Enforcement Officer Speaks On Bust Of Suspected Hazardous Waste Site

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MADISON COUNTY (KFSM) -- The environmental enforcement officer, who busted what is being called a hazardous waste site in Wesley, said the investigation is ongoing.

Mike Harp with Boston Mountain Solid Waste Management said the violations are some of the worst he's seen in his career.

"In the nine years I`ve been an environmental officer for the state, working for the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District, it`s one of the larger illegal dumps and hazardous waste sites I`ve experienced," said Harp.

A tip about smoke coming from behind a house on Highway 74 prompted local officials to contact Boston Mountain who in turn went to investigate the property.

Three hundred salvaged and broken computer monitors containing lead and mercury and more than 350 pounds of wire have been burned and dumped in a nearby pond, according to Harp.

Harp said the lead and mercury caused great concern, which could seep into the ground and run into nearby creeks.

"We had the potential for getting hazardous waste floating downstream which goes into our water table in Beaver Lake," said Harp.

Melinda Sanders, a Washington County jailer, Brandon Harris and Michele Vandine are accused of environmental crimes, but the investigation is ongoing, according to Harp.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality could also get involved with the case.

'We would work on that to get it done," said Harp. "But it's all a process and getting people in contact and getting the right people here to sample and look at what we need to do to correct the violation."

Harp said he hoped to have his investigation wrapped up within the next week.

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