Regulatory Requirements Affecting Closure
In closing the baseline chemical agent disposal facilities, the Army must comply with regulations established under a number of different environmental regulatory statutes. The most challenging among these are the facility closure regulations established under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (40 CFR Part 264, Subpart G). This chapter focuses on RCRA closure and related issues. It also addresses the influence of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and cleanup programs under RCRA and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. It is interesting to note that the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which dictated many requirements pertaining to the destruction of chemical warfare materiel, is not a factor during closure.1 Once the stockpile is destroyed, the substantive requirements of the CWC have been satisfied.
General RCRA Closure Requirements
Under RCRA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was charged with developing regulations that define certain wastes as hazardous and establishing controls for their management. States adopt these regulations but may choose to be more stringent. Moreover, through their authority to dispense RCRA permits, some states impose conditions that are not reflected in their established regulations. Of the four states with baseline incineration sites, Utah and Oregon have established more stringent regulations than those of the EPA, and all have imposed permit conditions that go beyond regulatory requirements.2 All are different in regard to how the chemical agent disposal facilities were regulated during operations and are to be regulated during closure.
RCRA closure regulations require facilities to comply with a “closure performance standard” (40 CFR 264.111). This qualitative standard requires facilities to close in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment and that minimizes post-closure releases of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents. When a facility is “clean-closed,” the performance standard is typically translated into risk-based quantitative criteria (e.g., concentrations) that are determined to be protective of human health and the environment for specific constituents contained in waste materials, media, and debris. These criteria are dependent on the future use of the site. Criteria developed for residential uses are generally more protective (i.e., have lower allowable concentrations) than those developed for industrial uses.
The RCRA closure regulations further require facilities to submit detailed closure plans as part of the permit application submitted during the permitting process. The closure plan becomes part of the permit when the permit is issued. The closure plan may be amended for a number of reasons, but such amendments require facilities to undergo a permit modification. Permit modifications are designated Class 1, 2, or 3, reflecting an increase in impact and complexity. Closure plans are typically amended one or more times as the date for actual facility closure approaches. Some closure permit modifications can be processed as Class 1; more complex modifications would be processed as Class 2 or 3. The decision as to the class of a modification is made by the regulatory authority, often in consultation with the permittee. In addition, especially with complex facilities, more detailed closure plans for specific operations may be prepared that, although not officially part of the permit, may still require regulatory approval. These supplemental closure documents may also be modified as a closure approaches and as it is under way.
Under RCRA regulations, there are also strict requirements pertaining to the time allowed for closure, but extensions to these deadlines may be approved by the regulatory authority. At the completion of closure, requirements for submitting certifications and survey plats must likewise be met. If a facility is closed in conformance with a residential performance standard, few if any limitations are placed on future land use. However, if a facility is closed in conformance to an industrial standard, use restrictions may be imposed to prevent uses requiring a more protective cleanup (e.g., residential).
Both non-agent and agent-contaminated waste materials, residues, and contaminated media would also be expected to be generated during closure.3 These could be treated if required and disposed of on-site, reused or recycled, or sent off-site to a commercial treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF). For the third option, off-site TSDF permits would need to be broad enough to allow acceptance of closure waste. However, TSDFs would not be obligated to accept agent-associated4 or other waste.
State-Specific RCRA Closure Requirements
In adopting EPA’s RCRA regulations, Utah has imposed more stringent regulations as well as permit conditions that go beyond regulatory requirements.5,6 Utah has listed “Nerve, Military, and Chemical Agents” as an acute hazardous waste7 under waste code P999 and “Residues from Demilitarization, Treatment and Testing of Nerve Military and Chemical Agents” as a listed waste8 under hazardous waste code F999. Throughout the disposal campaigns at the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System (CAMDS) and the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF), waste materials resulting from treatment of the P999 waste were designated F999. In accordance with the RCRA “derived from rule,”9 residues from treatment, storage, or disposal of F999 waste retain the hazardous waste designation and the code F999. Thus, waste materials produced during closure, even those that result from treatment of F999 waste, are required to be managed as F999 hazardous waste, even if they are known or suspected to contain no detectable agent or other hazardous constituents.10
Utah has also established specific requirements for “Cleanup Action and Risk-Based Closure Standards.” Risk-based closure performance standards are determined on a case-by-case basis for nearly all facility closures. Closure performance standards for CAMDS and TOCDF facilities may be expected to be at least as stringent as those established using a risk-based approach for nonchemical agent facilities in Utah.
Utah has also established the following permit conditions pertaining to chemical agent operations that go beyond regulatory requirements.
Agent Vapors. Utah includes as F999 waste those waste materials that result from actual or potential contact with agent vapors. Consequently, significant additional volumes of various types of materials, which have or potentially have contacted agent vapors even if such materials present little or no risk, could be regulated as hazardous waste during closure.
Off-Site Restrictions. Utah has placed restrictions on transport of potentially agent-contaminated waste off-site for further treatment and/or disposal. In Utah, waste must be tested against waste control limits (WCLs) and may only be transported off-site if these levels are met. The WCLs are based on meeting the Army’s own criteria for what were initially developed as drinking water standards for soldiers in the field (U.S. Army, 2007). Even if the WCL is met, these waste materials are still controlled as hazardous waste under the State F999 waste code (NRC, 2008).
