BENNINGTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In accordance with information from one Bennington Faculty professor, the Norlite Hazardous Waste facility in Cohoes burned 35% of all aqueous film-forming firefighting foam (AFFF) from the U.S. Division of Protection (DOD) since 2016.
Bennington Faculty professor David Bond held a press convention at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to current new information and knowledge on the matter. He stated Norlite held a outstanding place within the Pentagon’s program to burn AFFF, saying the DOD endangered poor and working-class communities throughout the nation by recklessly dashing that program. He says:
In defiance of widespread sense and environmental experience, the Division of Protection has enlisted poor communities throughout the US as unwilling take a look at topics in its poisonous experiment with burning AFFF. The info we’ve compiled at this time and are making public for the primary time demonstrates simply how harebrained this whole operation is and its influence on environmental justice communities. In impact, the Pentagon redistributed its AFFF downside into poor and dealing class neighborhoods throughout the US. Burning AFFF is an unproven methodology and harmful combine that threatens the well being of hundreds of thousands of People.
Affiliate Director of the Middle for the Development of Public Motion
The Division of Environmental Conservation (DEC) beforehand stated that shipments of AFFF from the DOD started in 2018. Bond says that data from DOD and New York’s Division of Environmental Conservation documenting AFFF shipments revealed troubling statistics:
- Over 20 million kilos of AFFF and wastewater was incinerated from 2016 to 2020
- The army, U.S. Environmental Safety Company (EPA), and state regulators voiced concern about AFFF incineration
- All six incinerators contracted to burn AFFF are ordinary violators of environmental regulation, out of compliance 50% to 100% of the time since 2017
- Over one-third of identified AFFF shipments—7.7 million kilos—was burned at Norlite
- Burning AFFF wastewater might have violated Norlite’s RCRA allow
- 40%—or 5.5 million kilos—of the nationwide AFFF stockpile went to “fuel-blending” services to be blended into fuels for industrial use
- DOD contract stipulates incineration must be the endpoint for AFFF, and it’s unclear the place the “blended” AFFF went
- 970,000 kilos of AFFF had been burned abroad
Tradebe Environmental Providers, Norlite’s mother or father firm, commented to NEWS10:
Previous to passage of the AFFF ban in New York, the incineration of firefighting foam containing PFAS was completely authorized, and continues to be authorized in different components of the nation. Furthermore, the observe is taken into account far safer than permitting the fabric to construct up in the neighborhood or disposing of it in landfills the place it will probably discover its method into consuming water provides.
1. We weren’t required to inform regulatory companies after we engaged on this completely authorized observe.
2. The New York DEC just lately decided that Norlite’s incineration of PFAS didn’t pose extra well being dangers to the group.
3. However, Norlite has voluntarily stopped accepting supplies containing PFAS.
Bennington Faculty is partaking in a marketing campaign to demonize accountable environmental corporations which are engaged within the completely authorized observe of destroying wastes so they don’t develop into well being hazards in our communities. Relatively than spreading worry and deceptive info, the faculty’s ample assets could possibly be way more constructively utilized to taking part within the public dialog on the secure and efficient methods to handle and cut back hazardous waste in our group.
Tradebe Environmental and Regulatory Compliance Supervisor
The DEC additionally responded to Bond’s evaluation and allegations with a written assertion to NEWS10:
Making certain correct info is offered to communities like Cohoes is a precedence and one we take very critically at DEC. In February of 2020, when first studying of the November 2018 Division of Protection contract awarded to the Norlite Facility, DEC employees took a precautionary method to the directive and instructed the power to compile info courting again to January 1, 2018 and persevering with by December 31, 2019 which we then offered to the group. Importantly, there have been no authorized obligations for the power to file manifests for these shipments with DEC on the time as PFAS, or PFAS-containing AFFF, was not and isn’t presently, a regulated hazardous waste. DEC is evaluating the brand new info offered by Bennington Faculty, however regardless, this doesn’t change all our actions underway to make sure the Cohoes group is protected.
DEC Chief of Workers
Final week, DEC introduced that they might maintain a digital public info session on March 31 from 6 p.m. to eight p.m. They’re slated to debate a latest soil and water sampling exhibiting no hyperlink between exercise at Norlite and deposits of poisonous compounds within the Cohoes group.
To hitch the digital session at 6 p.m. subsequent Wednesday:
- By cellphone:
- Name (518) 549-0500
- Entry Code: 185 276 7811 #
- Press # once more in lieu of an attendee I.D. quantity
NEWS10 additionally acquired phrase instantly from the DOD:
In response to necessities from the person army departments, the Division of Protection in 2016 awarded regional contracts that present for thermal destruction of supplies containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The destruction was carried out at hazardous waste incineration services with Clear Air Act (CAA) and Useful resource Conservation and Restoration Act (RCRA) permits. Whereas PFAS compounds will not be presently listed as hazardous wastes underneath RCRA nor as hazardous air pollution underneath CAA rules, the DOD required use of hazardous waste disposal services as they’ve essentially the most in depth set of air pollution management devises and environmental regulatory oversight.
