Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2001, landfill workers handled sacred rubble
As some wonder if the King George Landfill was the place where partial remains of 9/11 victims were taken, it’s worth noting that the landfill did play a role in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
A report released Tuesday said officials at Dover Air Force Base processed some partial remains of victims killed at the Pentagon and in the Pennsylvania plane crash, then disposed of pieces that couldn’t be identified by sending them to a landfill.
Neither the Army or the Pentagon named the landfill.
But King George definitely was known to the Department of Defense in 2001. Officials asked if the county’s landfill would accept the mountain of debris, left in the wake of the attack on the Pentagon.
County supervisors voted a week after the terrorist attack to accept the rubble.
Members said they were doing their part to help the nation recover.
The board voted again in October 2011 to take asbestos-laden materials from the Pentagon as well. By that point, the Department of Defense had trucked more than 20,000 tons of debris to the county.
Warren Veazey, who worked at the adjacent Birchwood Power Plant at the time, had visited the landfill at one point.
He saw Waste Management workers following the county’s instructions to handle the Pentagon debris separately from other trash.
“They jokingly calling it sacred rubble,” Veazey recalled on Wednesday.
Nobody stopped to consider there might actually be bits and pieces of body parts in that rubble, Veazey said.
“What do you do when there’s a giant explosion?” he asked. “There is no way to get 100 percent of it.”
The rubble trucked into King George certainly is a different situation from what the report on Tuesday described. It said that unidentified cremated remains that were processed at Dover eventually ended up at a landfill.
The report sounded eerily similar to one in November that revealed that some partial remains of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan had ended up at the King George Landfill.
“That’s just Dover’s fault, not disposing of them properly,” Veazey said. “I think it was just dirty rotten lazy.”