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Chemical controversy goes underground.

Chemical controversy goes underground

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week proposed new rules for the disposal of hazardous wastes in underground wells. At least one environmental group immediately threatened to sue the EPA, arguing that the new standards would allow poisons to contaminate drinking water sources. The rules would apply to the approximately 7 billion gallons of hazardous chemical wastes that are disposed of each year in "injection wells'--mile-deep underground chambers lined with cement, steel and rock.

The controversy centers upon interpretation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, amended by Congress in 1984. The act provides a timetable for ensuring that injection wells allow "no migration of hazardous constituents' into the ground. The EPA wants to define acceptable levels of hazard by balancing safety concerns with the high cost of completely preventing groundwater contamination. Environmentalists argue that such a "cost-compromised' standard is not what Congress intended, and that such a standard will allow dangerous levels of wastes to leak into the ground.
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Title Annotation:new rules proposed for disposal of hazardous wastes in underground wells
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 29, 1987
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