Waste Characterization. Since the early days of the chemical stockpile disposal program, the Army, being concerned primarily with worker exposure to hazardous agent vapor, has applied a vigorous program of vapor screening of materials and waste that have been exposed to chemical agents (AR 385-61). In contrast, RCRA has historically relied upon a system of direct analysis of waste for constituents of concern (EPA, 2009). Utah has been reluctant to accept vapor screening as a means of waste characterization for chemical agent-associated waste. In those limited cases where Utah has accepted vapor screening, Utah has required the Army to apply more stringent criteria than the Army has established. Further, some waste streams—particularly those that may absorb chemical agent—are required to have been decontaminated before being cleared for off-site shipment.
Waste Carbon and P999. Waste carbon that is actually or potentially contaminated with chemical agent is designated P999 in Utah. Because P999 waste may not be sent off-site for treatment and disposal in Utah, the Army must develop appropriate on-site treatment options or other means of ensuring that the carbon does not pose an unacceptable risk during subsequent handling—including transport, treatment, or disposal.
Dual Waste Code for Some Materials. Some types of waste materials, primarily permeable solids, can be difficult to sample and analyze for chemical agents. A good example is demilitarization protective ensemble suits for worker protection, which become waste after being used. Because of the difficulty in sampling and analyzing these suits, application of a WCL is problematic for this waste. In these cases, Utah has required decontamination of the materials and application of a dual P999/F999 waste code prior to off-site transport for disposal.
Generator Knowledge. RCRA allows hazardous waste generators to use generator knowledge in lieu of actual testing in characterizing waste as hazardous or not.11 In many cases throughout the commercial sector, generator knowledge is used to identify waste as nonhazardous without any testing. Utah has been cautious, and in some cases reluctant, to allow CAMDS and TOCDF the use of generator knowledge for characterizing agent-related waste. A good example would be using generator knowledge to classify waste as non-F999 based on its having had a low potential for contact with agent vapors.12
In adopting EPA’s RCRA regulations, Arkansas retained its primary structure, but in contrast to Utah, the state did not specifically designate chemical agents or chemical munitions as listed hazardous waste.13 Hence, in Arkansas, chemical agent-associated waste is considered hazardous waste only if it exhibits any of the four hazardous waste characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity; 40 CFR 261.21 to 261.24)14,15 Arkansas has not imposed more stringent
regulations but has established some permit conditions pertaining to chemical agents or associated wastes.
At the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (PBCDF), generator knowledge, quality assurance data, and analytical data are used to make waste characterization decisions. Under the PBCDF RCRA permit, the term “chemical agent free”16 refers to contaminated or potentially contaminated solid materials that have been tested per the PBCDF waste analysis plan and found to be below the WCL or to have been thermally treated for 15 minutes at 1,000ºF (NRC, 2008).
Under the waste analysis plan, PBCDF waste may be shipped off-site for treatment and/or disposal only if:
The waste was not agent contaminated (as determined via generator knowledge), or
The waste meets the criteria established in the permit for chemical agent free, or
The waste has been decontaminated and/or monitored to a vapor concentration less than the shortterm exposure limit (NRC, 2008).17
Under the PBCDF waste analysis plan, waste from areas where a chemical agent may be present must be sampled and tested for the agent, or the vapor space above the waste must be monitored. For those batches of waste characterized by sampling and testing, extraction and analysis is used to determine agent concentrations. Agent vapor space monitoring is performed by placing wastes in a container (e.g., drum or bag) and allowing at least 4 hours at 70ºF for the agent vapor in the headspace of the container to reach equilibrium. After equilibrium is reached, the concentration of agent in the headspace is measured. The specific methodology to be used for characterization analysis of wastes is detailed in the waste analysis plan (NRC, 2008).
In adopting EPA’s RCRA regulations, Alabama retained the primary structure of the RCRA regulations and adopted EPA’s regulations verbatim, with minor administrative changes only.18 Alabama has not specifically designated chemical agents or chemical munitions as listed hazardous waste. Hence, in Alabama, chemical agent-associated wastes would be considered hazardous waste only if they exhibited any of the four hazardous waste characteristics (40 CFR 261.21 to 261.24).19,20 Alabama has not imposed more stringent regulations, but the state has established some permit conditions pertaining to chemical agents or associated waste.
The Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF) RCRA permit defines “chemical agent free”21 as agent concentrations below the lowest achievable method detection limits as specified by the analytical method used. In addition, any waste at ANCDF not exposed to chemical agent liquids or to vapors >1 STL (short-term limit) is nonhazardous with respect to chemical agent and may be disposed of off-site as nonhazardous waste (NRC, 2008). 22
Under the ANCDF waste analysis plan, EPA’s analytical methods must be used to determine whether a sample contains agent or other hazardous constituents. Methods developed by the Army are used for materials with no prescribed EPA methods. The ANCDF waste analysis plan allows agent vapor monitoring for nonporous waste that has been exposed to liquid chemical agent or chemical agent vapor concentrations >1 STL to determine suitability for off-site shipment (NRC, 2008).
