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K-State Today

July 19, 2011



New phase of waste removal beginning at former chemical waste landfill

By Julie Fosberg

The next phase of a plan to remove Kansas State University's former chemical waste landfill is under way.

The former chemical waste landfill, which is north of K-State's Bill Snyder Family Stadium near Kimball Avenue, is where university chemical waste was disposed of in the 1960s and 1970s.

The removal project started in January with the installation of a groundwater treatment system. Workers constructed a trench 150 feet long, 20 feet wide at the top and 4 feet wide at the bottom to collect contaminated groundwater that will be pumped into a treatment system for cleaning.

Now, the waste characterization phase is beginning, said Kelly Phillips, the university's environmental manager. This phase will consist of opening four separate investigative trenches to better understand what is buried at the site.

Three trenches will be under the concrete slab of the hazardous waste storage building and one will be near the east fence line of the one-acre site.

"This will help us better determine what's in the landfill and determine the disposal method," Phillips said.

During the investigation, Allied Environmental Consultants, the project's contractor, and Solutient Technologies, an environmental consultant and radiological services company, plan to screen the material from the trenches as it is brought in, as well as collect sample material for lab analysis, Phillips said.

"We will be sampling for numerous hazardous waste parameters and radioactivity," she said. "Because of the lack of detailed knowledge of what may have been placed in the old chemical waste landfill, workers will be in Level B suits and self-contained breathing apparatuses once the landfill is uncovered."

After the excavation is finished and the samples have been taken, everything will be placed back into the trenches and covered with concrete, Phillips said.

Site preparation began July 18, and work will continue until July 22. Phillips said once excavations are under way, visitors to the site will only be allowed access to the grass area on the south end of the enclosed property. Visitors are considered anyone who does not have current training in radiation safety and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, or HAZWOPER.

Anyone entering the building will be required to be in self-contained breathing apparatuses for the duration of the waste characterization services.