CAMDEN, Tenn. — New groundwater testing has confirmed unsafe levels of a cancer-causing metal at an abandoned Tennessee landfill, a state environmental regulator says.

The testing measured twice the acceptable limit for cadmium at the Environmental Waste Solutions landfill in Camden, a rural community about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Nashville. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokesman Eric Ward told The Tennessean that the latest tests show that June testing results that found five times the acceptable levels of cadmium were a result of lab error.

Ward said the state regulators will follow the recommendations of a private consultant for future tests.

“We will continue to handle this situation as if we live in the neighborhood ourselves,” Ward wrote.

Resident Mike Melton, a longtime critic of the landfill adjacent to his home, said the difference in levels is of little comfort.

“They always find a way to try and explain things away,” Melton said.

Camden residents have attributed nausea, foul odors and other health problems to the 42-acre (16-hectare) landfill. While operational, the landfill took in “special wastes” from the aluminum, coal and railroad industries, along with diesel fuel from a Superfund site.

City officials have accused the TDEC of lax oversight. The mayor and city attorney asked the Environmental Protection Agency last year to investigate the TDEC, accusing it of permitting abuses and fraud.

The TDEC, which took over the landfill after the owner filed for bankruptcy last year, pushed back, saying it regularly inspects landfills and mandates corrective action.

Under TDEC management, the landfill has ceased accepting waste and is in the process of shutting down.


Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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