Health and Family Services Cabinet
Officials Meet to Discuss, Craft Martha Reclamation Project
DPH Emphasizes Need to Move Ahead with Cleanup
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) hosted a working meeting Thursday with the principal parties involved in the Martha Oil Field reclamation project in Lawrence and Johnson counties.
DPH, which has held a series of public meetings to address Martha Oil Field community concerns, is focusing attention on the need to move ahead with cleanup work in the area. Representatives from Ashland Inc. (previously Ashland Oil Inc.), the Kentucky Resources Council, the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, DPH and technical consultants engaged in the project were present at the meeting to resolve lingering questions on methodology, logistics and timing.
“We made a very positive step forward at this meeting by getting all the interested parties in the room,” said Clyde Bolton, director of the Division of Public Health Protection and Safety. “This puts us closer to final completion of the project.”
The reclamation project initially began in the early 1990s following a discovery of surface water contamination in the Martha Oil Field area. Later testing confirmed the presence of elevated levels of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). The Cabinet for Human Resources, now Health and Family Services, entered into an agreement with Ashland Inc. to complete a cleanup project that removes contaminated material. But work on the project stalled following community concerns and subsequent litigation.
On Thursday, Ashland Inc. representatives stressed the company’s commitment to work with the state and the community to address these issues.
Additionally, DPH will perform added assessment of contaminants, monitor cleanup activity, and provide final validation testing to complete the project. DPH will have teams on site during the reclamation process, and said they anticipate cleanup assessment activity to start around the first week of April.