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ECDC wants to modify permits to include PCBs

A worker at ECDC's rotary dump hoses off the interior of a rail car after it has been emptied of trash. The machine can rotate and spill a full car in seconds.

Sun Advocate reporter

During a work meeting prior to East Carbon's City's most recent council session, local officials were approached by East Carbon Development Corporation (ECDC) administrators concerning the company's most recent proposed venture. Currently, ECDC is working to secure permits which would allow polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs into the East Carbon landfill. While the new job would require new permitting and construction at the site, it could also re-vitalize the facility bringing increased revenue to the city of East Carbon.

PCBs were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until their manufacture was banned in 1979 when studies showed they were carcinogenic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, they have a range of potency and vary in consistency from thin, light-colored liquids to yellow or black waxy solids.

According to those at last month's work meeting, ECDC's presentation was meant to ensure that both the East Carbon council and their citizens understand the safety precautions being taken by the local landfill. To garner their own independent view of the proposed job, East Carbon officials have also hired a consultant who will overview the manner in which the material would be transported into the area and subsequently housed.

"We will be hearing from our consultant at Tuesday's meeting," said East Carbon Council member David Avery, referring to the Dec. 13 council session. "It is our hope that he will be able to explain to both the council and East Carbon's citizens exactly what ECDC's plans are. From the information I have so far, I think this is a do-able project, I feel like ECDC is going down the right road. They have the right facility and the right people hired to get a job like this done."

According to Avery, the individual who has been helping the council and who will give his risk assessment at the open public meeting on Tuesday night is Carl Farley. Farley works as an industrial hygienist for Greenleaf Americas, LLC, a national compliance and management consultation firm.

"I also feel we have the right people hired on our end," continued Avery, while speaking about Farley. "I think he has done a very thorough job of going over ECDC's proposed plan."

The proposed plan would allow ECDC to accept the following materials through their permit parameters: PCB-contaminated remediation waste, bulk product waste, decontamination waste, small PCB compactors which have been cleaned and rinsed as well as liquids with PCB concentrations less than 500 parts per million.

As for dumping the material, ECDC plans to build a completely new cell, meaning that the material will essentially be housed in its own separate landfill. Additionally, the EPA and State of Utah require that the landfill use a specific enhanced liner system along with a segregated leaching system with a ground water monitoring component. According to those at ECDC, the new construction and safety protocols will be well worth the work if they are able to carve out a niche in the PCB disposal market.

Since its inception in 1992, ECDC's dumped tonnage has fluctuated greatly as the company has worked to find its place in the ever-changing waste landscape. This fluctuation affects not only ECDC but the city as well. A large portion of the municipality's income is derived from tippage fees assessed at the landfill. That income is used to help East Carbon pay off current infrastructure loans. Due to a large number of current clean-up projects taking place all over the country under the Toxic Substances Control Act, ECDC administrators say they are confident that their access to rail service and requested permit parameters would make the site attractive in the PCB cleanup market.

ECDC's location gives the site the opportunity to dump in several manners. At its intermodal yard, containers are moved from the tracks and trucked to the dumping area. At its rotary dump, whole train cars can be dumped at once allowing tons of material to be moved quickly. These options along with the company's experience in dealing with various types of waste give them an edge in securing various contracts, officials say.

That edge could mean a great deal to the citizens of East Carbon as increased revenue could significantly shorten the remaining time left on several bond payments.

"From what I understand, the increased possible revenue from ECDC would allow us to pay down our debts at a much faster rate," stated Avery.

ECDC is only in the permitting stage of this process. Several approvals and a public hearing will take place before landfill administrators can begin to bid on potential jobs. Following Farley's public presentation on Dec. 13, the State of Utah and the EPA will conduct a public hearing on Dec. 21.

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