For Immediate Release: February 28, 2013
Contact: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711,
EPA reaches agreement over Waimanalo Gulch Landfill fire threat
$1.1 million penalty for Clean Air Act violations
HONOLULU - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today a settlement with Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc. and the City and County of Honolulu over violations of air pollution laws at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill in Kapolei, Oahu.
Waste Management, operator of the landfill, and the City, owner of the landfill, are being required to implement enhanced gas monitoring to reduce the threat of underground fires at the landfill, follow fire response procedures in the event of a fire, and pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million. Waste Management estimates it has already spent about $1.5 million to design and construct a gas collection/control system required by federal law.
“Our settlement helps reduce the risk of fire at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, where gases reach temperatures that are among the highest for any landfill in the nation," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By bringing it into compliance with the Clean Air Act, we are protecting the community and the environment from exposure to toxic landfill gas.”
The settlement resolves allegations that Waste Management and the City failed to design, construct and operate a gas collection/control system, submit notifications regarding failures to complete construction milestones, prepare a startup, shutdown and malfunction plan, and to operate controls within the gas temperature limit. In addition, gas generated by decomposing refuse, such as air toxics, organic compounds, and methane - a potent greenhouse gas - was emitted from the landfill for approximately three years from 2002 to 2005.
Federal law requires large landfills to install and operate systems to collect gases generated by decomposing refuse. Effective gas controls at a landfill reduces the release of these gases, preventing them from escaping into the atmosphere. The federal default limit for gas temperatures in landfills is 131 F, in contrast to the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill system which has recorded temperatures as high as 188 F. Poorly controlled landfill gas, especially if it is excessively hot, may result in an underground fire.
Although there is no underground combustion at the facility currently, the settlement requires the company to comply with new safe interim gas temperature limits that are higher than the default limit, perform additional special gas monitoring, and insure that all monitoring data meets the requirements of a specified data quality plan. After the interim limits expire in 2016, Waste Management may use the monitoring data to support a request for permanent temperature limits that are higher than the default limit.
The Waimanalo Gulch Landfill was also the subject of EPA enforcement orders under the Clean Water Act, after heavy rains in January 2011 flooded a section of the landfill, causing waste to be released that resulted in beach contamination and closures. EPA’s compliance orders to Waste Management required an immediate cleanup, measures to stabilize the structure after the flooding, and stormwater control projects at the landfill.
The Clean Air Act consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval and may be viewed at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
For more information about CAA landfill regulations, please visit the EPA’s web site at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/landfill/landflpg.html#IMP.
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Thursday, February 28, 2013
News Release: EPA proposes plan to clean up Lower Duwamish Waterway from decades of industrial pollution
EPA proposes plan to clean up Lower Duwamish Waterway from decades of industrial pollution
Cleanup will remove nearly 800,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and greatly reduce sources of pollution to Seattle’s main industrial river corridor
CONTACT: Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Seattle—Feb. 28, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed plan to clean up the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site, the city’s chief industrial waterway located on the south end of Elliott Bay. The release of the sediment cleanup plan marks the beginning of a public comment period.
“The Duwamish is Seattle’s river. This plan is the product of our close coordination among the governments and businesses responsible for cleanup, and the communities and tribes who use the river for their food and livelihood,” said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10. “This cleanup will ensure that the Duwamish will be healthier and safer for the people and communities who rely on it, while also keeping the river open for business.”
The proposed plan calls for cleanup of the most contaminated sediment and would reduce PCB contamination in the Duwamish River by at least 90 percent in conjunction with cleanups already underway at early action sites. The plan also includes an environmental justice analysis that examines the impacts of contamination on minority and low-income populations around the Superfund site. In addition, the plan has a source control strategy to minimize the release of pollutants that could re-contaminate waterway sediments.
EPA manages the cleanup of contaminated sediment and the Washington State Department of Ecology oversees pollution source control under a 2002 agreement to share management of the five-mile site.
“Source control targets pollutants both past and present, and represents a continuing commitment to protect against re-contamination of Duwamish sediments after the EPA cleanup,” said Jim Pendowski, Ecology’s toxics cleanup program manager. “It takes broad involvement – including public agencies, businesses, and local residents – to sustain this effort. We’re all responsible for the health of the Duwamish.”
Industry, storm drains, and combined sewer overflows have polluted the Lower Duwamish Waterway surface water and sediments over the past 100 years. Over 40 hazardous substances were found in sediments at concentrations that pose a risk to people and marine life. Resident Duwamish fish and shellfish, which are consumed by local communities, accumulate contaminants that are harmful to human health.
The primary contaminants of concern are PCBs, dioxins, arsenic and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. EPA used scientific studies completed by the City of Seattle, King County, the Port of Seattle and Boeing to determine the extent of contamination and evaluate cleanup options. These parties recognized the need for cleanup measures and stepped up to do the work in areas of the river that contained the most contamination. The early action areas for cleanup are Slip 4, Terminal 117, Boeing Plant 2, Jorgensen Forge, Duwamish Diagonal and the Norfolk combined sewer overflow.
The proposed cleanup would address 156 acres of contaminated sediments through dredging, capping or enhanced natural recovery, including removal of nearly 800,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments from the waterway. Enhanced natural recovery refers to the application of a thin layer of clean sand that would reduce contaminant levels more quickly than natural recovery, where natural sedimentation from the river creates a cleaner surface over time. An additional 256 acres with lower levels of contamination would benefit from monitored natural recovery.
Since 2002, Ecology, the City of Seattle and King County have worked to investigate and reduce pollution sources in the waterway’s 32-square-mile drainage area with a series of targeted initiatives:
Ecology has overseen cleanups or investigations at 22 contaminated industrial sites along or near the Duwamish under the state’s cleanup law. EPA has managed the federal cleanup process at eight sites. Ecology’s proposed source control strategy will carry these efforts into the future, including monitoring to track the strategy’s effectiveness.
The proposed cleanup would take approximately seven years to implement, with an additional ten years to reduce contaminant concentrations to the lowest predicted concentrations through natural recovery. The estimated cost of the proposed cleanup is $305 million.
The release of the proposed plan marks the beginning of a 105-day public comment period. The public can submit comments through the EPA website and at three public meetings scheduled for April and May.
For more information on the proposed cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site or to submit comments online, please visit:
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02/28/2013 12:15 PM EST
By Lina Younes Ever since the beginning of the year, I have been noticing more the comings and goings of wild birds around my home. For the past weeks, I've been hearing an increasing number of bird calls as well. While I didn't quite recognize the distinct chirps or calls of the different birds, I [...]
U.S. EPA News Release: CountryMark Refining and Logistics, LLC to Install $18 Million in Pollution Controls to Resolve Clean Air Act Violations at Indiana Refinery
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