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Armstrong Co. Residents Voice Concerns Over Nuclear Waste Site Cleanup

ARMSTRONG COUNTY (KDKA) -- It's one of the largest nuclear waste dumps in the country – and the federal government is spending more than $400 million to clean it up.

Tuesday night, residents who live nearby had their say about how that should be done.

They braved the frigid cold to pack a fire hall and voice their concerns about how best to unearth and dispose of hundreds of barrels of radioactive nuclear waste buried on a 144-acre tract in Parks Township.

"We need to get this thing done this time. We need to get it done right," said one resident.

The first attempt to clean up the site failed, after allocating more than $40 million, the feds fired the first contractor for failing to adhere to proper procedures. People in the town do not want to see a repeat of that.

"We want to be sure that the corps uses their God-given talent to pick a contractor that's going to ensure our safety … 'cause right now, I am going through chemotherapy for follicular lymphoma and I don't want to do that all over again," said Michael Tartivo of Parks Township.

Now the US Army Corps plans to spend $350 million more to amend its plan and hire a new contractor.

Concerns ran from the transport of nuclear waste, "A radioactive material truck blocking both lanes of Route 66 and River Road, in a passing lane, is an inherently dangerous situation," said Neill Andritz of Park Townships.

To the training of local first responders in the event of an accident.

The corps will select a new contractor this year to develop a clean plan and begin excavation for the waste in 2017 – which is expected to take up to 10 years.

"How many people in here have children?" asked Patty Ameno of Leechburg. "Let me see your hands, this is what it's about. We can't undo anything that's already been done. We can't put the genie back in the bottle, but we can sure as hell move forward with something good and we can leave something good for the future generations."

These residents have waited a long time for the cleanup and will have to wait two more years, but their highest priority is that it is done right.

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