September 27, 1982
Protests to Continue
EPA Official Criticizes Landfill
WARRENTON (UPI) - Opponents of a Warren County PCB landfill said yesterday they will continue to fight it, and an EPA official who joined the protesters said hazardous waste dumps are built on "hope, not engineering, not science."
William Sanjour, head of the agency's hazardous waste implementation branch, spoke at a rally held by the landfill opponents.
In an interview, Sanjour said he came to express his personal view that the PCB will leak out. That view is not shared by the EPA which maintains that the landfill will be safe.
Meanwhile, the leader of a Warren County citizen's group said protests against the landfill will continue today in an effort to bock the recently opened facility.
"We'll march, I'm sure of that," said Ken Ferruccio. "I can guarantee you you're going to continue to see resistance build."
There have been 277 arrests -- most for blocking traffic --since the landfill opened Sept.15 as a disposal site for dirt contaminated when PCB was illegally dumped along 210 miles of North Carolina highways more than four years ago.
"We'll never stop" lying in front of trucks heading for the landfill, Ferruccio said. "That Is the spirit of the thing here."
Sanjour said he came to Warren County as a representative of the Citizens' Clearing House for Hazardous Wastes.
"Basically, hazardous waste landfills don't work, and the decision to build them is purely political and not based on technology;" he said.
"It's hope, not engineering. not science. -- hope." Sanjour said.
The landfill is made up of a bed of clay covered by plastic sheeting. The contaminated soil will be covered by another layer of plastic and clay, followed .by a layer of soil and grass in order to prevent leakage.
But Sanjour said the cap would "subside" or erode, exposing the plastic liner to deterioration and allowing the PCB to escape.. He also said the clay bed under the landfill could settle, causing cracks or holes that would allow the toxic chemical to escape.
Once the landfill is completed, Sanjour said, he doubts it would receive any maintenance to prevent leaks. "I think they'll just forget about it. If it's hard to find money to maintain roads, how are you going to find money for a landfill?" he said.
But Bryant Haskins, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Resources, said the state will provide maintenance.
"If there is erosion on the topsoil, we'll go in and repair it," he said. He added that he doubts that will happen and pointed out that the soil and grass top layer will be sloped like a football field to allow water to run oft.
Haskins said there. are systems built under the landfill to collect any materials that leak.
He said he expects cleanup work to continue today at the landfill, despite heavy rains that fell over, much of North Carolina yesterday.
"If it's not puddling and not pouring down rain, we can pick up like we normally do."
Any rainwater that becomes mixed with contaminated soil would be pumped into a special holding pond, mixed with a cement-like substance and allowed to harden for disposal, Haskins said.
William Sanjour's home page