Under the ANCDF waste analysis plan, specific waste streams are screened based on the STL values for each chemical agent. If the concentrations are <1 VSL (vapor screening level) this waste may be shipped to an off-site TSDF. Only nonporous solid waste that is
combustible in nature or objects that do not possess occluded spaces may be evaluated for off-site disposal using chemical agent vapor monitoring (NRC, 2008).
In addition to RCRA requirements, Alabama—like a number of other states—recently established a program of uniform environmental covenants. The Alabama Uniform Environmental Covenants Act places limitations on properties undergoing a response action (e.g., RCRA closure) that are not approved for unrestricted use.23 Specifically, this statute includes a new “Uniform Environmental Covenants Program” that places statewide restrictions on hazardous waste facilities that chose to close according to an industrial standard.24 This new law might force the facility to close according to residential standards.25
Oregon has specifically listed chemical agents as acute hazardous waste, similar to what Utah has done.26 Blister agents such as mustard are listed under the hazardous waste code P998, and nerve agents, including GB and VX, are listed under the hazardous waste code P999. The Oregon regulations also list residues from demilitarization, treatment, and testing of blister agents as F998, and residues from demilitarization, treatment, and testing of nerve agents as F999.
The Oregon regulations define “demilitarization” as all processes and activities at both the Umatilla Chemical Depot (UMCD) and the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF) from the start of operations through approval for closure of all permitted treatment, storage, and disposal units and facility-wide corrective actions. Also, as with Utah, the derived-from rule would render waste produced during closure—including waste that result from treatment of listed waste—to be managed as listed hazardous waste materials even if they are known or suspected to contain no detectable agent or other hazardous constituents.
Oregon has also established some permit conditions that go beyond regulatory requirements. Examples of these additional requirements are described below.
Off-Site Restrictions. The Umatilla facility’s hazardous waste permit requires on-site treatment of all agent-contaminated waste. This would include waste, residues, and media generated during closure.
“Agent-Free” Criterion. Oregon also has an “agent-free” criterion.27 Permit compliance concentration (PCC) limits establish levels at which waste materials are considered agent-free. At UMCDF, waste must be agent-free prior to shipment to an off-site TSDF. Samples are considered agent-free if they are below the established PCCs. The PCCs included in the UMCDF permit were selected based on (1) generator knowledge; (2) similar waste streams at Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System and TOCDF; and (3) RCRA land disposal restriction (LDR) requirements.28 These PCCs are lower than the WCLs for GB and VX used at CAMDS and TOCDF, and they may be difficult to achieve using the existing analytical methods for some closure waste, residues, and media (see Chapter 6 for a discussion on analytical issues) (NRC, 2008).
Analytical Methods. At UMCDF, PCCs are determined using EPA’s analytical methods unless another methodology is approved. For detection of chemical agents, UMCDF standard operating procedure UM-0000-M-559, “Agent Extraction and Analyses,” is used. This procedure tailors the analysis to the sample matrix (NRC, 2008).
Question-and-answer session between Timothy Garrett, Site Project Manager, ANCDF, and the committee, January 27, 2010.
The Uniform Environmental Covenant Act is a uniform statute drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and enacted by Alabama in 2007. The statute is available online at http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/archives/ulc/ueca/2003final.htm. The Alabama Uniform Environmental Covenant Program is available online at http://www.adem.state.al.us/alEnviroRegLaws/files/Div5Eff5-26-09.pdf.
Question-and-answer session between Timothy Garrett, Site Project Manager, ANCDF, and the committee, January 27, 2010.
Oregon has incorporated by reference the federal RCRA regulations under Oregon Administrative Rules [OAR] 340-101-0001.
The term “chemical-agent-free” or “agent-free” is used by some of the stockpile states to refer to wastes that are “safe” for off-site handling. The committee notes that in reality these terms denote waste that has been treated to a certain specification or tested and shown to not contain agent above analytical method detection limits.
In short, the LDR program requires hazardous wastes to be treated prior to land disposal to reduce the toxicity or mobility of hazardous constituents and minimize short- and long-term threats to human health and the environment. Regulations establishing LDR requirements may be found in 40 CFR Part 268. A summary of the LDR program is available online at http://www.epa.gov/osw/inforesources/pubs/hotline/training/ldr05.pdf.
Background Concentrations Closure Performance Standard. The RCRA permit issued to UMCD goes beyond conventional residential standards to require the entire depot to be closed to background concentrations. Closure according to background can be considered a type of residential standard; however, it is a considerably more stringent requirement.
The Influence of Base Realignment and Closure
Since the late 1980s, many military installations or portions of installations have been identified for realignment or closure under BRAC. BRAC is the process the Department of Defense uses to “reorganize its installation infrastructure to more efficiently and effectively support its forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.”29
Two of the four baseline disposal facilities addressed in this report are impacted by BRAC:
The Deseret Chemical Depot is expected to be closed under BRAC. However, much of the facility, including storage igloos, land, and remaining structures, is expected to be turned over to the Tooele Army Depot.30
The Umatilla Chemical Depot, which includes the UMCDF, will close entirely under BRAC. The Umatilla Army Depot Re-Use Authority (UMADRA), which includes representatives from Umatilla County, Morrow County, the Port of Umatilla, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and two ex officio state representatives, have proposed a reuse plan that would divide the property among the Oregon National Guard (20 percent), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (40 percent), and the reuse authority (40 percent). Under this plan, UMCDF would be transferred to UMADRA and then to the Port of Umatilla for future use.
