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Archive for Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chief: Sludge in street likely not hazardous

March 12, 2009

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An oily sludge that spilled into the 2200 block of Delaware Street on Tuesday is not thought to be hazardous, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Chief Mark Bradford said.

The material apparently sloshed out of a container on a truck at MagnaGro International, 600 E. 22nd St., Bradford said. He said the lid on the container must have been loose. MagnaGro called a private firm, HAZ-MAT Response of Olathe, to clean up the spill in the street and drainage ditch. An estimated 100 gallons spilled from the truck, Bradford said.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is testing samples of the material, which MagnaGro representatives said was a low-grade fertilizer, Bradford said. Those tests could take about 10 days, KDHE spokeswoman Maggie Thompson said.

Nothing indicated that the incident was anything but an accident, Bradford said. The city didn’t issue any citations. KDHE was still completing its investigation, and no decision has been made about possible legal action, Thompson said.

No one at MagnaGro on Wednesday wanted to comment on the incident.

On June 1, MagnaGro owner Raymond Sawyer will be sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty last month to illegally discharging fertilizer waste into the city’s sewer system. Two such incidents occurred, in 2001 and 2007.

Sawyer faces a maximum one year in federal prison, plus a fine of up to $25,000 per day of the violation. The company faces a possible fine of $50,000 or more per day of the violation.

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