Weekly News Bulletin: Feb. 14-20, 2002


Bioreaction Will Help Tucson's Landfill Situation

Forcing air and water into the heart of three landfills at the base of "A" Mountain in Tucson will speed their decomposition from about 150 years to three years, a city experiment indicates. The technique will provide stable ground for projects in a neighborhood revitalization project. Natural decomposition is not an option because it could yield explosive levels of methane gas under new buildings. Another alternative would be to dig up the landfills and carry off the 1.7 million cubic yards of trash, but that would cost more than $50 million. Rio Nuevo plans set aside $2.3 million for the landfill stabilization project. The landfills occupy 50 acres and are up to 40 feet deep and contain garbage dating to the early 20th century. The city pilot project pumped air and water into a 50-by-50-foot parcel of the Nearmont landfill from July 24 to Dec. 20. Under normal conditions, a landfill will settle about 1 inch per year. With this technique, city officials recorded an average settlement of 10 inches in just 82 days...Read More »



Bush Airs Alternative to Kyoto Plans

President Bush is proposing an array of tax incentives to encourage businesses, farmers and individuals to reduce pollution, as an alternative to an international global warming accord he said would hurt the U.S. economy. Bush last year rejected the Kyoto Protocol, which required 40 industrialized nations to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions < the so-called greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming. He said the treaty < worked out by the Clinton administration but not ratified by the Senate < could cost millions of American jobs. The pact commits industrial nations to roll back greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. But through tax incentives, Bush would pursue initiatives such as urging farmers to plant carbon dioxide-absorbing trees, consumers to buy hybrid and fuel-cell cars and solar water heaters and industry to capture methane from landfills. The president's proposed budget allocates $4.5 billion for global climate change-related activities; a figure the administration said would be a $700 million increase...Read More »



Greenville Uses Creative Demolition to Slow Waste Flow

The Greenville, S.C. Housing Authority has saved more than $300,000 by destroying the local housing project in a unique way. In a carefully planned process called "demolition recycling," the city salvaged thousands of tons of building materials, saved money, and has even created jobs for former residents of the project. When it came time to demolish the aging apartment complex two years ago, the housing authority realized that if it could creatively take the buildings apart, the materials could be creatively reused. Of the 20,000 tons of rubble the buildings created, only 1,900 will go to the landfill. The rest will be sold or put back into the housing authority's new construction...Read More »



NYC Recycling Cuts Come Under Criticism

Environmentalists have criticized New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new proposal to suspend the recycling of metal, glass and plastic in the city as a way to help eliminate a $4.76 billion budget deficit. The proposal, part of a $41.4 billion budget proposal, calls for an 18-month suspension of metal, glass and plastic recycling. Bloomberg said the move would save the city $57 million. Paper recycling would continue. The city faces a $4.76 billion budget deficit, exacerbated by a weak economy and the World Trade Center attack. Bloomberg is calling for deep cuts across all programs in what he called "a spread your pain, no sacred cow" proposal. Much of the recycling program is costly and inefficient, he said. Glass, metal and plastic recycling costs $240 per ton, the mayor's office said, far more than the $130 per ton for simple trash disposal. The paper program costs $87 per ton. State law requires curbside recycling, and cities decide which materials to include. City officialssaid the City Council would have to approve the plan...Read More »



Alabama Files Suit Against Incinerator Plans

Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has charged that the federal government reneged on plans to spend $40.5 million on gas masks and other safety measures to protect residents near an incinerator where the Army plans to begin destroying deadly nerve agents. Siegelman has sued the government seeking to block the opening of the $1 billion incinerator, located at the Anniston Army Depot, until the "maximum protection" required by law is provided. Incinerator officials said the continued storage of chemicals at the depot, not the incinerator, is the true problem. Siegelman said meetings between state officials and the Army resulted in an agreement last year to spend $40.5 million in federal funds on gas masks, protective hoods and other safety measures. The Federal Emergency Management Agency later decided against part of the expenditure, based on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that cited logistical problems and "psychological effects" of the safety equipment on people living near the incinerator. The government is withholding only about $15.5 million, which was slated to purchase gas masks and protective suits. Instead of using the equipment, residents have been told to seal up rooms with plastic sheeting and duct tape if there is an accident...Read More »



Los Angeles Landfill Plans Are Focus of New Lawsuit

A landowner and a group of small investors have filed an amended lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court against two major waste industry corporations citing 13 causes of action ranging from breach of contract and fraud to violations of the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. The charges related to alleged collusion between BKK Corporation and Browning Ferris Industries of California, Inc. to defraud them in a business relationship involving the Elsmere Canyon and Sunshine Canyon landfills. The original lawsuit was filed on October 9, 1998. According to Sands, the lawsuit was revised based on information and documents discovered in several filing cabinets which were discovered after the original lawsuit was filed and as trial was about to commence. The lawsuit emanated from a business agreement that the landowner entered into with the BKK and Elsmere corporations to develop the Elsmere Canyon Landfill back in the mid-1980s. Subsequently, the property and rights to the proposedlandfill were sold by BKK to BFI in the mid-1990s, which culminated in the alleged illegal termination of the contract with the plaintiffs...Read More »



Tetra Tech Wins Major Contract With OSWER

Tetra Tech (NASDAQ:TTEK) has been awarded a $28 million, five-year contract to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Technology Innovation Office. Tetra Tech will perform a wide range of training and technology transfer services addressing environmental threats. In the area of biological counter terrorism, EPA is coordinating responses to suspected contamination of civilian facilities with biological contaminants, such as anthrax. The contract also involves support for nationwide and international initiatives including technology transfer and training on U.S. technologies in South America, Europe and Asia...Read More »



Ohio Landfill Appeal Falls Short

The Ninth District Court of Appeals has rejected the efforts of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio to intervene in a settlement involving the Hardy Road landfill in Akron. The state had filed suit against Akron early last year over environmental violations at the city-owned landfill. Those included allegations of blowing and unconfined litter, excessive clearing of vegetation, inadequate daily cover, erosion, exposed waste, failing to control liquid runoff, overfilling areas with trash and other problems. Akron has been cited for 46 violations since early 1996. A settlement subsequently was reached between the city of Akron and the state Attorney General's office. The city agreed to pay a $745,000 fine to resolve the violations...Read More »


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