UPDATE: Heritage Environment denied their violation was associated with a leak at their facility. Read their response to the EPA violation.
PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. — A report on the EPA website shows the Heritage Environmental Services landfill south of Russellville has at least one recent violation.
The Heritage landfill is set to get 2,000 tons of toxic waste from the Ohio train derailment. Neighbors of the landfill have already voiced their concerns while local leaders and a landfill spokesperson said the process will be safe.
The form is called a Detailed Facility Report and shows the Heritage landfill violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and has been noncompliant for 12 quarters.
Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, the Executive Director of the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute, explained more about what these violations mean. He said the violation was for environmental release, which he described as essentially a leak.
“Environmental release is usually into the air, water or soil,” Filippelli said.
But, he said the documents show the landfill is working on fixing the problem.
“The facility seems to have explored the problem and worked with the EPA to develop a plan,” he said.
The report also shows the Heritage landfill received $0 in penalties for the violation – Filippelli said that tends to mean a more minor issue.
“This would indicate to me that whatever the issue is, it has not endangered the environment or humans offsite,” Filippelli said.
Filippelli said Heritage Environmental Services is a well-known company in toxic waste disposal.
Although there are always risks when it comes to toxic chemicals, Filippelli said the process of getting the toxins here and storing them is heavily regulated.
“I’m not actually concerned about the transport or disposal,” he said. “A lot of eyes are going to be on this.”
One set of eyes watching is State Rep. Beau Baird, R-Greencastle. The Heritage landfill resides in his district, and he said he is confident in Heritage.
”Once the material is here and in the ground I feel completely safe that Heritage Environmental can manage such material,” Baird said.
His worries lie with the other factors involved.
“My concern is the lack of communication from the EPA and ultimately how it is going to be transferred to Indiana and how safe it is during that transfer process,” Baird said
Baird said he objects to this waste being moved to Indiana until the public gets more information from the EPA.
“I want to see the EPA put a pause on their decision till they answer the questions,” Baird said.
FOX59 reached out to both the EPA and Heritage Environmental Services for more information about the violation against the landfill.
As for when those toxins could be transported – Baird said he’s still asking for those details but believes it is imminent.