KRC Comments On Renewal Of Triple M Land Farm Permit Posted: November 2, 2009
November 2, 2009
Ronald D. Gruzesky, P.E.
Division of Waste Management
200 Fair Oaks Lane
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Application APE20090001 / AI# 3981
Dear Mr. Gruzesky:
I am writing to you concerning the application of Triple M Land Farms, Inc. for renewal of the solid waste permit for their land farm facility in Simpson County, Kentucky. For the reasons stated below, I respectfully suggest that the permit should not be renewed, and that the facility should begin closure and post-closure care.
I. The land application of petroleum-contaminated soils does not appear to fall within the definition of activities for which a “landfarming permit” can be issued.
The land application of petroleum-contaminated soils does not appear to fall within the definition of activities for which a “landfarming permit” can be issued. 401 KAR 47:080 Section 2 classifies the different types of solid waste permits, and provides in pertinent part as follows:
"(4) Landfarming permit. Landfarming is a category of solid waste site or facility where solid waste is applied to the soil surface or injected into the upper layer of the soil to improve soil quality or provide plant nutrients. Solid wastes suitable for this purpose include, but are not limited to, food processing waste, municipal sewage treatment plant sludge, and municipal water treatment plant sludge. The technical requirements for landfarming facilities are found at 401 KAR 48:200. (Emphasis added)."
Absent a demonstration, supported by sound scientific information, that soils contaminated by benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, MTBE and other compounds typically found in gasoline improve soil quality or provide plant nutrients, the facility cannot be issued a landfarming permit to land apply such wastes.
II. The facility appears to have accepted and land-disposed of soils contaminated with levels of benzene that exceed the threshold for a “hazardous waste” by characteristic of TCLP toxicity, in apparent violation of 401 KAR 48:200 Section 8(5).
In response to an Open Record Act request, KRC obtained sampling results, all inspection reports, all letters of warning and Notices of Violation, all Compliance Evaluation Inspection reports, and all correspondence for the past five years.
Of particular concern are the documents relating to the acceptance and disposal of wastes from a drum labeled “hazardous waste” as part of a shipment of drums from tri-Star Energy, Inc. of Nashville Tennessee.
A documents in the file captioned “TMLF Additional 12-30-08 CEI General Comments” noted that there were 24 55-gallon drums in Cell #4 during the December 30, 2008 compliance evaluation inspection, some of which were “open, empty and laying on their side,” and two of which were labeled “Hazardous Waste”. One of those two drums had “recently been dumped into Cell #4.” The other labeled drum was sampled by the field inspector, along with a second upright drum that had not been opened.
The report noted that sampling was conducted by an independent lab using TCLP, and that the sludge in the labeled Hazardous Waste drum had 1.4 mg/l of benzene, which is well-above the TCLP limit at which the waste would be considered hazardous. The floor sludge of Cell #4 was also sampled “from the point where the empty HW labeled drum was located to determine if a HW had possibly been accepted and / or disposed of on site.” That sample revealed an analytical result of .91 mg/l for benzene, again well over the .5 mg/l standard for classifying the waste as hazardous.
Regardless of the explanation given by Tri-Star Energy, LLC. on January 9, 2009 that “two of the refurbished drums used had incorrect labeling”, the sampling results suggest that both of the drums did in fact contain hazardous waste sludges and that neither should not have been accepted, nor the contents of the one barrel land-applied.
401 KAR 48:200 Section 8(5) prohibits the discharging or placing of “hazardous wastes or mixtures of hazardous and solid wastes” in a landfarming site. The failure to have noticed the labeling of the two drums as “hazardous”, to have notified the Cabinet when those drums were received, to have conducted sampling to determine whether mislabeling was the problem or whether the wastes in fact exceeded the limit for being classified as “solid wastes” rather than hazardous, all suggest that the permit should not be renewed. As noted by the Cabinet, under 401 KAR 47:120 Section 1(1), any permit noncompliance “is grounds for enforcement action which may result in revocation, modification or denial of a permit renewal application.”
III. All soils contaminated with hazardous levels of benzene should be excavated and managed in accordance with Cabinet regulations.
It is unclear from the records provided by the agency what was the disposition of Drum #1 (the labeled hazardous waste drum containing liquid and sludges) and of the soils contaminated with the sludges from the labeled and dumped drum. The Notice of Violation acknowledged that the facility had accepted “two (2) 55-gallon drums with “Hazardous Waste” labels on them and that one of those drums’ contents had been dumped “directly into Cell #4”, but curiously noted “NO VIOLATIONS OBSERVED – BUT IMPENDING VIOLATION TRENDS OBSERVED.”
Respectfully, the analytical report commissioned by the Cabinet plainly indicates that the two (2) labeled drums had sludges exceeding hazardous waste levels for benzene. A NOV for the apparent violation of 401 KAR 48:200 Section 8(5) should be issued, and excavation and proper disposal of all wastes with concentrations of benzene in excess of the permissible limit should be required.
For these reasons, KRC respectfully requests that the permit renewal application be denied and that further appropriate investigation, enforcement, and remedial action be undertaken.
cc: Secretary Len Peters, Energy and Environment Cabinet
Stan Meiburg, Acting Administrator, EPA Region IV
Attachments: Photos of Labeled Drums
Additional Comments from Compliance Evaluation Inspection