TxDOT under investigation for improper paint disposal

TxDOT under investigation for improper paint disposal

HOPKINS COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - East Texas' TxDOT is under investigation after allegations of illegal disposal. 

The allegations stem from a report of improper disposal of paint at the TxDOT facility in Hopkins County. 

"On August 17, two of our employees were cleaning up around the Hopkins County maintenance facility, they found some partially dried out water-based latex paint and they buried it to dispose of it," said TxDOT PIO Tim McAlavy. 

TxDOT said those who completed the burial of that paint reported their action six days following the event. It was then, safety officials from the county, EPA, and TxDOT coordinated the removal of the waste. 

" All these folks agreed to meet the following Wednesday on site with our Hazmat contractor," said McAlavy. 

The paint has since been removed and sent off for testing to see if water-based paint was the only material sitting in the ground for a week. It was during  that week Hopkins County experienced rain and possible runoff. 

"We'll have to get those soil tests, analysis tests back to see if any of this paint got into the ground," said McAlavy.
On a standard can of paint, it warns that all users should dispose of the material in accordance to local, state, and federal regulations. In Hopkins County, disposing of this type of material improperly is a crime. 

Hopkins County environmental officers Jim Dial said paint is to be fully dried before it is disposed into appropriate waste containers. 
We asked the Dial whether or not he would encourage others to dispose of paint products into the ground. 

"Regardless of whether this is a major hazmat or not, it just cannot be disposed of in that manner," said Dial. "It's got to be allowed to dry. It is a crime, to dispose of it improperly."

In regard to any reprimands that TxDOT could face, Mcalavy said, "We'll have to wait and see how the soil analysis comes back."

TxDOT media relations in Austin told us they do not believe there is any threat to surrounding residents and they will notify the proper channels if tests indicate otherwise.

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