FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Earlier this week, 12 News reported on the hazardous waste at the site of the Fairmont Brine Processing Plant, which had been left unattended for months after a fire in May 2023.
That fire damaged an above-ground storage tank and the upper process building.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Region (EPA) is responding and said it is focusing its efforts on Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM), defined as naturally occurring radioactive material that has been concentrated or exposed to the environment because of human activities such as manufacturing, mineral extraction, or water processing.
TENORM was found in several areas of the site, the EPA said.
The EPA is also coordinating with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP), West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR), Marion County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and others.
The WVDEP and DHHR have worked with the plant to take precautions to prevent radionuclides from leaving the site, including enforcement action, and implementing a plan of corrective action to remove waste material and prevent onsite ponds from overflowing, according to the EPA.
The EPA said the DHHR and WVDEP will evaluate any contamination releases to the environment, and that the DHHR has coordinated with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department to increase patrols around the site. The EPA also said that it is planning to “fence off the area soon.”
Beginning Monday, Oct. 23, the EPA said it will open a public phone line and webpage designed to inform the public about its efforts and findings at the site. Click here to see the website. The phone line will be available starting Oct. 23, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.