ID Hazardous Waste Site Restarting after Fatal Blast

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 @ 06:02 PM gHale

Almost three months after an explosion killed one worker and injured three others, an Idaho hazardous waste site will resume some operations, said officials at the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The DEQ approved a Jan. 24 request from US Ecology Idaho to begin limited waste management operations for the first time since the November explosion.

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Landfill operations resumed Feb. 7, US Ecology officials said.

Brian English, hazardous waste permitting manager at DEQ, said the only work at the site in the past several months has been related to cleanup and recovery from the explosion.

“They have not received waste, they have not treated waste, they have not disposed of waste,” English said in a Idaho Statesman report.

The DEQ permit allows US Ecology to process “far less” waste than normal capacity, English said. The company will largely use the permit to move pre-treated waste to the landfill in an effort to further clean up the site.

“(Our) landfill experienced no damage during the November 17 incident and landfill disposal activities have resumed with several shipments received on February 8,” US Ecology said in a release. “Additional shipments are expected in the near future and other traditional services such as drum processing and waste treatment will be rolled out in a phased approach at a later date.”

According to English, the company will likely need additional temporary permissions before it can resume normal operations.

The explosion is still under investigation by the DEQ, OSHA and the EPA, English said. US Ecology is also conducting an internal investigation.

“Substantial progress has been made in the understanding and mechanics of the event,” the company said.

The company converts contaminants such as arsenic, lead, zinc, cadmium into non-hazardous materials for disposal. It has been in Grand View for more than 60 years.

A November 17 explosion at the hazardous waste site in southwestern Idaho killed one worker, injured three others and heavily damaged a building, officials said.

US Ecology, which runs the site, said 48-year-old Monte “Alex” Green of Grand View, died of his injuries from the explosion at 9:23 a.m. inside one of the buildings at the facility.

Green was working as an equipment operator moving materials at the time of the accident. He had worked there since 2014.

Three others received treatment for non-life threatening injuries, the company said. Fifteen US Ecology employees were working during the time of the explosion.



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