Stuff Recycling ordered to pay $57K in fines, expenses

Published 10:13 am Friday, July 12, 2019

Stuff Recycling was ordered to pay more than $57,000 in penalties and response costs to the state for a list of violations from last year’s fire at the business.

The penalties were part of an agreed order between the metal recycling business and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet finalized in June.

The terms of the order call for Stuff Recycling to pay $40,000 in a civil penalty in addition to $17,221.62 for the state’s expenses in responding to the fire at Stuff, which began June 9, 2018. All fines were to be paid within 30 days of receiving the order, which was filed June 11.

Email newsletter signup

Cabinet spokesman John Mura said the fines were paid July 3.

The fire, which started around a pile of automobiles and other materials, burned for three days at the property. Approximately 35 agencies, including local fire departments and state agencies, responded to the fire. State officials estimated 1 million gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire.

The order listed a number of violations, including eight from the initial fire from failure to submit a written report about the water runoff to not developing a groundwater protection plan to water runoff from the site having a sheen and odors.

Two other notices of violations were issued in October 2018 and May 2019 for failing to remain within limits of iron, zinc and, in May, lead.

Stuff neither admitted nor denied the violations, according to the order, but agreed to the terms.

The company was also ordered to submit a revised best practices plan which included a schedule for installing a concrete pad and collection system for automotive fluids and to construct an earthen berm along a neighboring creek. The company was also ordered to file an environmental covenant in the county clerk’s office within 60 days to, at minimum, restrict the property to industrial use.

Two other suits are pending in Clark Circuit Court to recover costs from fighting the fire. The City of Winchester is seeking to recover approximately $58,000 for its expenses, as the city’s fire department was the second agency to respond.

Clark County also filed a suit on behalf of the county and 15 fire departments from neighboring counties who helped battle the blaze.

The county is asking the court to enforce its lien on the property ahead of others. Elkins said the lien was for approximately $86,000.

Several departments, including Lexington Fire Department, chose not to join the county’s suit, Elkins said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

email author More by Fred