Martha Reclamation Program: Dump and Run

Toxic Soup: Ashland's Radioactive Sludge Pits

Toxic Soup: Radiation at Blaine Elementary School

Friday, January 8, 2010

Radiation at Blaine Elementary School

Over 15 years ago radiation was discovered in the drinking water and playground equipment at Blaine Elementary School, about 5 miles from Martha.  The playground equipment was made from pipes provided by Ashland Oil to the school.  Of course the pipes were loaded with radioactive scale and were removed from the school grounds once it was discovered that they were radioactive.

The drinking water at the school was tested and subsequently shut down.  The water table was evidently found to be contaminated so bottled water was brought in for the students.  Eventually a dedicated water supply was provided for the school and all this slipped down the memory hole.  Try googling the internet.  There’s nothing out there…except this:

From the Public Papers of Governor Brereton C. Jones, 1991-1995, page 359-360

House Committee on Appropriations Testimony
Washington, D.C.
February 28, 1995

“I went to Blaine Elementary School in Lawrence County, Kentucky, where $430,000 had been approved to help build thirty-one miles of water lines for the area.  The principal, who met me at the door, was nearly in tears because she was so excited.  The 320 students who went to that school had to drink bottled water because of the presence of radioactive sludge from nearby oil-field pits.  Some of them had never, ever, had running water in their homes.  And that $430,000 was only a part of the funding.  The community also had gotten a Community Development Block Grant of $750,000, a Farmers Home Administration grant of $500,000, a Farmers Home Loan of $400,000, plus more than $118,000 in local money and almost $35,000 in in-kind labor.  So that $450,000 has been parlayed into a construction project exceeding $2.3 million.”

What Governor Jones was telling the House Committee on Appropriations was that an original $430,000 contribution from the Appalachian Regional Commission was leveraged with additional federal and local taxpayer money into a $2.3 million water system for Blaine, Kentucky, all because Ashland Oil contaminated the water table with radioactive waste.  We may be mistaken, but, unless it is included in the local money or the in-kind labor we don’t see any Ashland contribution to this water system.  Blaine Elementary School had to shut down its well, buy bottled water, and the taxpayers had to buy a new water system for the school.  Ashland used to be considered by folks to be a good corporate citizen around here.  It seems that in the end they just did a dump and run.

Look at the video Toxic Soup: Radiation at School for more information about Ashland’s radioactive contamination at the school.

Ashland, clean up your mess!

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