Waukesha County Environmental Action League
Press Release

Hazardous Waste Excavation Proposal Causes Widespread Concern

Lack of Details in the WDNR Assessment Alarms Citizens. A thorough WDNR Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed to assess the dangers

By - May 17th, 2021 03:28 pm

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 18 at the Menomonee Falls Municipal Building, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road, Menomonee Falls. Attendance in the hearing room will be limited to 25 mask-wearing people. Zoom attendance is encouraged and pre-registration available at:  https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/calendar/hearing/43766. In addition, WDNR will accept written comments until May 28.

Milwaukee — Concerned neighbors, medical professionals and conservationists question the safety of Waste Management Wisconsin’s (WMWI) plans to exhume an entire Superfund site at WMWI’s Menomonee Falls Orchard Ridge landfill complex. Background at weal.org

Over one million cubic yards of waste went into that site before 1972, including pesticides, heavy metals, and other hazardous chemicals. That part of the landfill, known as the Boundary Road Landfill, has federal Superfund status (indicating a high level of concern for health and the environment).

Now, WMWI wants to exhume the Superfund waste and move it to another part of the landfill complex to facilitate another landfill expansion.

A reasonable citizen would question whether due diligence has been done on this proposal. Does it threaten the air quality – or health – of nearby residents, as well as ground water and the downstream waters of the Menomonee River?

Waukesha County Environmental Action League (WEAL) has been monitoring the site, and the new proposal, for some time. Their website weal.org features details.

“This unconscionable release of toxic chemicals will irrevocably harm our community” said Penelope Waggoner, Menomonee Falls resident and community organizer.

“Exhuming this toxic Superfund site is revisiting Love Canal, New York” said Doctor Kesavan Kutty, a Menomonee Falls pulmonologist.

“This involves digging up waste and chemicals that have been buried 30 feet deep for as long as 67 years. The public has a right to know what measures will be taken to protect their health” said Charlene Lemoine, WEAL’s Waste Issues Rep and a 30-year veteran of monitoring landfills.

“Public documents say little about how the project will be conducted. How will risks from toxic chemicals be handled? An Environmental Impact Statement is needed” said Environmental Attorney Dennis Grzezinski.

The Boundary Road landfill predated many of our environmental laws and waste regulations, but we know that it contains toxic compounds that are harmful to human health and the environment. We are concerned about the potential for this expansion to further contaminate the groundwater and the Menomonee River. The community deserves more analysis and transparency” said Cheryl Nenn, Milwaukee Riverkeeper

Toxic chemical risk is present. If this doesn’t merit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from WDNR what does?” said Eric Hansen, Conservation Chair, Sierra Club – Great Waters Group.

A broad coalition of organizations has formally written to WDNR to request WDNR’s most comprehensive assessment process: An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). They are:

League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County
Midwest Environmental Advocates
Milwaukee Riverkeeper
Sierra Club – Great Waters Group
Waukesha County Environmental Action League (WEAL)
Wisconsin Conservation Voters

For more information: weal.org

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