KRC Comments On Proposed Renewal of DOE Landfill Permit

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KRC Comments On Proposed Renewal of DOE Landfill Permit  Posted: July 6, 2006
July 6, 2006

Lawrence A. Hamilton, P.E.
Division of Waste Management
14 Reilly Road
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Re: PGDP Application No. 073-00014, 15, and 45;
APE 20060007

Dear Mr. Hamilton:

KRC submits these comments in response to the public notice announcing the receipt by the Division of Waste Management (DWM) of a permit renewal application from the U.S. Department of Energy and Paducah Remediation Services, LLC to renew the solid waste permit for the S, T and U landfills at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) in McCracken County.

KRC, as you are probably aware, represents several individuals in a pending court challenge to the Agreed Orders entered into between the agency and DOE, which collectively compromise both the regulatory powers of the agency and the standards for proper management of wastes that are hazardous by characteristic or listing. KRC incorporates by reference the claims asserted in that action, which include a challenge to the disposal of radioactive materials in the landfills ? an action that is fundamentally irresponsible given the relatively short closure care period in relation to the potential for those materials to emit radioactivity at levels that might pose a threat to human health or the environment.

401 KAR 47:160 governs the submittal and review of applications to renew solid waste landfill permits, and in relevant part, provides that the Cabinet, “in issuing a renewal, shall consider whether the conditions of the original permit and modifications of permit conditions by agreed order or otherwise have been met. The cabinet may request updated information necessary for reevaluating the permit’s suitability for reissuance and impose additional or modified permit conditions when deemed appropriate.” 401 KAR 47:160 Section 5(4).

In this case, KRC requests that the Cabinet consider the compliance record of the facility with respect to the generation and management of leachate, and that the agency enforce the obligation of the facility to maintain at all times sufficient leachate collection and storage capacity for 15 days of leachate production at peak production rates. The chronic insufficiency of the leachate storage and the higher-than-predicted rates of leachate production, demand a realistic reappraisal of the rates of generation and thus the size of necessary storage tanks for generated leachate.

Additionally, KRC requests that DOE be required to screen, maintain records and report on the levels and sources of elevated radioactivity of any remediation wastes disposed of at the U-landfill. While the agency may be limited by law from barring certain materials from land disposal under court decisions, the agency is well within its powers in requiring that the facility report such activity and in extending care obligations for closed units to be commensurate with the potential risk posed by such land-disposed wastes.

With respect to the construction of any new cells at the U-landfill, the agency should not approve construction until the completion of and independent review of the earthquake fault study in order to assure that there is no significant risk posed by faults in the landfill area. Pending completion of and DWM review and approval of the reevaluation of the seismic hazard to the landfill mandated by Condition 8 of the existing permit, further studies characterizing the extent and location of faults, further use and expansion of the types of wastes (particularly industrial and spill residue wastes) in the landfill would be irresponsible.

The renewal should include a specific requirement that the Cabinet approve the waste acceptance criteria and that no changes can be made to the waste acceptance criteria without agency review and approval. Disposal of waste streams containing free liquids should be prohibited, and results of paint filter tests should be submitted to the agency for review prior to disposal of any new waste streams at the U landfill.

Finally, KRC opposes any deletions of existing requirements in the permit through the renewal process, including but not limited to the existing freeboard requirement for the sediment pond. While not explicitly required by the DWM regulations, the requirement for maintaining a sufficient amount of sediment storage volume so that the pond will properly function and meet discharge limits is implicit in the design requirements and performance requirements of 401 KAR 48:070 Section 2.

Thank you for your consideration of these concerns.

Tom FitzGerald

By Kentucky Resources Council on 07/06/2006 5:32 PM
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