Archive for Thursday, March 7, 1991


March 7, 1991


Kansas University and state officials have reached agreement on a plan that lays the foundation for cleanup work at a university waste dump near DeSoto, KU announced today.

KU and the KU Medical Center buried laboratory byproducts at the Sunflower Research Disposal Site, a federally licensed landfill on KU property, from 1965 to 1982.

The Jean Martin family, which owns land next to the dump, filed a lawsuit last year claiming cancer-causing materials leaked from the landfill into their well water.

KU officials maintain the landfill doesn't pose a health threat, but want to take steps to prevent future groundwater contamination from buried chemical solvents.

FRANCES Horowitz, KU's vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and public service, said the agreement "will permit work to proceed so that concerns about the landfill may be addressed."

Chancellor Gene Budig and Stanley Grant, secretary of the state Department of Health and Environment, signed an agreement this week that outlines monitoring activities.

The agreement specifies the time KU will have to gather information as well as time limits for KDHE to act on various reports and recommendations.

As part of the deal, KU soon will begin additional monitoring of groundwater in the area and a review of the area's topography and geologic structure.

Beginning in 1983, KU drilled wells at the dump to monitor water quality. Test samples are now regularly taken from 17 wells, KU officials said.

THE KANSAS Board of Regents authorized KU to seek $565,000 from the Legislature to pay for the data review and for developing a plan for the cleanup.

However, the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday deleted that funding from its recommendations to the full House. A subcommittee will study the matter.

At the request of KU and KDHE, a 1990 report by B & V Waste Science and Technology Corp., Overland Park, offered cleanup options, with costs ranging up to $3.6 million.

The dump contains waste packaged in cardboard, glass, plastic bags and metal drums. It is in liquid and solid form and includes carcasses of experimental animals.

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