Weekly News Bulletin: Feb. 26-Mar. 3, 2008


EPA Considering Proposal to RCRA Landfill Low-Level Nuclear Wastes

The EPA is said to be reconsidering a controversial proposal that may open hazardous waste landfills to low-level radioactive waste by regulating them under subtitle C of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). The plan addresses Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concerns about diminishing disposal capacity for these wastes and the increasing cost to decommission nuclear facilities. A big concern is whether RCRA landfills housing low-level nuclear waste could later be used for new construction and development. Currently, most low-level nuclear waste is disposed of at NRC-licensed facilities, but some states allow its disposal in RCRA landfills on a case-by-case basis. The agency's plan would establish a uniform national policy. Pressure is building from the NRC and the nuclear industry to find alternative locations, especially with the impending partial closure of a major facility in Barnwell, SC next July. However, environmentalists and others are concerned that RCRA landfills could leak low-level radioactive waste into surrounding soil and groundwater; and, that radiation from the waste could boost the volatility of other hazardous materials in the landfill, thus increasing potential health risks...Read More »



Federal E-Waste Legislation to Adopt Producer Responsibility Approach

Lawmakers working on federal e-waste legislation are touting a consensus-based extended producer responsibility approach, as described in a concept paper, a precursor to what might become the National Electronic Products Stewardship Act. Manufacturers, retailers and recyclers would share the task of setting up and running a national program to collect, transport, and recycle e-waste. Existing state e-waste laws would not be preempted if the law is enacted, but it would serve as a floor for future state controls, the paper said. Federal requirements would apply immediately in states without e-waste laws, and states would be free to set limits more stringent than those that the federal law imposes. The EPA would establish recycling rules and run the national program. Federal requirements would take precedence, but states wanting to do more could apply to EPA for "lead implementing agency" status. The draft proposes to cover CRT devices, flat panel video display devices with screens larger than 4 inches and desktop and laptop computers. The EPA could add or remove products from the list...Read More »



Waste Services to Sell Florida Operations for $57 million

Waste Services Inc agreed to sell its hauling and materials recycling operations and construction and demolition debris landfill at Jacksonville, Florida to Advanced Disposal Services Inc for $57.5 million in a deal expected to close in early March. The company will retain ownership of the Jacksonville materials recycling and hauling facilities and lease them to the purchaser. They plan to use $42.5 million of the proceeds to reduce term loans and meet operational needs...Read More »



Greanpeace Report Details Global Problem of E-Waste

A recent Greenpeace report chronicles the dumping of millions of tons of discarded electronic equipment containing toxic chemicals and heavy metals every year without recycling or safe disposal. According to the report entitled "Toxic Tech: Not in Our Backyard," more than 80 percent of televisions, computers, mobile phones and other equipment escape proper handling in the United States, and about 75 percent in the European Union. In India, 99 percent of such "e-waste" is mishandled. "The introduction of appropriate reuse, recycling and recovery technologies is not keeping pace" with growing sales, said the report. More than 1 billion mobile phones were sold last year alone. A mobile phone contains 500 to 1,000 components, many of them containing potentially dangerous metals like lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium, as well as hazardous chemical flame retardants. In the EU where producer responsibility has been legislated since August 2005, there has been more success than in the US where "a relatively unsophisticated infrastructure" exists to collect and process e-waste; however, several states are requiring producers to have take-back schemes. Much of what Greenpeace calls the "hidden flow" of hazardous waste is exported to countries like India, China and Thailand. Workers in those countries strip down the goods to recover components for second-hand equipment or to harvest valuable metals and raw materials in a process that is dangerous to their health and to the environment...Read More »



Another Guilty Plea in Federal Probe of Connecticut Waste Industry

The ongoing federal probe of a mob-backed scheme to control the waste hauling industry in Connecticut and east New York has netted another guilty plea. This time it is Thomas Milo, 70, of Mamaroneck, NY who was a silent partner with trash magnate James Galante on several hauling companies, including Automated Waste Disposal, Diversified Waste Disposal and Superior Waste Disposal. The two were masterminds of a scheme that paid a $120,000 monthly "mob tax" to Matthew Ianniello, former reputed head of the Genovese crime family, in return for mob muscle to make sure that other trash firms would agree to keep prices high and to not poach one another's customers. Ianniello is currently in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy and tax charges. As a condition of the guilty plea, Milo and his wife must forfeit all interest in the affiliated companies. Milo, Galante and Ianniello are among 29 people named in a 2006 federal indictment...Read More »



