BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KFSM) — Senator Tom Cotton visited the former stump dump in Bella Vista for the first time Friday (Feb. 8).
The illegal dump site on Trafalgar Road has been burning since July 29, 2018.
Senator Cotton says after seeing and smelling the fire first hand, his main concern is public health.
Cotton is set to meet with acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler next week. He wanted to be able to describe what steps local and state government have taken, and if the Federal government can help.
Cotton says while he knows the air quality tests have shown the air is in a good to moderate air quality range, he wants the readings to be in the excellent range.
Senator Cotton is commending the governor and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for the trench that was built a few weeks ago. He says it's going to save millions of dollars already in the remediation costs.
"I understand from the ADEQ experts here that they expect to be moving forward on a particular technique in the next few weeks, and they will probably pin down the exact cost of the remediation of this site, and then we will see how we are going to fund that," Cotton said. "But the most immediate concerns that I would have are public health for all the folks who are driving up and down this road or living on the ridgeline, just across from the fire."
Senator Cotton says the EPA does have some discretionary funds available but isn't sure how much they will kick in until a clear plan is made and how much local and state government can afford to pay.
The state estimates up to $7 million dollars has been saved already by the trench dug around the fire to keep it from spreading.