Sunday, June 13, 2004

Dumpsite may need specialized cleanup



The Associated Press

CADIZ - The new manager of Lake Barkley State Resort Park said it will take an environmental company to clean up a dumpsite at the park that could be toxic.

"It's not the type of thing we can go in with our expertise and do," said John Rittenhouse, who replaced acting park manager Bill Stevens. "There needs to be an environmental firm to handle it because we don't know what kind of waste is in there."

Rittenhouse said the cleanup will be done "as soon as feasibly possible" after the new fiscal year starts July 1, since the General Assembly has not yet passed a budget.

The site is near the park's maintenance garage, and some waste is exposed, he said. But much of it is buried in a field, Rittenhouse said.

"There are some barrels of material, maybe toxic and maybe not," he said. He also said there may be some soil contamination, and pending results of soil sampling will determine the extent of cleanup.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the site, found the dump during a routine inspection in spring 2003. The state divisions of Air Quality and Waste Management later investigated and issued notices of violations for open burning and improperly managing waste materials.

In February, Commerce Secretary Jim Host said he had told park managers statewide to identify and clean up dumpsites. Host said Wednesday that the investigation revealed $1 million in waste, half of which was at Barkley.

Host and Parks Commissioner George Ward "are adamant about making these parks environmentally safe and friendly as they should be," Rittenhouse said. "They are our natural resources."

Host has said he is determined to eliminate a $29 million operating deficit in the Kentucky Parks Department and get rid of undesirable employees. Host is also enforcing a dress code and has fired a handful of workers at other parks for dress code violations.

Rittenhouse said he was unaware of any firings or suspensions among Barkley's 175 full- and part-time workers.

"Our people have responded just wonderfully" to dress code and behavior standards, Rittenhouse said.




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