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Dump found on bypass

Work has been stopped on one part of the Chesapeake Bypass construction after contractors discovered potentially hazardous waste. Work on the rest of the project, however, continues.

A former dumping site was discovered by Ahern & Associates of Charleston, W.Va., on Aug. 2 while the company was pouring footers for a bridge at Little Paddy Creek, about a half mile out State Route 775, said John Rochotte, district representative for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Hazardous Waste Management.

It appears to be industrial waste, both in barrels and loose, and tests confirmed the substance contains lead and cadmium levels that can be hazardous when excavated, Rochotte said.

"We are actively trying to determine when it was put there and by whom," Rochotte said.

"We will evaluate the site and determine if we will pursue enforcement."

The waste was discovered on the west side of the creek. The eastern footer has been poured, but the west side cannot be completed until the waste is removed, he said.

"At this stage of the game, we are working closely with ODOT to get it excavated and disposed of," he said.

Aztec, Inc. a subcontractor for Ahern, has been hired to work with ODOT to dispose of the materials.

The possibility of ground water contamination has not been determined but Rochotte said he did not expect it to be a problem.

Rick Dunfee, Proctorville village

administrator, said the village's water plant is at least a mile away from the site and the water is tested periodically.

No problems have been detected with the water supply and the village

will wait to see what the EPA finds.

The EPA has some leads as to who put the waste there ,but was reluctant to point any fingers or speculate as to when it was dumped. It is still unknown how much it will cost to dispose of the materials but "it is usually quite costly to have it removed and properly disposed of," Rochotte said.

After an investigation, the EPA will look at enforcement options, such as fines, that will depend on the severity of the contamination.

Although unwilling to speculate on an exact amount, he said fines are usually more than $10,000.

Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for ODOT District 9, said that the setback shouldn't have a significant delay on the Oct. 21 completion date for phase 1A

because work has been shifted to other parts of the project. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune