The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has suspended the permit of a landfill in Tecumseh until a number of environmental compliance issues are resolved, including visible animal carcasses and other waste that wasn’t sufficiently covered.
The state’s order also notes that, during a routine inspection in 2011, DEQ officials found the landfill to be on fire, and later found that the fire had already been burning for three days. This was not the only fire in recent years, according to the DEQ order.
The DEQ order also details an exchange between the agency and the landfill’s owner, Absolute Waste Solutions, in 2012 about a financial assurance trust fund for the landfill. The landfill owners informed DEQ that they were winding down the site, with plans to close in the future. But nearly three years later, the landfill owners still have not provided DEQ with the necessary information to fulfill that plan.
According the DEQ, Absolute Waste Systems has paid its $10,000 fine, and is working toward resolving the compliance issues at the landfill.
By 2014, a follow-up inspection at the site revealed that there were still animal carcasses in the open with pools of standing blood, leaking leachate with no records of quarterly inspections or annual cleanouts, exposed trash, and steeper slopes than what is permitted. A month later, multiple hot spots and smoke were observed. Despite working with the landfill owner to reach compliance at the site, DEQ says the site remained in non-compliance during a February 2015 inspection, and the owners are more than $171,000 behind in trust fund payments.
To reach compliance DEQ requires that the landfill owners fully fund its trust fund and install operational scales within 120 days, and that it address smoking and subsurface hotspots within 60 days of the order. The order also requires a number of other compliance measures to be completed in similar time frames, ranging from groundwater and gas monitoring to better litter control and record-keeping.
Additionally, while the DEQ could have fined the site up to $10,000 per day for violations, it ordered a single $10,000 fine to be paid.
Attorney’s for Absolute Waste Solutions have replied to DEQ, stating they are working to reach compliance on the violations and even have plans to add a new cell to expand the landfill.
DEQ officials did not return calls by press time on the status of the violations or compliance order.