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Kentucky Digs Up, Disposes Of Arsenic Contaminated Soil in Ohio County

Art Smith, EPA

Thousands of tons of arsenic-contaminated material have been removed from a site in Ohio County.

The state dug up contaminated soil and replaced it with dirt and loose stones.

Kentucky inspectors believe that containers of arsenic were dumped in a wooded area of Ohio County between 50 and 60 years ago.

The arsenic leaked out of those containers, made its way into a culvert, and showed up on two residential properties.

John Mura, spokesman with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, says the state removed the contaminated soil.

“You have to dig up the ground that is contaminated. And we have very sophisticated measuring devices that we can tell when we’ve removed enough. In total in the site, we removed 4,833 tons of material.”

The state doesn’t know who is responsible for dumping the arsenic containers in Ohio County decades ago.

Mura says the effort cost the state about $850,000.

“Whenever we find a site like this, we always seek a responsible party for the cost of the cleanup. In this case, no responsible party has been found.”

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is cleaning up another residential area of the county also contaminated with arsenic.

In that case, the chemical seeped into the ground after a barn fire destroyed several barrels of arsenic decades ago.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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