Covanta Holding 4Q Earnings Surge 24% on Higher Revenues

Covanta Holding Corp. said its fourth-quarter net earnings rose to $72.3 million, or $0.47 per share, from $11.9 million, or $0.08 per share, a year ago. Revenue for the period ended Dec. 31 rose to $395.4 million from $317.9 million a year earlier well ahead of analysts' estimates of $358.8 million. The waste-to-energy company continues to benefit from a very strong energy market coupled with rising waste disposal pricing, particularly in the Northeast and southeast where most of the company's projects are located. The company is forecasting 2008 earnings to be between $0.90 and $1 per share...Read More »



Environmentalists Attempt to Apply RCRA to Diesel Emmissions

Environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and others are said to be testing an innovative legal approach to attack air pollution not usually subject to the Clean Air Act. They charge that solid particulate matter (PM) emissions from diesel fuel at ports around the country constitute the improper disposal of hazardous waste. Albeit a long shot, if successful, it would render the Clean Air Act superfluous by making PM violations from any source potentially a violation of RCRA. NRDC and the California group Coalition for a Safe Environment are suing the Port of Long Beach, CA, arguing that the facility is improperly disposing of wastes such as arsenic, cadmium, nickel, lead, mercury and other compounds "while attached to or associated with diesel particulate matter." Other attempts by environmentalists to apply RCRA to other regulatory programs have generally been unsuccessful. In 2005, local groups in Idaho failed to win a suit aimed at regulating crop-burning residues under RCRA...Read More »



Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority to Raise Tip Fees be 25%

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) this week approved a 25% increase in the tip fees it charges to the 70 municipalities that constitute its Mid-Connecticut Project. CRRA argues that the increase is needed to cover the cost to close its Hartford landfill and to ship waste to other sites and out of state. Attorneys for the municipalities argue that the increase "smacks of retaliation" for a recent lawsuit settlement in their favor related to the Enron debacle. The increase adds $28 million to the budget which is just about the amount awarded to the towns in the settlement. The CRRA counters that the board voted in 2004 to close the landfill and therefore, it should come as no surprise. Currently, CRRA's appeal is still pending with the state Supreme Court...Read More »



Portland, Ore. Wants to Mandate Business Recycling

Portland Oregon city officials are pursuing the final frontier in waste: business recycling. The city's phased-in recycling mandate will ultimately make it mandatory for businesses to recycle all paper, cardboard, and food and drink containers, and 75% of their construction debris. Portland has required businesses to recycle half of their waste since 1996, joining Seattle, Chicago, San Diego County and others with business-recycling mandates. Portland businesses already claim to recycle 63% of the waste generated but businesses are wary of mandates and non-market based systems to push it higher. The City Council is also said to be considering a franchise system that assigns haulers a specific territory in exchange for volume discounts and contractual mandates including those for recycling as an alternative. The franchise system has many efficiency benefits resulting from better routing, reduced truck volume, and waste volume consolidation at transfer, processing and disposal sites...Read More »



Danish Waste-to-Energy Firm Babcock & Wilcox Vølund Wants to Enter US

Danish waste incineration technology company Babcock & Wilcox Vølund wants to enter the American market. The US has increased its focus on converting waste to energy following the climate debate and the Danish company wants to find an American license partner for a future cooperation...Read More »



EnGlobe Reports 4Q Loss of $1 million from Restructuring Costs

Environmental services company Englobe Corp. reported a fourth quarter net loss of $1 million, down from net income of $1 million in the year earlier period. This despite a 58% rise in revenues to $39.8 million from $25.2 million in last year's quarter. The company, formerly known as Environmental Management Solutions Inc., attributed the loss to restructuring costs of $1.6 million, larger depreciation and amortization expenses, and higher interest charges. The company's acquisition of Biogenie S.R.D.C. Inc. in late 2006 has helped to enhance company margins from more lucrative soil assessment and remediation activities...Read More »



Waste Services to Announce Fourth Quarter and 2007 Results on Feb. 27

Waste Services, Inc. will release its 2007 fourth quarter results after the close of markets on Wednesday, February 27 and hold a conference call the next day at 8:30 a.m. (ET)...Read More »



Waste Industries USA to Announce Fourth Quarter Results on Mar. 4

Waste Industries USA, which has announced plans to go private late last year, will release fourth quarter and full year financial results at the close of the market on Tuesday, March 4. The Company will host an analyst conference call to discuss those results on the following day at 2 p.m. (ET)...Read More »



Casella to Announce Third Quarter and Host Conference Call on Mar. 6

Casella Waste Systems plans to release fiscal year 2008 third quarter financial results (for the period ending January 31, 2008) at the close of market on Wednesday March 5. The company will host a conference call the following day at 10 am (ET) to discuss those results...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin