EPA Schedules Emergency Cleanup at Valley of the Drums

[EPA press release - September 18, 1981]

An expenditure of $400,000 will be made from the new Superfund for emergency cleanup work at Kentucky's top priority hazardous waste site--the Valley of the Drums, near Louisville.

Anne M. Gorsuch, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said today EPA will spend the money to pay for removal of about 1,500 drums containing chemical waste to reduce the possibility of fire.

The Valley of the Drums drew national attention in 1979 as one of the country's worst abandoned hazardous waste sites. Thousands of drums--accumulated over a 10-year period--were strewn in pits and trenches over a 23-acre site in Bullitt County.

The drums of the site scheduled for cleanup are deteriorating quickly. When it rains, they overflow and leak into Wilson Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River. They contain such chemicals as benzene, toluene and methylmethacrylate.

Kentucky's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection already has accomplished a considerable amount of work at the site. The department has participated in biological land chemical surveys and, working with the former producers of the waste, has removed a large number of drums.

A treatment system installed on the site to detoxify runoff before it enters Wilson Creek now needs modification or replacement. Kentucky has agreed to operate the new or modified treatment system if EPA installs it.