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Oklahoma Residents Fight State Over Fly Ash Site

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The fly ash site in Bokoshe. The fly ash site in Bokoshe.

Jennifer Loren, News On 6

UNDATED -- It's a battle that's dragged on for years and the people of one small Oklahoma town fear the state will fail them again.

They say their town has been turned into a toxic dump because of a fly ash site there and no state agency will take responsibility.

10/28/2010 Related Story: Oklahoma Fails Small Town In Fly Ash Regulation

Several people from Bokoshe took the stand the last two days in a hearing at the corporation commission. It's a very complicated issue, but basically the corporation commission allowed oil and gas wastewater to be dumped on top of the fly ash at the site.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in and ordered a cease and desist because emergency testing showed the water was contaminated and running off the site, into local streams.

Residents spoke at the hearing to try and ensure the site's operators can't re-apply to dump more wastewater there.

"We don't want them to let them start dumping the oil and gas waste water back in the pit again because we know as soon as they do it's going to come off site just like it did when they was dumping it earlier." Tim Tanksley, Bokoshe resident

The site is actually regulated by three different state agencies, which residents say has been a disaster because they all point their fingers at one another.

In the meantime, the EPA is trying to decide if it should regulate fly ash sites like this one, instead of leaving it up to the states.

The waste water permit is still suspended. The judge should make his recommendation in the next couple of weeks.

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