Cleanup of radioactive soil at former Broken Arrow Landfill to be discussed at meeting

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By John Dobberstein, Editor

The U.S. EPA will hold a community meeting next week about a proposed plan to remove radioactive soil from the former Broken Arrow Landfill site.

The EPA said it assessed reported contamination at the site in December 2021 and March 2022 and evaluated “the nature and extent of reported radiologically contaminated soil” that was present.

Conditions at the EPA Superfund site were determined to include elevated levels of radionuclides in the soils at or near the surface, with the primary concern being the presence of thorium-contaminated soil “above a site-specific, risk-based action level.

“The EPA continues the investigation, but at this time the source of the contamination is unknown.”

The site is located just east of the Tractor Supply Co. at 4777 E. Kenosha St. The EPA said the Wagoner County Assessor records contain no address for the site, which is located on a former coal strip mine. The area of interest with radioactive soil totals about 7.5 acres and sits in the northeast corner of the site.

The EPA plans to clean the site by removing thorium contamination to “below a site-specific, risk-based action level.”

The EPA’s meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Timber Ridge Elementary School cafeteria, 3500 E. Kenosha St., in Broken Arrow. An update will be provided at the meeting on current site activities and next steps. Following the updates, an in-person question-and-answer session will be open to the public and questions will be taken from online and audio-only participants.

Updates on the status of this meeting, will be available online at https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/CurSites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0622177.

A known issue

The presence of radioactive material at that property has been a known issue since at least 2012. In April 2012, a radiation survey report for the former Broken Arrow Landfill was sent to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that confirmed the presence of radioactive soils.

The report asserted the soil wasn’t the source of the contamination, but the contaminants had been brought there.

In 2013, another survey report sent to the DEQ said an earlier theory of the radiation being caused by buried medical equipment and testing gauges might have been incorrect, as further investigation found a layer of radioactive material at or near the surface.

The presence of uranium, thorium, and “associated daughter isotopes” as well as metals – magnesium, chromium, manganese, molybdenum and aluminum – were found in samples. But the source of the dumping was not known.

A 2019 memo from Mike Broderick, an environmental program manager for DEQ, to Gov. Kevin Stitt said a property owner had been cleaning up chemicals that weren’t radioactive through the Oklahoma Brownfields program. The memo also noted the radioactive source material that was dumped wasn’t located in an actual landfill or disposal area.




EPA HEARING DETAILS

Date: Aug. 11, 2022

Time: 6:30-8 p.m.

Location: Timber Ridge Elementary School cafeteria, 3500 E. Kenosha St., Broken Arrow

Meeting updates: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/CurSites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0622177

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Federal, State, Wagoner County agencies, local officials and industry, invites you to attend a community meeting regarding contaminant removal at the Broken Arrow Landfill Site. Meeting details are listed below:

Thursday, August 11, 2022
6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Timber Ridge Elementary School Cafeteria
3500 E Kenosha Street Broken Arrow, OK 74014

During the meeting an update will be provided on current site activities and next steps. Following the updates, an in-person question-and-answer session will be open to the public and questions will be taken from on-line and audio-only participants. To participate by phone, please call (844) 608-7693 and enter the code 640 918 111#. To participate online via Teams, please click on the following link: Click here to join the meeting.

This meeting is being held in a fully accessible facility. Should you have specific needs or questions about the facility, please contact Cheryl Nichols, Community Involvement Coordinator for EPA, Region 6, at (214) 665-3169 or by email at nichols.cheryl@epa.gov.

EPA will continue to monitor COVID-19 community levels in Wagoner County, OK. Updates on the status of this meeting, will be available online at: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/CurSites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0622177. Copies of fact sheets, informational bulletins, the administrative record, and additional information are also available on this site.

Para información en español, comunicase con la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de los Estados Unidos (la EPA) a 1-800-533-3508 (llamada gratis).

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