Waste Control Specialist President, Rod Baltzer, stopped by the Big 2 News studio to give us an update on the low-level radio-active waste site in Andrews. According to Baltzer, getting the disposal site up and running has taken longer than they expected, but WCS is still making progress.
From day one the WCS disposal site has gotten a massive amount of attention. Some good and some bad. Of course, with the bad comes the delays and set backs. But all and all, Baltzer calls these stalls... people making mountains out of mole hills. He's confident come May of next year, 70 people will have new jobs and the disposal site will be open for business.
“We deal with radio active waste and anytime you say that word radio active people pay a lot of attention we do is scrutinized more and we recognize and accept that," says Baltzer.
One for the first things, WCS had to recognize was that some people don't want the disposal site in Andrews and they don't support the 75 million dollar bond that was narrowly passed by Andrews voters.
"We think as every Court along the way will confirm. The results, was a valid election and it will withstand," explains Baltzer.
To counter that lawsuit, WCS filed a bond validation lawsuit to confirm the results were valid. Both lawsuits are still pending. "WCS is still on-track, we're still making progress," says Baltzer.
Progress that was stalled recently, when a report came out that TCEQ was about to send WCS a notice of violation because of small cracks in one of the low specific activity pads at the site. Turns out, WCS says they fixed the problem prior to the notice even arriving in their mailbox.
"The asphalt had cracked in the heat, as it does. We inspect the pad every 6 month, so we did some repairs to fix that. Tar to fill in the cracks and than coating to secure it had a longer life," says Baltzer.
"The engineer has since recertified the LSA pad, meaning it can be continued to be used to safely meet long term storage needs at WCS," explains WCS Spokesperson, Chuck McDonald.
Now with a clean bill of health, Baltzer hopes there are no more obstacles and by September they can break ground on the facility and start celebrating the positives.
"We expect that the facility will produce a lot of revenue. 5% will come to Andrews County and 5% will go to the state of Texas so it's a very good economic development," says Baltzer.
If all goes to schedule construction of the disposal site for compact waste is set to start in the fall and be completed in May 2011. Six months after that, WCS hopes to begin construction on the federal landfill. WCS is licensed to dispose of class A, B and C low level waste.