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Oil-soaked waste worries Gulf Coast landfills' neighbors

McClatchy Newspapers - At a sprawling landfill some 50 miles from the oil-spotted coastline, trash bags brimming with tar balls, oil-soaked boom, sand, and tangles of sea grass are dumped.

Piles of dirty oil retention booms await disposal at a staging area in Grand Isle, La., Friday, July 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) Though workers in the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history wear protective gloves and coveralls as they labor across the Gulf Coast clearing beaches of oil, the mounds of debris they amass meet a pedestrian fate: burial in the same landfills that take in diapers, coffee grounds, burnt toast, yogurt containers, grass clippings and demolition debris.

Since the first trucks began rolling in June, nearly 40,000 tons of "oily solids" and related debris have been sent to municipal landfills from Louisiana to Florida, sparking complaints - and in one case, enough consternation that BP decided to stop dumping in a landfill. Read more.

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