Officials Waiting On Test Results Of Ash Unearthed At Warehouse Site

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Knoxville (WVLT) Demolition of the McClung Warehouse has slowed down, because state officials have ordered testing of the ash.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt has more on the delay.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation got calls from area landfills and contractors, looking for guidance on the best way to dispose of the ash, because they want to make sure the debris is taken to the proper landfill.

Piles of rubble will stay put at the site of the McClung warehouse, but the investigation still moves forward.

Assistant Chief Roger Byrd with the Knoxville Fire Department says, "we are continuing the investigation, we're just not digging in the rubble."

Not digging, because the contractor and local landfills want to make sure they dispose the ash safely.

One option is a class one landfill.

Tisha Calabrese-Benton, with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation says, "it has engineered liner for the protection of groundwater that ash would not require testing by our department."

But the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation does require testing for class four landfills.

Calabrese-Benton continues, "but on a construction and demolition landfill that isn't lined, it's very important that any material that is put in that type of landfill does not contain any toxic material."

Toxic material like oils, metals and PCB all that could harm groundwater.

"This is all done under an abundance of caution, not because we have any direct information that there is anything harmful in the ash. But we want to be sure."

As you may remember, in 2002, the disposal of debris from the Coster Shop fire of 1999 contaminated well water in the Burnett Creek Road area of South Knox County.

And because the McClung Warehouse buildings are nearly 100 years old Assistance Chief Byrd says they may have material that could do damage.

"The floors most of the time in the olden days, they did use oil on their to keep the dust down in warehouses and things."

So for now, investigators will continue questioning, following up on leads, and building a timeline, until they can once again dig in and haul the debris off to a safe place.

Investigators say this is only a small delay and they expect the tests to be back sometime Monday.

They should be able to get back to work Tuesday.

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