Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Cooksey Landfill fire extinguished
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2006) - The Cooksey Brothers Landfill fire in Boyd County that burned more than four acres of exposed waste and tire shreds was extinguished on Wednesday but follow-up work continues.
CMC Inc., the Nicholasville contractor hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), used soil to smother the fire rather than water, thus avoiding runoff of leachate from the landfill. The contractor will continue to stabilize the site and monitor for flare-ups. The burn area is being covered with a minimum of 12 inches of compacted soil and a barrier ditch will be installed around portions of the covered area not adjacent to the access road. EPA anticipates that this work will be completed on Saturday, Jan. 7.
Concerns about air pollution prompted school closings and a temporary evacuation of some area residents. Air monitoring is being conducted by Tetra Tech Inc., an EPA contractor, and the Division for Air Quality, part of the Department for Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP’s Division of Water is taking water samples to detect adverse impacts on surface waters.
The fire was reported early on Tuesday, Jan. 3, to DEP’s Environmental Response Team. The state sought assistance from EPA, which sent contractors to assist in environmental monitoring and extinguishing the blaze.
The state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) declared an environmental emergency, which allows for suspension of state procurement rules enabling EPPC to quickly secure a contractor to help abate potential health threats from the landfill.
The origin of the fire remains to be determined. Kentucky State Police and EPPC’s Office of State Fire Marshal are investigating.