Weekly News Bulletin: Oct. 17-23, 2002


EPA Superfund Cleanups Are Down From Previous Years

The Environmental Protection Agency completed cleanups at 42 of the nation's Superfund sites this year, down from 47 in fiscal 2001 and an average 76 sites annually during the Clinton administration. In an annual report on the progress of Superfund cleanups, the agency said projects at only a dozen of the 1,238 sites considered the nation's worst contaminated areas received no federal funds. Five of those sites, including three cleanups just beginning, did not need the money, EPA said. The figures are part of year-end calculations for the annual $3 billion Superfund program...Read More »



State Accuses Denver of Trying To Buy Looser Cleanup Standards

Colorado's top environmental regulator has charged that Denver is trying to pay its way to looser cleanup requirements at the Lowry Landfill Superfund site. Doug Benevento, acting director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has derided what he termed a "trade" that would see Denver settle a $12 million lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Agency if the federal government backed off certain demands at the Arapahoe County site. In a letter, Benevento cited examples where Denver has asked the EPA to loosen cleanup standards at the landfill, a 480-acre site 15 miles southeast of Denver where tons of toxic wastes were once dumped with abandon. Denver's proposals include changing cleanup boundaries and eliminating some waste treatment and containment strategies, Benevento wrote...Read More »



WTC Victims' Families Want Monument At Fresh Kills Landfill

Some families of the World Trade Center victims want a national memorial put atop the landfill where debris was combed for the remains of their loved ones. U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella plans to introduce a bill next month that would designate a portion of the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island as a memorial to the nearly 2,800 people killed in last year's attack. Under the proposal, the land would be transferred to the federal government and managed by the National Park Service. Workers sifted through 1.62 million tons of debris for 10 months at the 160-acre site. The Fresh Kills landfill was reopened the day after the attack to handle the massive excavation project...Read More »



Canada's Cleanup Program Comes in for Scathing Criticism

An environmental watchdog has charged that the Canadian government has bungled the cleanup of thousands of toxic sites and abandoned mines across the country and needs to spend billions of dollars to deal with the problem. Environment and sustainable development commissioner Johanne Gelinas said Canada officials have about 3,600 contaminated sites under their responsibility and another 1,500 where contamination is suspected. These include harbors, ports, military bases, government laboratories and abandoned mines. One serious concern is the hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic chemicals such as arsenic and cyanide now left at abandoned mines in northern Canada. Cleaning up the 30 worst sites alone would cost C$555 million ($355 million)...Read More »



Court Dismisses Patent Lawsuit Against U.S. Ecology

A U.S. District Court judge in Nevada has dismissed a patent infringement lawsuit filed against American Ecology Corp.'s U.S. Ecology Inc. unit. The suit, filed in March 1996, alleged waste treatment techniques at the company's Beatty, Nev., hazardous waste facility infringed on a sludge processing patent held by plaintiff Frank Manchak Jr. The patent in question expired in 1994. The judge concluded U.S. Ecology's technique wasn't even "remotely similar" to the process described in Manchak's patent. Manchak's company, ATW Inc., had filed suits against 11 companies alleging infringement of the patent, which covers the use of lime to mitigate harmful substances...Read More »



Waste Management Halts Coal-Gas Plant Soil Shipments

Waste Management of Indiana stopped covering a closed landfill with dirt from a former coal-gas plant after LaPorte County officials expressed concerns that the soil could be contaminated. Waste Management officials the soil from the former Northern Indiana Public Service Co. coal-gas plant near Valparaiso met environmental standards for landfill use. About 1,000 tons of the dirt had been used at the Deercroft Recycling and Disposal Facility last week when county officials asked the company to stop. Coal-gas plant sites may contain coal-tar residue and other contaminants. The material is now being hauled to the Prairie View landfill at Bremen...Read More »



Stericycle Purchases Scherer Healthcare

Stericycle Inc. (NasdaqNM: SRCL), a provider of medical waste services, has announced plans to buy smaller rival Scherer Healthcare Inc. (NasdaqNM: SCHR) for $41.5 million in cash. Stericycle is looking to expand into the business of handling sharp objects, including needles and scalpels. Scherer's reusable sharp objects program is marketed through its Bio Systems subsidiaries in 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states and the Washington, D.C., area. Stericycle expects the acquisition to immediately add to its earnings. Scherer's revenue for the year ended March 31 was $20.4 million. Stericycle in 2001 had revenues of $359 million...Read More »



Versar Wins USAF Task Order for Charleston Cleanup

Versar, Inc. (Amex: VSR) has been awarded a $4 million task order from the U.S. Air Force for cleanup of 11 contaminated sites at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. The Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence in San Antonio, Texas awarded Versar the task order under its ENRAC (Environmental Remediation and Construction) master contract. The firm-fixed price task order is the first performance-based contract awarded for an active Air Force Base by AFCEE. Under the performance-based concept, the government specifies the required end result of site closure, and the contractor has wide latitude in terms of methods to achieve the result. Versar will work with Arcadis G&M, Inc. on the task order...Read More »


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