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‘The Whole Thing Is Junk:’ Expert Rips Union Carbide Landfill Data

20201110_Courtland Supplemental CWA NOV-Filmont & Massey Rail Yard - AS SERVED-11.jpg
Courtesy Courtland Co.
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An image from the lawsuit filed in federal court against Union Carbide Corp. alleging an illegal landfill is releasing toxic chemicals into Davis Creek and the Kanawha River.

Union Carbide performed risk assessments for ecological and human health on the Filmont industrial landfill in South Charleston in 2014 and 2015. Both assessments concluded there was no need to take further action.

Scott Simonton, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at Marshall University, offered a different view to the U.S. District Court in Charleston Tuesday.

“The whole thing is junk,” he testified on behalf of Courtland Co., which owns property adjacent to the Union Carbide site and is suing the company.

Simonton said Union Carbide had insufficient data to correctly perform the risk assessments.

The company has no idea how extensive the contamination is, Simonton added, because it never conducted a full investigation of the site.

“They do not, absolutely do not understand the full nature and extent of the contamination from this site,” Simonton testified Tuesday.

Court filings and testimony show Union Carbide has been monitoring the site since at least 2005 and told state and local officials about it. The landfill was not revealed to the public until 2019.

On Monday, Simonton testified that the site contained a “soup of nasty contaminants.”

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued Union Carbide a notice of violation in late 2020 for wastewater discharge from the Filmont site.

In early 2021, the company applied for the DEP’s Voluntary Remediation Program for the site.

The trial began earlier this month. Courtland has sued Union Carbide four times since 2018, alleging contamination of its property from the Filmont landfill.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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