The Pine Bluff Chemical Activity (PBCA) and Anniston Chemical Activity (ANCA) are not subject to BRAC. Following closure, the land and remaining structures at the disposal facilities will be returned to the respective installations.
Facility closure under RCRA can be conducted independent of BRAC realignment or closure, but it is important to consider future land use during the RCRA closure process. Hence, RCRA closure and BRAC should be coordinated. Because PBCA, ANCA, and Deseret Chemical Depot (DCD) will remain under Army control, there is more flexibility at these installations to consider a range of closure performance standards under RCRA; an industrial or residential standard may be pursued depending on situation-specific factors.
At UMCD, which will be transferred from Army ownership, closure according to residential standards may preserve a broader range of future land uses, to include farming or residential use. Even at UMCD, if portions of the land are to be slated for post-closure industrial use, closure to an industrial performance standard will be significantly less expensive and time-consuming. As indicated above, however, Oregon currently requires that the closure performance standard over the entire installation be set based on background concentrations.
Risk During Closure Versus Risk During Operations
The committee noted in its letter report (Appendix A) that the restrictive practices the state regulatory agencies have used to address disposal operations at the baseline chemical agent disposal facilities were developed early in the program, when there was little experience with managing the risks of materials exposed to agent. During closure, in contrast with agent disposal operations, there will not be any significant amount of agent present and there will be no munitions. Thus, the risks to human health and the environment from agent and munitions will be significantly reduced during closure from those that existed during disposal processing. This difference in risk represents a fundamental change in the working environment that will exist during closure operations from that which will have existed during disposal operations, and it should provide a basis for considering less restrictive practices.
Finding 5-1. The risk of exposure to chemical agents during closure operations is expected to be significantly lower than what potentially could be encountered during agent disposal operations. The regulatory standards and practices used by some states for controlling
Additional information is available online at http://www.defense.gov/brac/definitions_brac2005.html. Last accessed June 9, 2010.
This is the current status and may be subject to change.
agent-contaminated materials were developed early in the program, when there was little experience with managing the risks of materials exposed to agent. These practices and regulations may be more restrictive than necessary considering the nature of the closure operations.
Recommendation 5-1. The Army should evaluate the reduced risk of exposure to chemical agents and their degradation products from closure operations and waste materials in view of restrictive regulatory practices. It should also consider negotiating with the regulatory community to obtain less restrictive, but still safe, regulatory practices that allow for more efficient closure operations.
One of the means by which less restrictive but still protective requirements could be employed is by allowing more use of generator knowledge for waste classification during closure activities. As indicated previously, some states have been cautious, and in some cases reluctant, about allowing stockpile facilities to use generator knowledge for characterizing agent waste as either hazardous or nonhazardous.
Another means to tailor current regulatory practices to the conditions likely to be faced during closure is to use tailored (more appropriate) off-site requirements. As indicated above, most of the baseline facility RCRA permits restrict off-site transportation of chemical agent-associated waste. Instead they require that such waste meet state-specific “agent-free” criteria prior to being able to be released off-site.
Because closure does not normally entail dealing with materials having significant agent contamination, tailoring requirements to closure conditions such as those described above can be a reasonable approach that does not compromise worker or public safety. By focusing on controlling only wastes that are truly hazardous, the Army could actually strengthen its protection of human health and the environment. Furthermore, if regulatory authorities and the public are made aware of the Army’s intention to focus on waste that is truly hazardous, they are likely to support such a strategy.
One additional area where more tailored practices can be employed during RCRA closure is in allowing baseline facilities to delay the formal commencement of closure operations until building environmental controls (e.g., operation of the carbon filter system) have been turned off and actual demolition begins. In this manner, gutting of the internal units and equipment within the building may be conducted as a normal part of facility operations, rather than as part of the official closure. By keeping the building environmental controls in place during this dismantlement and removal period, protection of human health and the environment is maintained. This practice was conducted successfully during closure of the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (Bechtel Aberdeen, 2007).
Finding 5-2. Closure will not entail dealing with significant amounts of agent or munitions. The following are examples of practices that can be used to expedite the overall closure schedule while still protecting human health and the environment: (1) expanded use of generator knowledge for waste characterization; (2) relaxed requirements for off-site transportation of agent-associated waste; and (3) allowing baseline facilities to initiate formal closure after building environmental controls (operation of the carbon filter system) have been turned off.
Recommendation 5-2. The Army should consider proposing to regulatory authorities and the public (1) expanded use of generator knowledge for waste characterization; (2) more tailored requirements for off-site transportation of chemical agent-associated waste; and (3) allowing baseline facilities to initiate formal closure after building environmental controls (operation of the carbon filter system) have been turned off.
There are other areas as well where more tailored practices may be employed during closure while still protecting human health and the environment. The committee has not examined all of these but urges the Army to continually identify additional means of replacing prior regulatory practices that may have been needed during operations with more tailored and appropriate practices.