DoD contractors are required to adjust to all native, state and federal legal guidelines when disposing of waste. When the native Cohoes Metropolis Council imposed a moratorium on the incineration of Aqueous Movie Forming Foam (AFFF) on April 28, 2020, the DoD contractor instantly stopped utilizing the Norlite facility and DOD eliminated the Norlite facility from its Certified Facility Listing. Provided that the State of New York has now completely banned the incineration of PFAS/AFFF by state laws, the Norlite facility is not going to be added again to the DOD’s Certified Facility record.
A New York Division of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) study of PFAS regarding the Norlite facility was launched earlier this month and located no clearly discernible sample of aerial deposition that could possibly be traced to Norlite’s operations. Sampling recognized low-level detections of PFAS compounds in all soil samples collected, upwind, downwind, and at background areas, according to rising analysis on the prevalence of those contaminants in city, suburban, and rural environments.
At the moment, PFAS compounds will not be listed as hazardous wastes underneath RCRA nor as hazardous air pollution underneath CAA rules.
The mayor of Cohoes additionally weighed in on the newest developments within the saga:
If true that Norlite was incinerating AFFF firefighting foam containing harmful PFAS chemical compounds earlier than 2018, that’s regarding however not shocking. It’s regarding that Norlite didn’t disclose that info, and disappointing that the DEC didn’t uncover that truth. Nonetheless, the general public will be reassured that AFFF firefighting foam is not going to be incinerated at Norlite, because of the Cohoes Widespread Council adopting my proposal for a year-long moratorium that was in place till the New York State legislature enacted and the Governor signed a everlasting ban on the incineration of AFFF in our group.
In July 2020, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos acknowledged that his division had not executed all that it may or ought to to control Norlite. He made a dedication the DEC would do higher and for my part he’s working to maintain that dedication. We’ve got observed a distinction, significantly since January. Sure, I want issues would transfer sooner, however the regulators are extra engaged than ever, the group is extra engaged than ever, and the advocates are extra engaged than ever, and that’s including as much as progress we have to acknowledge.
Clearly there are loads of different potential well being and environmental points at Norlite, and that’s the place my consideration stays targeted.
We want solutions from State and Federal regulators about why Norlite is allowed to emit 50 kilos of mercury into the air yearly. I’m not a scientist however that doesn’t make sense to me.
We have to get solutions concerning the fugitive mud issues which have plagued neighborhoods throughout the power for 50 years. There’s rising concern due to the character of the hazardous waste that Norlite is allowed to incinerate. Final 12 months we found that Norlite’s Fugitive Mud Management Plan had not been up to date since 2014. The DEC agreed to do a complete overview, and that’s underway. There’s a new air monitoring station, and hand-held screens. The brand new DEC on-site monitor has gone into the neighborhoods to satisfy with residents to instantly hear their issues. The DEC’s February 10th Notices of Violation towards Norlite citing fugitive mud violations is evident proof that group voices are being heard.
As I’ve stated repeatedly, we’re in fixed communication with the DEC and different regulators on these and different points associated to Norlite, and I don’t intend to let up till questions concerning the well being and environmental penalties of incineration of hazardous waste on the facility are resolved.
Judith Enck is a former EPA Regional Administrator who has been concerned with the state of affairs at Norlite, which is situated in a densely populated space inside 400 toes from a public housing complicated. Her feedback on the matter are beneath:
Congress must throw chilly water on the Pentagon’s mad sprint to burn poisonous firefighting foam. There isn’t any proof that incineration destroys AFFF. As the information shared at this time exhibits, we have now a nationwide downside on our fingers. We want a nationwide ban on burning these perpetually chemical compounds.
David Bond has fastidiously appeared on the information and is sharing essential info that the general public has a proper to find out about. The small metropolis of Cohoes acquired extra poisonous firefighting foam than what was beforehand disclosed. There’s an ongoing concern about what this has executed to individuals’s well being and the setting, together with the close by Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. This is without doubt one of the most important environmental justice points within the state and whereas the brand new state regulation prohibits the burning of poisonous foam, a considerable amount of different contaminants proceed to be burned on the incinerator.
Analysis hyperlinks PFAS and different byproducts of burning AFFF to most cancers, developmental problems, immune dysfunction, and infertility.
“We merely should cease burning PFAS compounds. Trying to burn these perpetually chemical compounds can generate extremely poisonous emissions which endanger the well being of close by communities. Burning additionally releases gases that are highly effective local weather forcing chemical compounds. EPA and DOD are each pursuing superior applied sciences that may extra successfully destroy these compounds with out inflicting these unacceptable impacts.”
Chair of the Sierra Membership’s Nationwide Clear Air Crew
As a part of the press convention, Bond revealed that Bennington College launched a website that documents this nationwide problem by compiling all identified shipments of AFFF to incinerators throughout the nation. Residents, communities, advocacy and activist teams, journalists, and legislators can use this public to entry the knowledge.