White Rock claims EBSCO illegally dumped hazardous waste

Published 3:11 pm Thursday, November 19, 2009

White Rock Quarries Thursday presented findings that apparently show EBSCO Industries illegally dumped more than 15 tons of hazardous waste in Vincent over 15 years.

EBSCO is opposed to White Rock’s proposed limestone quarry, which would be within a half mile of EBSCO’s Vulcan Information Processing plant in Vincent. EBSCO has continuously said their opposition to the quarry is based on an increased risk of sinkholes, noise pollution and air pollution.

During a Thursday morning press conference, White Rock spokesperson Stephen Bradley said EBSCO’s arguments didn’t make sense, since EBSCO already has sinkholes on their property.

“We knew EBSCO was opposed, but what has been puzzling us throughout was why EBSCO was opposed,” Bradley said. “We’ve discovered that for at least 15 years, EBSCO was illegally discarding at least 15 tons of hazardous waste through its septic system to ground water.”

He said acccording to Alabama Department of Environmental Management documents, EBSCO discarded waste through its septic system from 1970-1985. In 1985, ADEM ordered EBSCO to stop disposing of hazardous wastes through the septic system.

Geologist Robert Wood said EBSCO released toxic chemicals through the septic system, such as trichloroethane, which moves quickly through clay into groundwater and lasts a long time in nature. Trichloroethane is toxic to humans and can break down into vinyl chloride, which is a known carcinogen.

Wood said White Rock is trying to protect their own property as well as the Vincent community.

“There are people who use well water in the vicinity of EBSCO,” he said.

Rob Fowler, an environmental lawyer, said White Rock has done groundwater testing on company property in Vincent, and those tests are clean. However, he said he believes EBSCO opposed the quarry in an effort to stop anyone from possibly discovering harmful chemicals in the environment.

“We don’t believe it will affect our project,” Fowler said. “But that’s why EBSCO doesn’t want the quarry there. I hope there’s nothing there. That’d be best for us, it’d be best for EBSCO and it’d be best for the community.”

EBSCO officials released a company statement late Thursday afternoon saying the company is disappointed in White Rock’s tactics.

“The issue is whether or not it is appropriate for a quarry to be located in such close proximity to the community of Vincent. EBSCO is disappointed in the tack White Rock has chosen to take in pursuit of its desire to obtain the approvals required to open a quarry in Vincent,” the statement read. “EBSCO always strives to be a good corporate citizen, provide a safe working environment for our employees and to operate within the law.”