EPA comments about PCBs at Dededo dump - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

EPA comments about PCBs at Dededo dump

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - As mandated by court order, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency has submitted its response to new information released by the federal receiver about PCB contamination at the Dededo Residential Transfer Station.

Not only is Guam EPA concerned about the problem, but why it took so long for the federal receiver to release that information

It was in a March 19th special report filed by the federal receiver that GBB's David Manning informed the court that hazardous waste was detected on property the Guam Solid Waste Authority has been evaluating to expand the footprint of the Dededo Residential Transfer Station. The expansion is necessary to comply with permit conditions on the solid waste facility permit for the Layon Landfill.  According to the March 19th report PCB was detected on the proposed northward expansion site which is the property of the Chamorro Land Trust Commission.  GBB provided multiple mitigation options with price tags ranging anywhere between $1.2 million to $24.8 million.  It also proposed deviating from plans to expand north and instead expand west.

The contamination and GBB's new proposal to head west has left many questions for Guam EPA, such as why it took so long for the federal receiver to inform his agency about the contamination. According to Guam EPA administrator environmental assessments typically take weeks or months not years.

"And especially this particular point in time to bring all of these issues to light. We understand that the phase one assessment was done in 2011 and the phase two was done in 2013 and so again that gap of two years is something that we're questioning. I mean if the argument is that potential contamination can lead to ground water contamination we would expect that the receiver move in do haste and maybe it shouldn't have taken two years to conduct the second assessment. 439 and then three months later to release the results," he said.

Guam EPA suggests that the most cost effective way is for GBB and GSWA to stick with expanding northward but not on the contaminated property. He said that area will be partitioned off and will be cleaned by those found responsible for the environmental mess. "We're going to do who is the last known lessees are and we're going to go after them for the cleanup and mitigation costs to include the contamination area," he said.

According to Palacios the limited expansion to the north would still be permitable by Guam EPA and in compliance with consent decree requirements.

"At this point I'm not sure if expansion to the west if the best option because we'd have to again do another phase one assessment and phase two assessment and I'm just not sure how long that process would take 702 based on the time frame it took to do the assessments on the north property," he said.

If it took two years for the two assessments for the northward expansion Palacios is concerned that it could take another two years to evaluate the site to expand west. And in that instance would be beyond the federal receiver's own December timeline of completion for the consent decree and transition to the GSWA.

Meantime it has been determined that the ground water is not contaminated. And that the PCB contamination does not currently pose an immediate health threat to the nearby community so long as the site remains undisturbed.

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