NORWICH – Radiation is already in the Pharsalia Landfill despite a local law intended to exclude it, says Cornell Cooperative Extension Director Ken Smith in a letter to the Chenango County Natural Gas Committee Jan. 31.
Smith’s claim contradicts what the county’s public works department director insisted during a meeting of town supervisors last month, that absolutely no radiation at any level was permitted in the landfill.
The Chenango County Public Works Committee was interpreting a recent laboratory analysis of drill cuttings from a Norse Energy well site in Smyrna. Using a testing company recommended by the county, Norse had invested in the screening as a precautionary measure.
“Regarding radioactive materials being admitted to the Chenango County Landfill, everything that has ever been delivered to the county landfill has contained radioactive materials, and everything that will ever be delivered to the Chenango County Landfill will contain radioactive materials,” said Smith in his letter to the gas advisory committee.
Even though the lab declared that radiation was undetected in the cuttings, Department of Public Works Director Randy Gibbon said some units were present as indicated by ‘less than’ arrows, but not zero. Gibbon backed up his refusal of the waste with Local Law No. 3, an ordinance enacted in 1989 and later amended in the early 90s when parcels in Chenango County were being considered for a low level radioactive waste dump.