Feds closing in on Wapato dump; largest in 'county history'

Feds closing in on Wapato dump; largest in 'county history'
WAPATO, Wash. -- A rocky heap of dumped materials, piled sky-high. It’s the biggest of its kind ever in Yakima County.

KIMA first showed you the dump site on Ashue Road in Wapato in last year. Federal officials tell KIMA they uncovered it after finding out demo material from Wapato High School was being dumped here.

They tell KIMA it contains asbestos.

We first spoke with the property owner, Simone Gayton, last year. He said he allowed the dumping, but didn't know it was illegal. He says he wasn't being paid.

Now, the Environmental Protection Agency says Gayton is just one of the parties on the hook for the problem. Wapato School District and the construction companies are also to blame.

The EPA asked everyone involved to come up with a clean-up plan. But, they missed two deadlines. Now, months later, the dangerous material still sits here. KIMA wanted to find out when it will be cleaned.

KIMA tried to ask property owner Simone Gayton once again but he didn’t want to talk on camera. He tells KIMA he doesn't have the money to clean the mess up and says those who dumped it should be responsible. He says he thinks the case will ultimately end up in court.

The EPA is leading the investigation and gave KIMA this statement:

“In March, 2013, all known contractors involved with the school demolition, along with the property owners and the school district, received notice that they may be potentially liable for cleanup of the site. At this time, no potentially responsible parties have agreed to conduct any cleanup at this site, and no parties have been released from liability.”

The EPA goes on to say it will possibly clean up the site itself. And, make those involved foot the bill. Source close to the case say that's something that could happen before summers end.

One of the building contractors is Mid Valley Recycling. The company tells KIMA it did not contribute to dumping. The other contractor is Groat Construction. An employee there told us earlier this year it did dump on the private property.

The Wapato School District argues it had no control over where the old material was taken.