The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to enforce
laws requiring land disposal facilities to certify compliance with the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or shut down, according
to a report by the General Accounting Office (GAO). The GAO is an
investigative arm of the Congress. On November 8, 1985, land disposal
operators were supposed to certify that they were in compliance with
RCRA or cease operation.
GAO reports that only 543 of 1538 land disposal operations land
disposal facilities nationwide actually certified compliance with RCRA.
The remaining 995 were thus legally required to close down.
According to the law, the 995 had exactly one year in which to submit
closure plans to the EPA, to receive approval for the plan from EPA,
and to close down.
In the three EPA regions surveyed by GAO in September, 1986, less than
two months from the statutory deadline, only 2 of 458 non-complying
land disposal operations (0.4%) had actually closed. Only 191 closure
plans (19%) had been approved nationwide.
EPA officials say their poor performance is attributable to
insufficient resources for getting the job done. They say certification
of closure plans may take another three years, given the staffing
available to do the job. Meanwhile, they agree that the non-complying
facilities "represent a potential environmental hazard."
The GAO report, titled, "Hazardous Waste: Enforcement of Certification
Requirements for Land Disposal Facilities" [GAO/RCED 87 60BR], is
available free from: GAO, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20877; phone:
'HAZARDOUS WASTE WHEEL' REVEALS DANGERS OF HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
The average household contains roughly 80 to 100 hazardous household
products. They contribute to indoor air pollution, and, when thrown
into the local landfill, they contaminate local groundwater and the
general environment. Now a "Household Hazardous Waste Wheel" tells you
how to dispose safely of seven classes of paint products, 11 classes of
pesticides, five kinds of automotive products, and 13 kinds of
household products (e.g., oven cleaner, disinfectants, floor and
Where safe substitutes exist, the Wheel reveals them; where safe
disposal means are known, the Wheel tells you about them. The Wheel
lists hazardous ingredients, lists toxic effects, and makes us think
about why we need (or don't need) all those dubious products that a
corporate TV ad campaign convinced us all to buy.
The Household Hazardous Waste Wheel is $3.25 from Environmental Hazards
Management Institute, P.O. Box 283, 137 High St., Portsmouth, NH 03801;
phone (603) 436-3950.
IMPORTANT NEW GUIDE PUBLISHED TO HELP IN EMERGENCY PLANNING
The federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has published a
"Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Guide" in accordance with Title
III of SARA (Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act). The guide
is aimed at helping communities prepare and carry out emergency plans
related to hazardous materials fires, spills, releases and other
incidents. Every citizen activist can use this guide; for a free copy,
write to: HazMat Planning Guide (WH-562A), EPA, 401 M Street, SW,
Washington, DC 20460; phone: (800) 535-0202, or (202) 479-2449.
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY USED TO DESTROY TOXIC LIQUID CHEMICALS
The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has completed a field
demonstration of a new technique for destroying dioxins and furans in
liquid chemical wastes. The field test successfully decontaminated
8,650 gallons of contaminated wood-preservative wastes in Butte,
Montana; in an earlier field trial, the technique was used to
decontaminate 7,550 gallons of oily spent solvent in Kent, Washington.
The trials are carried out using a mobile treatment unit that employs
the KPEG chemical detoxification technique. KPEG stands for potassium
polyethylene glycolate. The KPEG technique reportedly detoxifies
chlorinated compounds at lower temperatures and in shorter times than
competing techniques. The Butte trials were conducted at 150 degrees
Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit) for an hour. EPA scientists note that
the technique does not work well in the presence of a lot of water and
the wastes must be well-mixed to achieve successful decontamination.
Regional EPA officials must request a trial of the mobile facility if
they want on in their area. Contact Charles Rogers, EPA, 26 West St.
Clair Street, Cincinnati, OH 45268; phone (513) 684-7477.
FREE HOTLINE: RCRA, SUPERFUND
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a free 800
phone number for people with questions about the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act (RCRA) or Superfund. Call (800) 424-9346; within DC
itself, call (202) 382-3000.
Descriptor terms: epa; emergency preparedness; superfund; sara;
hazardous chemicals; emergencies; information services; hazardous
materials emergency planning guide; emergency response; epa; superfund;
information services; hotlines; rcra; rcra hotline; misfeasance;
studies; waste disposal technologies; household hazardous waste;
pollution; indoor air pollution; household hazardous waste wheel;
environmental hazards management institute; pesticides; paint; wood
preservatives; alternative treatment technologies;