The EPA Cleaned Up the ‘Valley of the Drums’ Outside Louisville 45 Years Ago. Why Did it Leave the ‘Gully of the Drums’ Behind?

A University of Louisville graduate student has exposed a comedy of errors by federal, state and local agencies that has allowed hazardous wastes to pollute the ground and, possibly, a nearby waterway.

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded to a “surface water pollution emergency” on farmland 17 miles south of downtown in 1979, federal officials joined state regulators in removing 17,000 barrels of hazardous waste from an illegal dump site. It would become notorious nationally as the “Valley of the Drums.”