Peace activists and grass roots environmentalists have an opportunity
to work together: the Department of Defense (DOD) announced March 26
that it has identified more than 10,000 potential Superfund-type sites
on its properties (and former properties) around the country.
Carl Schafer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment,
testified before the House Armed Services Committee, that DOD has
identified 3526 potential hazardous waste sites on properties currently
owned by DOD and roughly 7000 more sites on properties that DOD used to
own. These potential sites are the equivalent of Superfund sites,
except that the military is excluded from Superfund. The military has
its own Superfund-type program called the Defense Environmental
Restoration Program (DERP). The DERP program has broad goals, including
research into hazardous waste management technologies, detection and
disposal of unexploded ammunition, and removal of unsafe buildings from
DOD installations. Within DERP, the DOD has established the
Installation Restoration Program (IRP) to deal with contaminated sites,
so the IRP is the exact counterpart of Superfund. An IRP cleanup
follows the same procedure as a Superfund cleanup: first, preliminary
assessments/site investigations (PA/SI); then remedial
investigations/feasibility studies (RI/FS);and finally remedial
designs/remedial actions (RD/RA).
The Reagan Administration's budget request for the DERP program was
$377 million for 1987 and $403 million for 1988. Mr. Schafer testified
March 26 that the DERP program will require $5 billion to $10 billion
in the next 10 years.
To request a copy of the list of 10,000 sites, you must send a Freedom
of Information Act request letter to: Office of Freedom of Information
and Security Review, Room 2C757, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-
1400. Make your request as explicit as possible; for example, you could
ask for a listing of the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites
in your state. For further information on the DERP program, contact Mr.
Schafer's office at: (202) 695-7820; for a copy of Mr. Schafer's Mar.
26 testimony, contact the DOD Public Affairs office at (202) 697-5737.
The number of the House Arms Service Committee is (202) 225-4151; the
Committee's Environmental Restoration Panel has oversight
responsibilities for the IRP and DERP.
NEW WASTE MANAGEMENT CAPACITY MAY NOT BE NEEDED, STUDY SHOWS
Although the EPA may not know how much hazardous waste is being
produced (see RHWN #22, April 27, 1987), the agency has nevertheless
tried to estimate where wastes are going today. According to EPA, 55%
of hazardous waste still goes to unlined pits and lagoons; 20% goes
into sewage treatment plants; 13% is pumped intentionally into the
ground (so-called deep well injection); one percent goes into
landfills; less than one percent is incinerated; nine percent is
Is there enough waste management capacity in the U.S. today? Are new
facilities needed? A consultant to the EPA (the ICF Corp.) tried to
answer this question in 1985 and reported that the nation has
sufficient hazardous waste landfill capacity for the next 15 years;
only 3% of the nation's chemical treatment capacity is used; only 35%
of the nation's deep well injection capacity is used; only 47% of the
nation's resource recovery capacity is used; only 54% of the nation's
land treatment capacity is used. ICF reported that 90% of the nation's
hazardous waste incinerator capacity is used, so this is the only
technology in need of expansion today, according to ICF's data.
Since the American people have just begun to ask, "How can we stop
creating this waste in the first place?" we may be able to reduce the
amounts of waste being generated in the next five to 10 years. If this
were to happen, it seems possible that we would not need any new waste
processing capacity for decades, if ICF's study is correct.
Citizens fighting the siting of new facilities should take careful note
of these figures--they are EPA's best estimate of the need (or lack of
need) for new waste-treatment capacity.
For further information on these subjects, see James E. McCarthy and
Mark E. Anthony Reisch, HAZARDOUS WASTE FACT BOOK [87-56 ENR]
(Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Jan., 1987). Free from
Mr. McCarthy at: (202) 287-7225.
RADON DANGER NOW SUSPECTED IN THIRTEEN STATES; TESTING BEGUN
Radon gas may be a problem in 13 states, says EPA (U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency). The Office of Radiation Programs (ORP) within EPA
has begun surveying buildings (mostly homes) in Alabama, Colorado,
Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Rhode Island, Tennessee,
Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The problem has already been identified in
Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas created by
the natural decay of naturally-occurring uranium in soil. The cancer-
causing gas can build up to dangerous levels in poorly-ventilated
homes. Because newer homes are built to conserve energy, it is usually
newer homes that are poorly ventilated.
The purpose of the 10-state survey is to identify "hot spots"--areas of
these states where radon may present hazards. In homes that are subject
to dangerous levels of radon, remedial action can be undertaken to
ventilate the buildings better, to reduce the levels of radon.
The survey is being conducted by the ORP Radon Action Program, within
EPA. They estimate that results of the 10-state survey will be released
in mid-summer, 1987. For further information, contact them at (202) 475-
Descriptor terms: radon; epa; indoor air pollution; testing; al; co;
ct; ks; ky; mi; ri; tn; wi; wy; pa; ny; nj; radon action program; dod;
superfund; government; hazardous waste; defense environmental
restoration program; installation restoration program; remedial action;
financing; army; navy; marines; military; epa; hazardous waste; waste
treatment technologies; incineration; waste production; studies;
landfilling; chemical treatment; deep well injection; statistics;
hazardous waste industry;