MEADVILLE – The Department of Environmental Protection has assessed Rustick LLC $40,000 for violating its radiation protection action plan at the company’s McKean Landfill in Sergeant Township, McKean County.
“Rustick is being penalized for its failure to properly respond when the facility’s radiation monitoring system alerted employees as trash trucks entered the landfill,” DEP Regional Director Kelly Burch said.
Under Pennsylvania law, a radiation protection action plan must be developed, approved and implemented at all landfills within the commonwealth to ensure that radioactive materials are identified and properly disposed.
Under Rustick’s radiation protection action plan, only radioactive material that decays rapidly and does not jeopardize human health or the environment can be disposed of at McKean Landfill.
When entering the landfill, trash trucks pass through a monitor at the weigh station. The monitor’s alarm sounds when even very low levels of radiation are detected. If vehicle radiation levels exceed predetermined values, Rustick must ensure that the material is identified properly and returned to the point of origin or disposed of at a licensed low-level radioactive waste facility.
During an April 20 inspection, DEP staff collected evidence of numerous violations. Written documents and interviews with landfill employees revealed that landfill employees failed to take appropriate action when the monitor’s alarm sounded on at least seven occasions during 2007.
Documentation indicates that only very low levels of radiation were detected on these seven occasions. Nonetheless, DEP issued a notice of violation to Rustick on April 27 and held a compliance meeting with the company on May 8. DEP has instructed Rustick to document its approach for future compliance with the landfill’s radiation protection plans. The department also plans to evaluate what was already disposed of in the landfill.