RCRA Closure Plan and Decommissioning Work Packages
Closure operations are already under way for CAMDS, and planning for closure is under way at TOCDF. The approach taken has been to prepare a general RCRA closure plan that describes the type of closure and standards that will be established, but to rely on decommissioning work packages (DWPs) that are not part of the permit for closure of individual
units and processes.31 In this manner, the most significant regulatory issues associated with closure can be settled during the development of the official closure plan that becomes part of the permit. Issues that may be associated with individual units or processes can thus be addressed outside the permitting process, saving time and preserving the overall closure schedule. For example, at CAMDS, the Army anticipates that as many as 15 individual DWPs will ultimately be necessary. The practice of developing a general closure plan that is part of the permit and DWPs for individual units or processes provides a means to save time and preserve the overall closure schedule.
Managing Permit Modifications Associated with Closure
The above process for establishing a general RCRA closure plan and associated DWPs notwithstanding, permit modifications may still be needed prior to or during the closure process. Class 1 RCRA permit modifications are far less arduous and time-consuming than are Class 2 or 3 RCRA permit modifications.
Where permit modifications associated with closure are necessary, the Class 1 modifications would expedite the approval process. Where Class 2 or 3 permit modifications are anticipated, discussion of the nature of the modification and processes and procedures with the regulatory authority well before anticipated submittal would facilitate processing and approval.
Closure Performance Standards
Without exception, the Army’s baseline chemical agent disposal facilities addressed in this report have indicated that they will pursue a clean closure approach.32 It appears, however, that closure for PBCDF, CAMDS, and TOCDF will be based on an industrial closure standard, whereas closure for ANCDF and UMCDF will be based on a residential standard. Further, it appears that the residential standard at UMCDF will go beyond conventional levels protective of the general population by requiring closure to background, a much more stringent standard. Each facility is also unique with respect to the way the respective state authorities determine how agents, degradation products, and other hazardous constituents that will be constituents of concern are regulated.
Finding 5-3. While it appears that the type of risk-based approach to closure (industrial versus residential) has been established by the Army at each baseline chemical agent disposal facility site, the Army has not negotiated quantitative closure standards for wastes, residues, and media with the regulatory authorities at all of these facility sites.
Recommendation 5-3. At the earliest possible time, the Army should initiate the negotiation process with state regulatory authorities at all the baseline chemical agent disposal facility sites for the closure performance standards that will need to be achieved in wastes, residues, and media, with the goal of having these standards established well before facility closure actually begins.
Each facility will have to identify analytical methods that will be used for measuring compliance with closure standards in waste, residues, and media. Some modifications to analytical methods may be needed to achieve state-specific closure standards, and in these cases, significant time and effort may be required for the technical development of these modifications and for achieving regulatory authority approval. Analytical methods are discussed further in Chapter 6.
Secondary waste materials are those that were generated in the course of agent disposal processing and similar waste that may be generated during closure activities. In addition to waste from demolition, large amounts of secondary waste may need to be managed during closure. These waste materials may contain agent degradation products and/or RCRA hazardous constituents; they may also exhibit RCRA characteristics. Common hazardous constituents that may be encountered include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and a variety of heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury.33 Activated carbon that is contaminated with mercury will present a special challenge, a topic dis-
cussed in detail in two prior NRC reports (NRC, 2008, 2009). Any of the four RCRA characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity; 40 CFR 261.21 to 261.24) may also be exhibited.
For secondary waste to be treated or disposed of, it must be properly characterized. As with many RCRA requirements, regulatory authority acceptance will be required for a determination of the adequacy of proper characterization. In addition, secondary waste will need to be sufficiently characterized to allow acceptance by off-site TSDFs. Disagreements between the Army and the regulatory authority, or between the Army and off-site TSDFs, as to what constitutes proper waste characterization have the potential to cause significant delays. In addition, even if the permit issued for off-site TSDFs allows acceptance of the Army’s secondary waste, the off-site TSDF must agree to accept the waste.
Finding 5-4. The determination of the adequacy of proper characterization of secondary waste will require regulatory authority acceptance and acceptance by the off-site treatment, storage, and disposal facility. Disagreements about what constitutes proper waste characterization have the potential to cause significant delays.
Recommendation 5-4. The Army and the regulatory authority, as well as off-site treatment storage and disposal facilities, should agree on the definition and process for proper characterization of secondary waste well before closure operations begin.
Land Disposal Restrictions for Waste, Residues, and Media
RCRA LDR requirements impact many of the waste materials, residues, and media that will be generated during closure, as well as the legacy waste from storage activities and other secondary waste present at TOCDF. These waste materials may contain RCRA hazardous constituents at levels above LDR treatment requirements and may exhibit RCRA characteristics as well, thus requiring treatment prior to ultimate disposal. The Army has already established a classification system for segregating waste produced during closure, but it is unclear whether this system adequately considers treatment requirements for LDR compliance (URS, 2008).
Finding 5-5. Large amounts of many different types of waste, residues, and media will be generated during closure activities along with any preexisting (i.e., legacy) and newly generated secondary waste. These materials may contain agent degradation products, but in many cases they will also exhibit Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) characteristics and therefore will be subject to the RCRA land disposal restrictions.
Recommendation 5-5. To facilitate handling and disposal of closure waste, residues, and media, as well as any legacy and newly generated secondary waste, the Army should ensure that its tracking system facilitates segregation of materials by subsequent handling, including land disposal restriction treatment requirements, so as to avoid unnecessary handling, including treatment, of some waste types.
