Among the myriad reasons for concern as cleanup crews confront the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, add this one: untreated oil-soaked debris and liquid waste are winding up at landfills. While BP officials quoted in the New York Times report insist that flammable elements and carcinogens like benzene are inert by the time the material is landfilled, others quoted in the piece say there is still plenty of reason for concern.
As an example of what is going to landfills, the piece details the material collected at Fourchon Beach in Port Fourchon, La.:
About 35,000 bags — or 250 tons — of oily trash have been carted away from this beach, said Lt. Patrick Hanley of the Coast Guard, who is stationed at Port Fourchon. And as of Monday, more than 175,000 gallons of liquid waste — a combination of oil and water — had been sent to landfills, as had 11,276 cubic yards of solid waste, said Petty Officer Gail Dale, also of the Coast Guard, who works with at the command center in Houma.
Given the dissembling, half-truths and ineptitude that have marked BP’s handling of the oil spill thus far, it is easy to be skeptical when the company claims we have nothing to fear from the tons of oily waste it is burying. What’s your take? Is your company involved in the cleanup? What have you observed?