Dioxin: Regulatory Developments

April 22, 2016 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

EPA Proposes to Remove Missouri Property from NPL

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Region 7 has issued a “Notice of Intent to Delete” an eight acre area known as the Callahan property, Operable Unit 3 (“OU3”) (Parcel ID 22U220242), of the Ellisville Superfund Site located in Wildwood, Missouri, from the National Priorities List (“NPL”).

Background

The NPL, promulgated pursuant to Section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) of 1980, as amended, is an appendix of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (“NCP”).

The EPA said in its notice that the EPA and the State of Missouri, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, had determined that all appropriate response actions at the Callahan property (OU3) under CERCLA had been completed.

It indicated, however, that deletion of the property did not preclude future actions under CERCLA.

Community Objections

Some community advocates are seeking to have the site remain on the NPL, expressing concerns that removing the site from the list could result in it being developed, with contaminated soil being exposed.

Environmental Stewardship Concepts, a consulting firm based in Virginia, reportedly has said that toxin levels were unacceptably high at the site.

Decades ago, the EPA removed thousands of tons of what it characterized as dioxin-contaminated soil and hundreds of waste drums from the area. It has long assured residents that the site was safe and that toxins there were “below a level of concern.”

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U.S. EPA Challenges N.Y. DEC Over CWM Landfill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has said that the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) should not permit CWM Chemical Services, LLC, to discharge more chemicals into the Niagara River from its proposed landfill in upstate New York.

The EPA’s Position

CWM operates a commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility in Model City, New York, in Niagara County, under a permit issued by the DEC.

According to the EPA, however, the so-called “Great Lakes Initiative,” and its regulations, prohibit CWM from increasing the amount of material it discharges into the Niagara River.

Alyssa Arcaya, the section chief of the EPA’s Clean Water Regulatory Branch, stated, “Even if CWM provides a demonstration of economic need for this expansion, the requirements … mandate that no lowering of water quality shall be allowed, under any circumstance.” Ms. Arcaya added, “The Niagara River is also on the list for impairments due to PCBs and dioxin in contaminated sediments, and there is a fish consumption advisory. The Niagara River is not achieving its best use.”

The DEC should not allow an increase in the amount of CWM’s discharge, according to Ms. Arcaya, but, rather, “should be requiring the off-site treatment of leachate, or an alternative solution that decreases the discharge of [chemicals].”

To address the EPA’s objections, the DEC reportedly is revising the water discharge permit requirements for CWM.

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