Waste Management completes PCB safety evaluation study

Waste Management of the Central Valley has announced that Wenck Associates, Inc. has completed an extensive polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) study at WM’s Kettleman Hills facility, which found that PCBs treated, stored and disposed at the facility do not have an adverse impact on human health or the environment.

To view the executive summary of the study, visit KettlemanhillsFacts.com.

“The evaluation done of PCBs in soil in the Kettleman Hills Facility in conjunction with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was unusual in its level of complexity, thoroughness and comprehensiveness,” said Dr. Arthur L. Frank, professor of Public Health and Chair, Department of Occupational Health at Drexel University School of Public Health. “For a Toxic Substances Control Act permitted site, this evaluation went far beyond what has been done at other such sites, and is among the most complete assessment ever performed,” he said.

The study focused on measuring 12 PCB congeners identified by the World Health Organization as having dioxin-like properties. Soil, air and vegetation were sampled within the landfill property boundary where, due to proximity, potential risks would be highest. The study’s goal was to assess the worst-case potential human health and ecological risks within and outside the landfill boundaries that could be associated with the handling and disposal of PCB wastes.

“The study shows that the low levels of PCBs detected in soils within the boundary of the Kettleman Hills Facility are similar to levels that have been found in many remote and rural areas throughout the country where there has been no industrial activity,” said Brian Bowen, director of environmental protection for Waste Management. “We worked closely with the EPA to employ very conservative methodologies to ensure that potential risks were not underestimated so the community could be confident in the findings.”

Risk calculations were performed using data collected from air, soil and vegetation within the facility property boundary and in accordance with sampling and verification protocols required by EPA Region IX. Air monitoring was conducted over a one-year period and included more than 15,000 hours of data measured from multiple air-monitoring stations approved by the EPA.

Bowen added that all sections of the draft report were reviewed and commented on by EPA staff. The final report reflects the EPA’s comments.