Radioactive scrap metal found at a Louisville recycling center dropped off by a competitor
An inspector with the Kentucky Radiation Health Branch writes that the scrap metal contains unidentified radioactive material causing low levels of radiation.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- At Rusty Rooster Recycling on Grade Lane, a cousin tries to wave-in cars.
The company trying to get people to try their newer business, which has been open for nine months.
"We're just a small player, a family owned business trying to make a living for our families," said Tom Brooks II, one of the owners.
But last month a competitor, Grade A, says it sent someone in to sell Rusty Rooster some scrap metal and check its customer service and prices.
Turns out the material is radioactive.
Grade A officials didn't want to go on camera, but told WDRB News they didn't even know the material was contaminated. They say it's not uncommon in this business to see old water pipes become naturally radioactive in the ground.
"They deliberately brought radioactive contaminated product and brought it to our lot, so we'd get into trouble where we sell the product," Brooks said.
Tom Brooks III says he received a tip about it being radioactive after they purchased the material.
An inspector with the Kentucky Radiation Health Branch writes in documents that the scrap metal does contain unidentified radioactive material causing low levels of radiation. Grade A later came and picked it up
The state says it's a minor radiological concern. A permit was issued with directions of not disturbing the load and returning it to the point of origin by direct route.
Rusty Rooster now has a sign that reads: "Grade A shipped radioactive material here trying to sabotage our company. This could have put our employees' health at risk."
When asked why he think it was deliberate, Brooks said, "I'm sure you aren't going to get this answer from them, but there's multiple people that know about this."
Grade A says the pipes have now been moved and are isolated on its lot. The company has hired an environmental service company that's about half way through testing the low radiation levels and will make sure the pipes are disposed of properly.
"Why can't we be competitive as far as how good customer service we have or who has the best price? Why does it have to involve calling planning and zoning, sending radioactive material? We don't see why that is necessary," Brooks III said.
Grade A denies sabotaging Rusty Rooster's business and says it's working to find out how it got the radioactive material in the first place. Rusty Rooster owners reported the incident to police, but police say they didn't see anything criminal in this case.
Grade A says there is no requirement that scrap yards test metals for possible radioactivity.
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