By: Sarah Snyder
ANDREWS COUNTY - The group aiming to roll in radioactive waste to West Texas says it's full steam ahead. Waste Control Specialists (WCS) plan to break ground during the next few months on their low-level radioactive waste disposal facility putting an end to a battle that's been raging for years.
Right now, they're evaluating bids for their waste disposal project totaling $75 million. Back at the beginning of the summer, they were cited by the TCEQ after a maintenance check found cracks in the pad that holds the 3700 canisters of waste. That pad is made up of caliche, rock and an asphalt top. By July, they patched everything up and now they're back in compliance with state regulations.
"Some of the asphalt just over weathering and things had developed cracks in it so we sealed it just like you would a road and put a coating on it to enhance the life and we'll now induce our inspection cycles to be done quarterly," Rod Baltzer, President of Waste Control Specialists, said. "There was no release of materials, there was never any danger of release, and there was never any health, safety or environmental impacts from that."
WCS was also cited by the TCEQ for storing a concrete canister of the hottest low-level radioactive material in West Texas for more than the one year period allowed by it's license.
But not only were there a few problems on the surface, they've been in a courtroom battle.
Andrews County voters approved the $75 million bond last year by just 3 votes but opponents to the project claim there were errors made during voting. Right now it's being challenged in the Texas Supreme Court but company executives believe it will be dismissed.
WCS officials say if all goes according to plan, they hope to break ground by the end of this year and complete construction by next August.