Feds move in to clean up hazardous dump site

WAPATO, Wash. -- Federal agencies moved in to clean up a hazardous dump site Monday in Wapato. County officials said it's the largest of its kind in more than 30 years.

Federal and state officials brought in crews to clean up a gigantic dump site on Ashue Road in Wapato.

Action News first showed you the mess last year. Yakima County officials said it's possibly the largest private dump site they've ever seen.

Most of the recent material came from the demolition at Wapato High School. Materials torn down and pulled out of the school were taken to the dump a short distance from campus. The EPA says air samples tested positive for asbestos and there is concern for lead.

Yakima County officials also said the property owner has apparently allowed people to dump materials on his land for years.

KIMA previously spoke to owner Simone Gayton in person and has reached out to him several times since. He admitted to allowing the dumping, but Gayton said he was never paid and didn't know it could be dangerous.

Action News also spoke with Denny Ames who claims he referred the construction company to Gayton. Ames said he helped level out the material once it was was dumped.

"Do you think it was a mistake to dump here?" KIMA asked.

"Oh yeah. It is now. I know it is now," Ames said.

Ames said they didn't think it was a problem because they didn't expect asbestos.

EPA officials said they'll be at the site until Saturday. The cleanup is expected to cost $175,000.

The EPA is still investigating who will pay that bill. They said the Wapato School District and the two contractors involved could all be on the hook for the cost.

"I just wish it wouldn't have happened," Ames said.

The Wapato School District said their contract expected workers to dispose of the material in a proper place.

The EPA said the enforcement is taking a long time because the parties involved refuse to work together. They are monitoring the air as the cleanup continues.