly,” Berry said. “Instead of… you know, laying in a ditch, letting it percolate into the ground and eventually leaking into somebody’s water. It won’t do that here,” he added.
Heritage says they are still going through the final testing of the material. They expect to be able to have that decision within the next day or two.
Heritage Environmental says they have a strong working relationship with Putnam County Officials. Leaders agree.
Heritage will reach out to the community of Roachdale for the possibility of a meeting to keep residents informed and educated on what is to come.