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NEW EPA RULING REMOVES BARRIERS TO ON-SITE SOIL TREATMENT; CAN REDUCE CLEANUP COST, COMPLETION TIME

 NORWOOD, Mass., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- A new EPA ruling, published in the Federal Register in Feb. 16, 1993 increases the options available for treating contaminated soils at RCRA-regulated industrial sites. The new ruling would allow such facilities to have designated CAMUs (Corrective Action Management Units) in which contaminated soils can be excavated and moved about for more effective treatment without triggering land disposal restrictions or minimum technology requirements. This allows companies to use on-site soil treatment technologies, which can significantly reduce the cost, completion time and potential liabilities associated with many corrective action programs.
 "While the new ruling becomes effective on April 19, 1993, managers of active, RCRA-regulated sites about to embark on the expensive course of incineration or disposing of soils in secured landfills should reevaluate what they are doing based on the removal of barriers to on- site treatment," said Walter Barber, CEO of Groundwater Technology (NASDAQ: GWTI) (Norwood, Mass.), a pioneer and world leader in the field of on-site soil treatment. "If on-site treatment alternatives apply," said Barber, "many hundreds of thousands of dollars can be saved by making the right choices."
 RCRA (the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) is the Federal law regulating hazardous wastes generated by industry today, as well as facilities that treat or dispose of hazardous waste. It applies to a wide range of industrial and commercial facilities including refineries, pipelines, petroleum storage facilities, pesticide manufacturing and distribution facilities, automobile manufacturers, solvent manufacturers and reclaimers, wood treatment plants, coke plants, and metalworking, chemical manufacturing and electroplating plants.
 The land disposal restrictions, originally intended for commercial hazardous waste storage and disposal facilities, stipulate that contaminated material cannot be stored on the ground, but must be shipped to a secured landfill or destroyed. A narrow interpretation of these regulations considered most soils or debris excavated for treatment to be hazardous waste, which required immediate disposal. As a result, the land disposal restrictions presented a regulatory barrier to a wide range of on-site soil remediation options in which soil is retained aboveground during treatment.
 Barber said, "CAMUs have resolved a long-standing dilemma for the EPA. The Agency wanted to retain the stringent requirements for storage, treatment and disposal of ongoing waste typically generated as a by-product of manufacturing. On the other hand, the EPA recognized the need for industry to have a wider range of options for treating soil contaminated as the result of historic disposal practices or accidents. By establishing CAMUs, the EPA recognizes this distinction and removes a barrier to a number of environmentally sound, cost-effective on-site treatment approaches which the Agency explicitly endorses."
 Richard Brown, Groundwater Technology's vice president of Remediation Technologies, said, "The new ruling opens the door for a range of land-based treatment technologies that have been developed and refined over the past seven years. These involve accumulating soils at the site within highly-controlled, engineered treatment cells so that contamination can be removed by aeration, destroyed by naturally- occurring bacteria or fungi, or deactivated through chemical stabilization. Once treated to negotiated levels, the soil is then returned to the excavation site or used elsewhere at the facility as fill."
 The new ruling also allows for the operation of mechanical equipment such as soil shredders, sieves and other devices at the facility. Brown said that this equipment, used to condition the soil prior to placement in treatment cells, can significantly enhance treatment efficiencies, reducing cleanup times and costs.
 "In recent years, the total cost of off-site disposal or incineration of contaminated soils has risen to as much as $1,000 a ton. Based on the projects we have been involved in using land-based, on-site treatment, the per ton cost is typically less than $500. Since the treated soils remain on the site, users of these technologies do not have to contend with liabilities involved with hauling hazardous wastes over public thoroughfares or with the long-term storage of hazardous wastes."
 There are approximately 200,000 generators of hazardous waste in the United States. Most of these are relatively small operations which use hazardous materials in conducting their business (dry cleaners, for example). There are approximately 5,800 facilities in the United States which are subject to corrective action under RCRA. Of these, only about 2,500 have undergone a RCRA Facilities Assessment. Others will eventually become engaged in the RCRA process as the EPA works down its priority list.
 The EPA estimates that about 30 percent of the sites regulated under RCRA will need to take corrective action. If containment is found at a facility, corrective action is a three-step process which includes:
 RCRA Facility Investigation -- A detailed site investigation which can take from one to eight years and cost from $50,000 to more than one million dollars.
 Corrective Measures Study -- Upon completion of the facility investigation, the RCRA-regulated site typically has 90 days to submit a study evaluating cleanup or disposal options. These studies typically range from $20,000 to $100,000.
 Corrective Measures -- EPA-approved corrective (cleanup) measures at RCRA-regulated sites can cost from several hundred thousand dollars to millions.
 Industrial plants can find out where they are on the list simply by asking the EPA. Brown said that facilities that have yet to become part of the process need not wait for the EPA to initiate a facilities assessment if they suspect a long-standing contamination problem at their site. There are also special provisions which allow facilities to conduct Interim Measures to cleanup contamination problems immediately with EPA approval, but prior to becoming involved in a formal RCRA Facilities Assessment or investigation.
 Reasons companies conduct Interim Measures include the timely elimination of potential liabilities, freeing restrictions on property for subsequent construction or sale, and reducing the potential impact of sudden, massive cleanup costs on corporate budgets.
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 NOTE: Groundwater Technology is one of the world's leading environmental consulting and remediation firms. Since 1975, the company has been a pioneer in the application of new technologies to provide increasingly cost-effective solutions for contaminated soil and groundwater. Groundwater Technology is internationally recognized for its leadership in the application of bioremedial technologies, and continues to focus on developing treatment programs that treat contamination on site. The company also operates a network of full- service analytical laboratories and manufactures precision monitoring and recovery equipment. Groundwater Technology has 1,700 employees in 70 offices throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
 -0- 2/24/93
 /CONTACT: Peggy Bliss, 617-769-7600, or Cheryl Young, 401-275-5700, both of Groundwater Technology/
 (GWTI)


CO: Groundwater Technology, Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:

CH -- NE015 -- 0128 02/24/93 17:50 EST
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