Reuse or Recycling of Valuable Materials
In accordance with federal acquisition regulations, U.S. government property at the baseline chemical agent disposal facilities to be closed must be evaluated for suitable reuse at another Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) facility, some other government facility, or commercial facilities. For example, at the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ABCDF), where bulk stocks of mustard agent were destroyed using a chemical neutralization (hydrolysis) process, reusable nonagent-contaminated equipment (e.g., Miniature Chemical Agent Monitoring Systems, laboratory instruments, electrical equipment) was transferred to other facilities. Generator knowledge was used to identify materials that were not contaminated with agent (Bechtel Aberdeen, 2007).
Materials known to have been exposed to liquid agent or agent vapor, along with reusable or recyclable items, are decontaminated and tested using monitoring and analytical methods as required by the RCRA permit. Scrap metal is of particular concern due to its intrinsic value. At ABCDF, scrap material was segregated for recycling. This included uncontaminated structural steel, steel rebar, electrical conduit, wire, pipe supports and racks, and vent piping. Approximately 1,350,000 pounds were recycled (Bechtel Aberdeen, 2007).
The steel from the hydrolysate storage tanks at ABCDF was also evaluated for scrap potential. The tanks were cleaned, but an odor caused by the presence of residual hydrolysate was present. Consequently, the recycling alternative was not considered viable (Bechtel Aberdeen, 2007). Attempts were also made
to release titanium tanks at ABCDF to allow recycling. The tanks were tented and monitored to determine if they would meet the general population limit (GPL) for mustard agent. However, monitoring results were invalidated by interference from residual hydrolysate, which prevented detection of mustard agent at the GPL. Further attempts to address the residual hydrolysate or monitor other tanks were not attempted (Bechtel Aberdeen, 2007). The steel from the ABCDF hydrolysate storage tanks and the titanium tanks were landfilled as hazardous waste. In both cases, the committee believes that decontamination is effective in reducing chemical agents to below levels of concern.
In view of the above experience, the Army has expressed concern that the costs associated with release of materials for reuse and recycling may outweigh the benefits of reuse or recycling.34,35 The committee believes that it would be best if valuable materials could be decontaminated as needed and reused or recycled. At TOCDF and CAMDS, for example, the Army has indicated that it intends to dispose of all materials from the facility as hazardous waste even after decontamination. The committee believes it is undesirable to take up valuable landfill space with materials that can be recycled and have so much intrinsic value.
Regulatory authorities and the public are typically in favor of recycling, although they may show some reluctance to accept recycling of materials from chemical agent disposal facilities. However, if the public is made aware of the environmental and financial benefits associated with reuse and recycling of materials, including those that have been safely and thoroughly decontaminated, it is likely to support strategies that distinguish such materials from those that are truly hazardous and thus require treatment and subsequent disposal in a hazardous waste landfill. While members of the public might not necessarily be interested in helping the Army save money, they are likely to support strategies that divert materials from disposal through reuse or recycling, as long as it can be determined that such practices are safe. In addition, the Army must ensure that materials sent for reuse and recycling are safe for the receiving facility to handle, and that future uses of reused and recycled materials are safe as well. Maintaining the confidence of recyclers, regulatory authorities, and the public in the safety of materials received for recycling, as well as in reused or recycled products, is an important consideration.
Finding 5-6. Many valuable high-grade materials, including steel, tungsten, and other metals, are used within or constitute materials of construction at baseline chemical agent disposal facilities. At some of these facilities, the Army is planning to dispose of these materials in hazardous waste landfills.
Recommendation 5-6. To the extent feasible, the Army should avoid landfilling valuable materials and instead seek ways in which to reuse or recycle them. Where chemical analyses are insufficient to definitively classify a material as below levels of concern (as was the case with tungsten at the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility), generator knowledge can provide additional assurance that materials are suitable for reuse or recycling.
State regulatory permitting and oversight programs have been losing staff to other programs as the baseline chemical agent disposal facilities approach and begin the closure process. At the same time, state resources are required to review and approve closure plans, DWPs, data produced during closure, permit modifications, administrative closure documents, and similar activities both from within the baseline facilities and from non-military industrial facilities in each state that compete for the attention of state regulatory personnel.
Finding 5-7. A general concern for each of the baseline chemical agent disposal facility sites is that state resources for reviewing and approving closure plans and related documentation and data are expected to become limiting factors for achieving timely review and approval by the respective regulatory authorities.
Recommendation 5-7. The Army should coordinate upcoming review and approval needs concerning closure plans and documentation of the baseline chemical agent disposal facilities with state regulatory authorities well ahead of anticipated deliveries to them.
The Army schedules for facility closures assume a 3-month period for administrative closure. The Army defines administrative closure as “everything associated with Contract closeout, including everything necessary
to close out facility permits (most notably administrative closeout of the RCRA Permit).”36 Administrative closeout includes the period required by state regulatory authorities to review all data and information provided to show that closure performance standards have been achieved and to officially approve the facility as closed. While administrative closure of 3 months is possible, experience at complex facilities, such as the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System, shows that administrative closure can take considerably longer.
Finding 5-8. The time allotted by the Army for administrative closure of the baseline chemical agent disposal facilities is just three months. The committee believes that the assumption of three months for achieving administrative closure is unlikely to be achieved.
