Gov. Beshear, Lawmakers Announce Final Remediation Stages Underway at Maxey Flats

Construction of the permanent cap is projected to wrap up in November 2016

Aerial photograph of the Maxey Flats Disposal Site in Hillsboro, Ky., by Thomas Stewart.
Aerial photograph of the Maxey Flats Disposal Site in Hillsboro, Ky., by Thomas Stewart.

HILLSBORO, Ky. (June 1, 2015) – Kentucky is taking the final steps toward capping the Maxey Flats Disposal site (MFDS), Gov. Steve Beshear said today.

The Governor, along with state and local officials, joined representatives from Walker Construction and other team members involved with the final cap construction to shovel the first load of dirt onto the synthetic liner that will serve as part of the nuclear waste site’s permanent protective cap.

The $35.2 million in funding to complete the final phase of the closure of this nuclear disposal site in Fleming County came at the request of Gov. Beshear.  The General Assembly approved the funding in 2012.

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Governor Steve Beshear, Secretary Len Peters, Rep. Mike Denham and Department for Environmental Protection officials ceremonially cover the Maxey Flats disposal site.

“This is a good day for Kentucky as one of our biggest environmental challenges is being properly dealt with, keeping our citizens and our environment safe from the radioactive disposal done here in the past,” Gov. Beshear said. “This action is being taken to ensure the safety of our citizens and our environment near the disposal site.”

Gov. Beshear said the Commonwealth of Kentucky took a bold but necessary step 35 years ago to ensure the health and safety of Kentuckians and to protect the environment around the Maxey Flats area. When private ownership of the site was no longer feasible, the state stepped in to take control.

The Superfund Branch of the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management has had primary oversight of the previous remediation measures that have allowed the site to be safely brought to the point of final closure.

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For more than three decades, Kentucky state government agencies have worked to contain any groundwater releases from the site, making sure residents experience no harm from the nuclear waste dumped in the area beginning some 50 years ago.

The final phase of closure has included the purchase of property that will allow for the increased distance between the restricted areas of the site and the public, and reduce potential for public exposure.

It also included the submission of a preliminary remedial design to the federal government, as well as the soliciting of bids and the awarding of contracts for construction.

Construction of the permanent cap is projected to wrap up in November 2016. Once the final closure period is completed, the Energy and Environment Cabinet and its agencies will enter into an Institutional Control Period of 100 years that will include continued monitoring, maintenance and facility control.

The final cap construction at MFDS is the largest state-funded environmental cleanup project ever completed in the Commonwealth. The funding includes $17 million in General Fund-supported bonds that will pay roughly half of the $35.2 million cost of the cap. The remainder is from the Capital and Emergency trust accounts.

“I was honored to support the appropriation to allow for this final cap of Maxey Flats,” said Rep. Rocky Adkins, of Sandy Hook. “Completing this work has been a top priority to ensure the safety of the citizens in our region.”

“I thank Gov. Beshear and the staff at the Energy and Environment Cabinet and Maxey Flats for their hard work on this project,” said Rep. Mike Denham, of Maysville. “I also want to thank the citizens group for sounding the alarm early in the ’60s and ’70s. Construction of the final cap will bring about the closure this community deserves. Once the permanent cap is ready and complete by the fall of 2016 the site will be as safe as humans can make it, and we can declare this nightmare over once and for all.”

More information, including a detailed history of Maxey Flats, can be found online at http://waste.ky.gov/SFB/Pages/MaxeyFlatsProject.aspx.

In the years since the Commonwealth purchased this site, state agencies have been working with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to ensure proper closure and long-term care of the site. Contractors have been hired to begin the final capping process. This will serve to significantly safeguard the Maxey Flats site for both workers and the public.

The final capping plan includes installation of a permanent vegetative cap, installation of permanent surface water control features and installation of surface monuments to identify concerns and location of buried waste. Once the final closure period is completed, the Cabinet and its agencies will enter into an Institutional Control Period of 100 years which will include continued monitoring, custodial upkeep and facility control.

The initial phases of the final capping plan have included the purchase of additional property surrounding Maxey Flats that will increase the distance between the restricted areas of the site and the public and will provide a nearby source for material to build the cap, the approval of the remedial design by EPA, the solicitation of bids and the awarding of contracts for construction. Cap construction is scheduled to begin this year, with cap placement complete in 2016.

More information on the Maxey Flats Disposal Site can be found here on the Kentucky Division of Waste Management’s website. You may also contact Tim Hubbard, P.G., assistant director and project coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Waste Management at Tim.Hubbard@ky.gov or 502-564-6716, ext. 4602.

Click here to view all previous Naturally Connected posts on the Maxey Flats Disposal Sit

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