NEW ORLEANS – The cleanup of history’s worst peacetime oil spill is generating thousands of tons of oil-soaked debris that is ending up in local landfills, some of which have existing environmental concerns.
The soft, absorbent boom that has played the biggest role in containing the spill alone would measure more than twice the length of California’s coastline, or about 2,000 miles.
EPA officials say the sites meet federal regulations, are equipped to handle the influx of waste and are being monitored closely, although three sites have state environmental issues. State records show two in Alabama are under investigation and one in Louisiana was cited in May for polluting nearby waters.
Some residents and experts question the wisdom of adding crude-covered refuse to dumps, since it could take years for potential problems to surface.