Waste Management Completes PCB Cleanup at Kettleman Hills Facility

Thorough Effort Exceeds USEPA Requirements and Meets Stringent Cleanup Standards for Schools and Day Care Centers

Kettleman City, Calif., May 13, 2010 — The environmental protection team at Waste Management (WM) has completed a thorough cleanup of the PCB storage and flushing building at the Kettleman Hills Facility in response to a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) inspection.

Consistent with the company’s 30-year history of safety and environmental protection, WM’s cleanup efforts — inside the PCB building and in the adjacent soil area — exceed the requirements established by the USEPA inspection.

During the inspection, USEPA detected very low levels of PCBs confined to the inside of the PCB storage and flushing building and in soil adjacent to that building. An independent lab analyzed samples from the building and confirmed that the cleanup efforts were successful, and would meet USEPA requirements.  In addition to thoroughly cleaning the inside of the building to remove the trace amounts of PCBs, a third-party company, specializing in this type of work, re-coated the floor of the building and the storage tank with epoxy, a strong, hard resistant adhesive. 

During their inspection, the USEPA took several samples of soil adjacent to the PCB building and found that two had PCB levels above one-part per million. This is what the USEPA considers the threshold level for “high-occupancy areas,” such as residences, day care centers, schools, and other areas where children or adults might be exposed to soils.

After receiving the results, the Kettleman Hills facility’s environmental team removed and properly disposed of the affected and surrounding soil.  

More than 80 additional soil samples also were taken to identify and then remediate any other areas that exceeded the one-part-per-million level. While USEPA’s regulations typically require cleanups achieve a 25-part-per-million standard, WM elected to excavate to a significantly more stringent 1-ppm level.

After an independent third-party lab tested the remaining soil to ensure all of the PCBs were removed, the area was backfilled with clean soil.

“The work that’s been done to recoat the floor and the storage tank means that we’ve gone far above and beyond what is required by USEPA. Our soil cleanup exceeds the agency’s requirement to develop a remediation plan and reflects our commitment to protecting the environment and responding promptly to these issues,” noted Bob Henry, senior district manager for the Kettleman Hills Facility. “We also have implemented new processes and procedures, including more frequent testing, to ensure continued compliance with all regulations.”

Henry continued, “The health and safety of Kettleman City residents — and all Kings County residents — is our highest priority. For nearly three decades, we have worked diligently with the USEPA and numerous other state and local government regulators to sustain our long tradition of safety and environmental protection.”

 Facts About PCBs

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a mixture of chemicals, which have been banned since 1979.
  • At one time PCBs were common components of hydraulic fluids, lubricants, heat transfer fluids, and insecticides.
  • PCBs are very stable when properly handled.
  • Kettleman Hills Facility primarily handles PCBs from transformers, capacitors and contaminated soils.

 CONTACT: Jennifer Andrews
(559) 890-4698

Waste Management’s (WM) Kettleman Hills Facility has been an integral part of the Kings County Community for more than 28 years. The facility is permitted to handle municipal solid waste and hazardous waste, both of which are heavily regulated, monitored and controlled by more than 10 local, state and federal government agencies. The facility’s staff includes 60 full-time employees, many of whom are active in the community. In addition to its community contributions and significant volunteer efforts, Waste Management provides a benefit to the local economy of more than $17million annually with a $3.7 million annual payroll. WM also contributes nearly $3 million per year directly to the Kings County General Fund through disposal fees. For more information, visit our website at www.kettlemanhillsfacts.com.