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Concerns Over Earthquakes Near Hazardous Waste Landfill

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The 5.1 magnitude earthquake that shook northwest Oklahoma Saturday morning -- one of the strongest ever recorded in Oklahoma -- was felt from Kansas City to Dallas, but, at least, according to preliminary reports, caused no damage.

The temblor's epicenter was in rural Major County, 17 miles northwest of Fairview.

But the earthquake was only a few miles from the Lone Mountain landfill, the state's only hazardous waste landfill. Previous earthquakes in the area have caused those who live in the area to raise questions about the facility's vulnerability to earthquakes.

Officials with both Clean Harbors, which owns and operates Lone Mountain, and the Department of Environmental Quality say there is no cause for concern, Still, the state is taking steps to insure that the facility's containment system is secure.

DEQ has requested that Clean Harbors conduct a new engineering analysis of the facility. Clean Harbors confirms it has begun that process and expects to turn over the results to the state in April.

Lone Mountain, according to DEQ, is authorized to store, treat, recycle, and dispose of a "wide variety of hazardous wastes ... Storage occurs in tanks, roll-off boxes, drums, and similar containers. Treatment processes include pH adjustment, stabilization and blending for solidification."

DEQ conduct regular inspections of all landfills, including Lone Mountain.

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