Recommendation 5-8. The Army should be more realistic about the time it assumes will be needed for administrative closure of the baseline chemical agent disposal facilities.
Disposition of Igloos Used to Store Chemical Munitions and Waste
In addition to closure of the baseline destruction facilities, the igloos used to store chemical munitions and other wastes (e.g., secondary wastes, legacy wastes) will also need to undergo closure in accordance with RCRA requirements. Storage (and the closure/disposition of igloos) is conducted under an entirely different RCRA permit from the chemical agent destruction facility. In some cases, ownership of the storage permit is by a different entity within the Army. For example, the permit for the igloos used to store munitions and other wastes at TOCDF belongs to DCD. RCRA closure of the igloos is beyond the scope of the committee because closure of the chemical agent disposal facilities does not entail closure of the igloos used for storage. Nevertheless, it would be prudent for the Army to prepare closure planning documents that pertain specifically to closure of the igloos and to obtain regulatory authority approval for these planning documents well before chemical agent disposal facility closure begins, so as not to impede closure plans for the chemical agent disposal facilities. In addition, closure activities should be coordinated.
As a result of discussions between the committee members and Army personnel and contractors at the baseline facilities, as well as with CMA staff, a number of installation-specific issues were identified.
At DCD there are 2 million pounds of legacy waste stored within storage igloos adjacent to TOCDF that will require disposition as part of closure (Appendix A). These materials may contain agent degradation products and/or RCRA hazardous constituents; they may also exhibit RCRA characteristics. Common hazardous constituents that may be encountered include PCBs and a variety of heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury.37 This waste may also contain asbestos. Any of the four RCRA characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity; 40 CFR 261.21 to 261.24) may also be exhibited.
Most of the legacy waste was generated from operation of the chemical agent storage facilities at DCD over a period of decades. Examples include discarded samples, spill cleanup materials, used personal protective equipment, metals parts, laboratory and sampling/monitoring waste, and used/spent decontamination fluids. The exact nature of the materials may be uncertain. However, in order for this waste to be treated/disposed of, proper characterization will be necessary. As with other secondary waste, the determination of the adequacy of proper characterization for legacy waste will require regulatory authority acceptance. Potential disagreements between the Army and the regulatory authority on what constitutes proper waste characterization for these wastes may cause significant delays. Many of the drums containing these wastes are expected to be heterogeneous in content, and physical sampling and analysis of the materials in all of the drums would entail a significant effort with substantial delay. The Army has already experienced delays in similar situations: at TOCDF, for instance, it had to sample many of the ton containers and munitions containing mustard agent to ensure that levels of arsenic and mercury were
adequately determined. Similar delays were also experienced in sampling the M55 rocket shipping tubes for the presence of PCBs.
Finding 5-9. Disagreements between the Army and the regulatory authority on what constitutes proper waste characterization of legacy waste at Deseret Chemical Depot has the potential to cause significant delays for facility closure at the site.
Recommendation 5-9. The Army and the regulatory authority should agree on the definition and process for proper characterization for legacy wastes at Deseret Chemical Depot well before closure of the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility begins.
There appear to be no significant facility-specific regulatory closure constraints at PBCDF. By monitoring closure progress carefully the Army will be ready to respond to unforeseen challenges.
Uniform Environmental Covenant Provision in Alabama
The one significant facility-specific constraint for ANCDF deals with the new Uniform Environmental Covenant provision in Alabama, as discussed earlier. The Army recognizes that it must comply with the requirements of the Alabama Uniform Environmental Covenant Act in closing ANCDF.
Prior to the Restricted Covenant provision, the Army had planned to close the ANCDF site according to an industrial standard. This would make sense since the property would revert back to Anniston Army Depot. However, the Army has indicated that this new law might force the facility to close against residential standards simply because of the internal Army legal hurdles that ANCDF would face were it to pursue an industrial standard in compliance with the provisions of the covenant.38
The committee did not further investigate the internal legal hurdles that would be encountered by the Army were it to pursue an industrial standard in compliance with the covenant. However, the committee did become aware of a similar situation at Redstone Arsenal, also located in Alabama and subject to the covenant. Specifically, the Record of Decision for a cleanup action at Redstone Arsenal establishes an institutional control to prohibit future use of the property for anything other than industrial use.39 Thus, at the Redstone Arsenal, industrial use was selected for the remedy even though the facility was subject to the Alabama Uniform Environmental Covenant Act.
Finding 5-10. The Army recognizes that it must comply with the requirements of the Alabama Uniform Environmental Covenant Act in closing ANCDF. Although the Army initially considered closing ANCDF against an industrial standard, due to the provisions of the covenant and the internal legal hurdles it would face in pursuing an industrial closure standard, the facility may instead choose to close against a residential standard. Closing against a residential standard may entail a significant increase in closure costs and may extend the closure schedule as well.
Recommendation 5-10. The Army should weigh the costs and benefits of legal requirements and use limitations associated with closure against an industrial standard with those associated with cleanup against a more stringent residential standard. If the costs and benefits of closure against a residential standard outweigh those associated with an industrial standard, the Army should endeavor to overcome its internal legal hurdles and close ANCDF according to an industrial closure standard.
