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#3431: Gonaives Ash Off Florida AP050200 from Slavin (fwd)
From: Patrick Slavin <email@example.com>
Keywords: toxic waste, Gonaives, Philadelphia
Ashes From '86 Now Off Florida
.c The Associated Press
By KARIN MEADOWS
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) - Some 14 years after the original shipment of
incinerator ash left Philadelphia, then was rejected by port after port,
2,000 tons of the waste has ended up in barges along the Florida coast.
Laboratory tests showed the ash is not hazardous waste, Kris McFadden of the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection said today.
However, there was still no definite word where the ash would end up.
Florida counties are refusing to transport the ash to their landfills.
The story began in 1985 when Philadelphia was searching for a place to put
ash from an incinerator in the Roxborough neighborhood. More than 14,000 tons
were loaded onto a bulk-cargo ship, the Khian Sea, which in late 1986 began
its ill-fated voyage.
For more than two years, the ship sailed the Caribbean searching for a dump
site. Crew members reported being turned away from ports at gunpoint and
being threatened with attack by environmentalists, who maintained the ash
contained toxic heavy metals.
The Bahamas, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guinea-Bissau and the
Netherlands Antilles all refused the ash.
In December 1987, the ship's crew unloaded nearly 4,000 tons of the ash near
Haiti's port of Gonaives. The ship's captain later testified that he was
ordered to dump the remaining 10,000 tons into the Atlantic and Indian
In 1998, the 4,000 tons of ash in Haiti was ordered removed. There was no
immediate explanation where it has been since then or what happened to the
remaining 2,000 tons.
On Monday, five barges loaded with the waste sat in Florida's Intracoastal
Waterway - two at Fort Pierce and three at Stuart.
McFadden said today the material was being transferred from the open barges
to a ship with covered cargo compartments.
Waste Management Inc. is attempting find a home for the incinerator waste
somewhere in the Southeast, said company spokesman Bill Plunkett in Houston.
The ash likely won't be dumped in Florida, he said. A disposal facility in
Carlyss, La. is a possibility.
``From our perspective, it's material that can be handled fairly easily,''
Plunkett said. ``It's been tested and determined to be non-hazardous, but we
want to handle it in a way that is safe for the environment and that's what
we intend to do.''
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.