Warren County: Landfill Location
In 1979, the state proposed four options approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dispose of the contaminated soil. These options were: centralized in-state burial of the waste, in-state burial within each county, transporting the soil to another state for disposal, and transporting the soil to incinerators. Because of cost, the state decided to bury the waste in-state. All but two of 90 potential landfill sites were disqualified from consideration based on failure to meet EPA requirements for the landfill. The remaining locations were Warren County land and a sanitary landfill in Chatham County. Chatham County residents opposed the PCB landfill, so the county withdrew its offer to allow PCB burial there.
At a public meeting in 1979, the state asked the EPA for waivers of three regulations at the Warren County site: elimination of the requirement for 50 feet between the landfill and groundwater, elimination of an artificial liner, and elimination of underliner leachate collection. At another meeting, an EPA advisor told the public that nothing would leak from the landfill, so distance to groundwater did not matter. However, Warren County residents hired their own soil expert, who reported that the soil could not be compressed to create a protective layer and had a high chemical exchange capacity, so groundwater would be contaminated. Still, the EPA granted the waivers for the location later in 1979.