Closure Performance Standards (Agent-Free Criterion and Background)
As indicated previously, the RCRA permit issued to UMCD goes beyond conventional residential standards to require the entire depot to be closed according to back-
Question-and-answer session between Timothy Garrett, Site Project Manager, ANCDF, and the committee, January 27, 2010.
Record of Decision for RSA- 122, Dismantled Lewisite Manufacturing Plant Sites; RSA-056, Closed Arsenic Waste Ponds; and RSA-139, Former Arsenic Trichloride Manufacturing; Disposal Area, Operable Unit 6 the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama at 1-2 (September 2009), available online at http://www.epa.gov/region4/waste/npl/nplal/redsrod122_056_arpond_139_ou6_artri.pdf.
ground concentrations. There is no explicit state regulation that requires such a stringent cleanup level. Moreover, this background closure requirement is inconsistent with EPA regulations and with the risk-based closure requirements established by other states under RCRA.
The standard for the agents and the breakdown products of concern would be based on the limits of detection of the analytical methods used, in concert with any analytical interference or similar challenges posed by closure waste, residues, and media. As indicated previously, the Army will need to carefully evaluate the analytical methods that will be used for the types of wastes, residues, and media that will be produced during closure.
A complication that affects the state’s requirement that UMCD be closed to background concentrations is that, like many military installations across the United States, UMCD is in the middle of a cleanup program for its hazardous waste sites. Umatilla was placed on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act National Priorities List (Superfund site) in 1987, and a Federal Facility Agreement was signed in 1989. Records of Decision have been signed and a number of remediations are ongoing. In addition, several areas within UMCD may be contaminated with munitions and explosives of concern and are subject to the Army’s Military Munitions Response Program.40
The areas undergoing long-term cleanup will likely need to remain under federal control until the state and stakeholders agree that cleanup requirements have been met. Such requirements may include leaving wastes or contamination in place with long-term monitoring and institutional controls. If areas remain contaminated, enforceable long-term institutional controls limiting access and use will need to be put into place.
Finding 5-11. Old disposal sites and contaminated areas at Umatilla Chemical Depot, including landfills and areas with munitions and explosives of concern, will be difficult to close according to a background closure performance standard and may remain on the installation well beyond the completion of closure of the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility.
Recommendation 5-11. The Army should open a dialogue with Oregon regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to separate Umatilla Chemical Depot areas subject to cleanup under the Federal Facility Agreement and the Army’s Military Munitions Response Program from other areas of the depot that can be closed to meet the background performance standard.
Another complication particularly relevant to UMCD is that the installation will close entirely under BRAC, with its land and remaining facilities most likely being turned over to a local land-reuse authority, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Oregon National Guard for a mix of potential future uses, including industrial. The proposed reuse plan supported by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation calls for transfer of the UMCDF site to the Port of Umatilla for industrial reuse. The expectation is that the existing infrastructure will be retained in support of that reuse. The tribes have indicated that these areas should be closed to an industrial standard.41
Finding 5-12. Future industrial use is planned for the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility; however, the state of Oregon is requiring closure according to background.
Recommendation 5-12. The Army should work with all stakeholders to close the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility according to an industrial-based closure performance standard.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, in asserting their treaty rights to customary use of the Umatilla Chemical Depot (UCD), want open areas of the depot (outside of UMCDF) cleaned to background as part of the UMCDF closure. However, the confederated tribes’ interpretation of the term “background” is different from the conventional use of the term. Unlike the Oregon regulatory authorities, the tribes’ interpretation of background applies to the surface of the land but not to buried waste and munitions. The tribes have proposed that surface soil downwind from UMCDF be sampled for contaminants that may have been emitted from UMCDF. Their intent is to have
Additional information is available online at http://deparc.xservices.com/PDFS/Installation_Summary/OR021382091700.pdf. Last accessed June 9, 2010.
Teleconference with Rodney S. Skeen, Manager, Engineering and Modeling Program, Department of Science and Engineering, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; Todd Kimmell and Leonard Siegel, committee members; and Nancy Schulte and Harrison Pannella, NRC staff; May 26, 2010.
the Army remove compounds of potential concern that exceed naturally occurring levels. Munitions or other waste buried below depths of concern for hunting and farming are not a concern for the Umatilla tribes.42
It is beyond the scope of the committee’s work to consider cleanup standards outside the UMCDF portion of the UCD, but the Army should work with the Oregon regulatory authorities and UMADRA to resolve the tribes’ request so as to avoid unnecessary delays to completing closure.
Bechtel Aberdeen. 2007. 24719-100-30L-B93H-00009—Revision 0 Aberdeen Chemical Agent Neutralization Facility RCRA Closure Certification Report. APG Edgewood Area, MD: Bechtel Aberdeen.
EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2009. SW-846 Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
NRC (National Research Council). 2007. Review of Chemical Agent Secondary Waste Disposal and Regulatory Requirements. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
NRC. 2008. Review of Secondary Waste Disposal Planning for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
NRC. 2009. Disposal of Activated Carbon from Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
URS. 2008. Decommissioning Plan Appendix 3: Material and Waste Management Plan. Princeton, NJ: URS.
U.S. Army. 2007. TB MED 577: Sanitary Control and Surveillance of Field Water Supplies. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, Department of the Army.