A local landfill is shut down after an inspection by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The SEK Regional Landfill is on rural Wyandotte road, near Crestline. KDHE did inspections there last summer, and officials found several violations. KDHE officials said there was a possibility landfill workers were exposed t pathogens. KDHE officials also said there was a possibility nearby land, water, and air were contaminated.
This comes as no surprise to one woman just down the road from this landfill.
Five years ago, a good part of Susan Drennan's life was garbage.
Drennan says, "I finally came to the conclusion that my life was more important than that!"
Drennan researched up to five hours a day rules for how landfills are supposed to be maintained.
"I was pleased," says Drennan, talking about the landfill's suspension. "But I'm not sure how effective it'll be in the long run."
Drennan's complaints from the past five years about how this landfill has been maintained correlates with recent KDHE citations against the landfill owners. According to the KDHE, Trash isn't being covered with one foot of soil every 120 days to prevent littering. SEK Regional Landfill is supposed to only accept building materials from construction sites. The KDHE says landfill owners fail to screen and remove all non-construction waste from loads received.
"Every three weeks, we'd send them (EPA) a letter with pictures...this is still going on. I think you finally, no matter who you are, even if you're not here, you finally say, for the love of... this is ridiculous," says Drennan.
A sign in front of the landfill states what can and can't be accepted. Tires are listed as restricted items. But during our visit, tires were seen in the back of a dump truck at the landfill.
Drennan says if rules are created, they need to be followed; and it all starts with the KDHE doing better enforcement, in addition to a suspension five years in the making.
"I can't speak for what's happening in Wichita, or what's happening in Topeka, or western Kansas, but I can speak to this; in this landfill, they have not done a good job," says Drennan.
Landfill owners referred our questions to their Pittsburg attorney, who has not gotten back to us. Landfill owners did say, though, they expected a follow-up visit from EPA officials today. An EPA official told us by phone that he can't comment on when the landfill could reopen.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas