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.
“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
“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