The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality received a draft response plan for the stump dump fire with far higher cost estimates than initially expected.
According to the action plan draft prepared by EnSafe, an engineering firm hired to generate a plan to extinguish the fire, preliminary cost estimates are based on incomplete data but range from $4 million to more than $40 million for the response actions examined, including smoke mitigation, smothering, containment and flooding, controlled burn, targeted quenching and excavation and quenching.
The report also examines waste disposal options, including on-site fill and cover, construction of a landfill onsite, construction of a landfill offsite or offsite disposal at an existing construction debris landfill.
According to a press release issued by the ADEQ, the initial estimates for this mitigation process were initially between $5 million and $10 million but total estimates for excavation come in at $21 million to $37 million.
Governor Asa Hutchinson asked ADEQ and EnSafe to pursue more cost-effective alternatives, according to the press release, and will be seeking further assistance from the EPA.
Additionally, the ADEQ and Arkansas Forestry Commission have been instructed to begin work to prepare the site for cleanup.
ADEQ and AFC personnel were on-site last week to begin preparation for fire breaks and acquire access to work around the site.
The ADEQ's Remedial Action Trust Fund is going to be used for on-site preparation, to be performed by EnSafe, is expected to cost between $1 million and $1.3 million.
On-site work will include clearing trees and other vegetation for a staging area around the fire site, building an access road, placing a 15-foot fire break and cutting an exploratory trench. This work is expected to take between six and 12 weeks.
General News on 01/23/2019