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Documents Show Loopholes, Questionable Business Practices Create KY Fracking Waste Problem

Documents show low level radioactive waste was dumped into a Kentucky landfill from fracking operations in Ohio and West Virginia. (Sierra Club)
Documents show low level radioactive waste was dumped into a Kentucky landfill from fracking operations in Ohio and West Virginia. (Sierra Club)
August 4, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Behind the low level radioactive waste dumped in a Kentucky landfill are regulatory loopholes and questionable business practices, according to state and local documents.

Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council, obtained correspondence between Kentucky and West Virginia officials, and says it shows regulators didn't coordinate.

In the confusion, he says several firms run by the same person dumped technologically enhanced, naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM) from West Virginia and Ohio fracking operations into the Estill County landfill. One company, Advanced TENORM Services, came to light first.

"The landfill records in Estill County, which showed a couple of other companies had shipped TENORM waste – one being Nuverra, I believe, and another being a Cambrian Services," he states.

According to state filings, Cory Hoskins operates Advanced TENORM Services out of the public library in West Liberty. Landfill records show him as the head of Cambrian Well Services and Nuverra, both based in Norwich, Ohio.

Hoskins has not returned numerous calls or messages.

Mike Manypenny, a former Taylor County, W. Va. delegate and current congressional candidate, says dust from TENORM can lodge in the lungs and cause cancer.

He worked in the Legislature to keep hot frack waste from creating problems in West Virginia landfills. He says West Virginia isn't coordinating frack waste disposal with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, let alone other states.

"We need to have a cradle-to-grave monitoring system to make sure that we know where these materials have come from, and where it ends up when it's disposed of," he stresses.

The view from Kentucky is similar, says FitzGerald.

"Everyone seems to be mostly concerned about what's going on in their own state, rather than assuring that wherever these wastes are going, that they're going to a place that is properly operated and managed," he states.

The state has decided to pursue civil but not criminal charges, maintaining the waste is safer where it is, rather than being dug up again.


Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY