Archive for Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Concrete dumping prompts warning

Meier Ready Mix truck dumps in ditch

February 2, 2000

Meier Ready Mix, Ozawkie, has been blamed for dumping concrete in a drainage ditch south of Kansas 32 highway.

On Friday, Mike Heideman, public information officer with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said that after sending KDHE environmental technician Vic Montgomery to the site on Jan. 21, it was determined that concrete had been dumped. It was not a large amount of concrete, Heideman said.

"We've sent a letter to the company reminding them that dumping concrete in roadside ditches is a violation of state law," Heideman said. "We're recommending to them that they clean it up."

Heideman said the truck that dumped the concrete into the drainage ditch belonged to Meier Ready Mix, Ozawkie.

Gene Meier, owner of Meier Ready Mix, which has operations in 11 Kansas cities, was unavailable for comment. Meier has plans to try to construct a concrete batching plant in Tonganoxie.

The area involved is on 230th Street, about a quarter-mile south of K-32 Highway.

The roadside ditch joins with water from an under-the-road culvert about 20 feet away. From there, the water flows into a stream heading toward the Kansas River, which is about three miles away.

Chuck Magaha, emergency management coordinator for Leavenworth County, said it's a common practice for cement trucks to rinse out the residue on-site.

"But not into the creek," Magaha said. "Usually they dump it into grader ditches."

Magaha said he didn't feel it was proper for the concrete to have been dumped in the drainage ditch.

"Whether it's a truckload or what, it's not proper for anybody to do this," Magaha said.

However, he added that unless he could see a negative impact on the environment, it probably wouldn't become an issue.

"If you told me there's a fish kill there, I'd probably go down to see," Magaha said. "I'd get Wildlife and Parks involved and let them go take a sample of the water."

Glen Cannizzarro, conservation officer with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, agreed that it would not become an issue with them unless there had been a fish kill.

Gary Rader, district conservationist with Natural Resources Conservation Service, said he didn't know if the concrete itself would cause a problem for wildlife.

"They always wash their trucks out and dump them somewhere when they get through," Rader said. "I don't know that they cause any problems, but it's probably not a good idea to dump it in a roadside ditch."

Heideman said state regulations say that trucks are to be washed out before leaving a construction site.

"The preferred way of doing that is to wash it out at the construction site and let the concrete settle and dry on the ground," Heideman said.

Usually the disposal of concrete material is not a problem, Heideman said.

"But when it gets into a stream or on somebody else's property, it gets to be a problem," Heideman said. "Most concrete companies have facilities where they wash them out."

After Montgomery's site visit, Heideman said that it didn't appear there had been substantial impact on public water supplies or on the stream.

"It's a relatively small amount," Heideman said.

"But what it came down to was the fact that the concrete had been dumped into a roadside ditch," Heideman said. "If it had been dumped a few feet away on dry land on the homeowner's property, it wouldn't have been a problem."

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