The history of community involvement in the environmental field has been one of staggered improvement across the nation. The process, priority, and status of community involvement differs significantly not only from each of the 50 States and six Territories, but also from program to program, and site to site. Community involvement is dependant upon program priorities, agency lead (State, Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], Department of Defense (DoD), or other lead agency), program statutory requirements, resources, community economic levels, community interest, and project manager focus. These inherent differences have contributed toward the level of frustration expressed by citizens, regulators, and responsible parties.
Over the last five years, the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials’ (ASTSWMO) CERCLA and Brownfields (CaBS) Subcommittee members have been evaluating State and Territorial (State) roles at CERCLA cleanups. One troubling area has been the process of identifying and accepting States cleanup standards and rules as Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements (ARARs) in CERCLA cleanups.
On January 11, 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Pub.L.No. 107-118, 115 stat. 2356, “the Brownfields Law”). The Brownfields Law amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) by providing funds to assess and clean up brownfields; clarified CERCLA liability protections; and provided funds to enhance State and tribal response programs. Other related laws and regulations impact brownfields cleanup and reuse through financial incentives and regulatory requirements.
Due to the fast-paced changes in technology and consumer interest in buying new electronic products, many States are seeing an increase in the amount of older electronic items being discarded. Monitors and televisions with cathode ray tube (CRT) technology are a growing concern for the States. CRT units can contain a variety of toxic metals, such as barium, lead, and cadmium. Therefore, improper or uncontrolled disposal of these devices can have an adverse impact to the environment.
Performance-based contracting (PBC) is frequently used for implementing environmental cleanup work at federal facilities under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP). The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) has produced two white papers on the subject: “Performance Based Remediation Contracts and Compendium of State Lessons Learned – A Guide to Performance Based Environmental Remediation, November 2004,” and “State Perspectives on the Use of Performance-Based Contracting at Federal Facilities Cleanups, August 2010.” Both papers provide recommendations for improving the PBC process.
The Department of Defense (DoD) developed the advanced geophysical classification for munitions response process (hereafter referred to as advanced geophysical classification, or AGC) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of munitions cleanup.1 AGC represents a major change in how munitions cleanup is conducted. DoD and its partners have identified several advantages in using AGC over other technologies, including greatly improved performance at detecting and identifying munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) resulting in faster investigation and remediation; higher data quality and greater confidence under its accreditation process, which promotes State acceptance of the data; and less invasive fieldwork (fewer digs) due to the in-situ detection and classification of objects. In order for the DoD to regularly apply this technology at Munitions Response Sites (MRSs), State regulators must have an understanding and acceptance of AGC.
Since the enactment of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1976 and subsequent amendments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed and maintained several information systems. These evolving information management systems are necessary for tracking and maintaining information pertaining to the multitude of sites around the country involved in the generation, transportation, and management of hazardous waste.
On April 17, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final rule, Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities (80 FR 21301). This Position Paper is a brief update from ASTSWMO to comment on current developments in the regulation of coal combustion residuals (CCR).
This position paper addresses open bermed containment systems that are used to meet the spill prevention equipment requirements for underground storage tanks (USTs) outlined in 40 CFR 280.20(c). Bermed containment systems are configured with small concrete berms or curbing that surround the fill riser(s) for a UST system and are typically used at high volume facilities. The floor of the bermed containment systems are generally constructed of concrete and most of these systems have a drain that diverts any spilled liquid, rainwater, or melted snow, to an oil/water separator.
On June 21, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the rule, Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Identification and Listing of Special Wastes; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities (75 FR 35127). In this rulemaking, EPA co-proposed two options for regulation of coal combustion residuals (CCRs). Under one option, EPA would reverse its August 1993 and May 2000 Bevill Regulatory Determinations regarding CCRs and list CCRs as a special waste subject to regulation under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) when they are destined for disposal in landfills or surface impoundments. The other option would leave the Bevill determination in place and regulate disposal of CCRs under RCRA Subtitle D, with EPA issuing national minimum criteria under 40 CFR part 257 Criteria for Classification of Solid Waste Disposal Facilities and Practices. The proposal did not address the placement of CCRs in mines, or non-minefill uses of CCRs at coal mine sites. The proposal also did not change the May 2000 Regulatory Determination for beneficially used CCRs, which as EPA noted are currently exempt from the hazardous waste regulations under Section 3001(b)(3)(A) of RCRA. However, EPA did indicate that it was clarifying the determination and seeking comment on potential refinements for certain beneficial uses. This position paper is based in large part upon comments that ASTSWMO provided to EPA on November 19, 2010 in response to the proposal.