The Salt Lake International Airport may allow toxic kiln dust to be buried near its runway approach, much to the relief of county officials vexed with disposing of the hazardous material.
County Commissioner Randy Horiuchi and health officials met with airport director Lou Miller on Friday to discuss the idea."It's probably a workable thing," Miller said, noting Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis and the Airport Authority Board would have the final say.
Runway approaches are open fields that can't be developed. Miller said using the ground to dispose of kiln dust could "solve problems for a lot of people."
The highly alkaline dust contains cadmium, chromium and molybdenum. It accumulated from 3 to 7 feet deep on a 71-acre site now owned by Lone Star Industries at 1000 S. Redwood Road but became deeper when Portland Cement used the site as a dump.
The $13 million process of removing and disposing of the waste involves lining the disposal pit to prevent possible leakage into groundwater and covering the dust with a hard clay.
County officials have met opposition from Magna residents to a proposal to bury it at the city/county landfill near Magna. Horiuchi said other areas of the country have kiln-dust disposal problems, but they are watching Salt Lake County to see how best to proceed.
"The fear is if we don't do it right, we could set a bad precedent," he said.
Miller said he would assign the airport's environmentalist to work with the county on examining the feasibility of burying the dust at the airport.
The idea of using airport property was somewhat of a whim thought up by Horiuchi when he first took office this year. But he expressed relief that it may work.
"It's a great idea where everybody wins," he said.
Conditions for acceptance
If the airport does accept the toxic waste it will be with conditions:
- The airport or city would assume no liability for environmental problems arising from the disposal.
- It would cost the airport nothing.
- Disposal would take place in an area where no future development would occur.
- The airport would enter into a lease agreement or easement, similar to arrangements made with utilities using airport property.