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Land Ban Exemption Granted to Chemical Waste Management (now known as Vickery Environmental)

Federal Register, Volume: 55 , Issue: 165 , Page: 34734 (55 FR 34734) , Friday, August 24, 1990



Final Exemption Granted to Chemical Waste Management, Inc. for Continued Injection of Hazardous Waste Subject to the Land Disposal Restrictions of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice of final decision on exemption petition.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given by the United States Environmental Protectio Agency (U.S. EPA) that an exemption to the land disposal restrictions under the 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) has been granted to Chemical Waste Management, Inc. (CWM) of Oak Brook, Illinois, for its four Class I injection wells that are located in Vickery, Ohio. As required by 40 CFR part 148, CWM has demonstrated, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that there will be no migration of hazardous constituents from the injection zone for as long as the waste remains hazardous. This final decision allows the continued underground injection by CWM of specific restricted wastes that include waste pickle liquor, multi-source leachate from landfills, and other industrial wastes into four Class I hazardous waste injection wells that are identified as Wells #2, #4, #5 and #6 at the CWM Vickery facility. This decision constitutes a final U.S. EPA action for which there is no Administrative Appeal.


CWM submitted a petition on January 19, 1988, requesting exemption for its four injection wells located in Vickery, Ohio, from the land disposal restrictions of hazardous waste. U.S. EPA personnel reviewed all data pertaining to the petition, including, but not limited to, well construction, regional and local geology, seismic activity, penetrations of the confining zone, and the mathematical models for no migration demonstration. The U.S. EPA has determined that the geological setting at the site as well as the construction and operation of the wells are adequate to prevent fluid migration out of the injection zone within 10,000 years, as required under 40 CFR part 148. The injection zone at this site includes five geologic formations: the Mt. Simon, Rome, Conasauga, Kerbel, and Knox which are encountered between the depths of 2346 and 2930 feet. The confining zone consists of the Wells Creek and Black River Formations which are encountered between depths of 1804 and 2346 feet. The confining zone is separated from the lowermost underground source of drinking water (USDW), at a depth of 720 feet below ground level, by a sequence of permeable and less permeable sedimentary rocks, which provides additional protection from fluid migration into drinking water sources. A fact sheet containing a more complete summary of the proposed decision was published in the Federal Register on June 18, 1990, at 55 FR 24629.

A public notice was issued on June 8, 1990, pursuant to 40 CFR 124.10, and a public hearing was subsequently held in Vickery, Ohio, on July 11, 1990. Prior to the public hearing, U.S. EPA participated in two public informational sessions, sponsored by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), concerning the proposed exemption and the Ohio EPA's proposed modified permits. These sessions were held in Vickery on June 27, 1990. The public comment period expired on July 23, 1990.

A number of comments were received during the public comment period. Several commenters expressed interest in the interpretation of the seismic reflection data and the possibility of faults or fractures, and the effect this may have on the demonstration. The seismic reflection study will continue as an ongoing agreement between CWM and Ohio EPA. The review of all data submitted indicated that there is no evidence that faults or fractures which may allow fluid migration out of the injection zone are present. Nevertheless, CWM will be required to provide additional information as specified in Condition 7 of this exemption to further confirm the absence of such faults or fractures. One commenter requested that instead of limiting specific gravity of the injectate, the maximum injection pressure should be adjusted according to changing fluid specific gravities. The purpose of limiting the injection pressure and corresponding specific gravity is to ensure that pressure in the injection zone does not initiate new fractures or propagate existing fractures in the injection zone or confining zone. The Agency agrees that this is an acceptable method of limiting injection pressure and has modified Condition 3 of the exemption to reflect this option. A requirement to monitor specific gravity continuously is also included as part of this revised condition. A few commenters expressed concern about two old oil and gas wells, known as the Metzger and Barr wells, located within the Area of review, which may have been inadequately plugged.

CWM will be required to take all reasonable steps to locate those wells, perform further investigation and, if necessary, properly plug and abandon the wells. A new condition requiring implementation of these activities has been imposed accordingly.

In addition, Condition 1 has been revised to allow averaging injection volume on a monthly basis as opposed to a daily basis. This change will not affect the volume modeled in the predicted waste migration. Conditions 5 and 6 were expanded to clarify the Agency's expectation with respect to the compliance with these conditions.

After considering all comments received and additional information supplied by the public and CWM, the U.S. EPA has determined that no new information has been presented in the public comment period which would undermine or invalidate its reasons for granting the exemption as set forth in the original Fact Sheet; accordingly, a final exemption is granted with specific conditions, some of which have been modified since proposed, listed in this notice. A responsiveness summary has been prepared for distribution to all commenters and to all who signed in at the public hearing.


This final exemption will become effective upon the issuance of CWM's permit modifications by Ohio EPA. General conditions of this exemption may be found in 40 CFR 148.23 and 148.24. In addition, CWM must meet the following specific conditions:

(1) CWM may inject up to a combined total of 240 gallons per minute into Well Numbers 2, 4, 5 and 6, based on a monthly average; (2) CWM may inject the exempted wastes only into the Mt. Simon Sandstone through the above four wells;

(3) CWM shall limit its injection operation to a maximum allowable surface injection pressure (MASIP) of 790 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) or as calculated by the following formula, whichever is smaller: MASIP=(0.75 psi/ ft-(0.433 psi/ftxSG))x(Casing Depth, ft), where SG=specific gravity. Specific gravity shall be continuously monitored through use of in-line electronic monitoring equipment;

(4) CWM shall inject waste constituents designated on Table B of CWM's submittal dated March 19, 1990, at concentrations at or below the maximums specified on the subject Table;

(5) CWM must submit, within 60 days the exemption is granted, an approvable Groundwater Monitoring Plan that must include an implementation schedule and detailed procedures for drilling, testing and completion of a monitor well that will provide pressure data and allow fluid sampling in or below Trenton Formation. The plan shall conform to the specifications set forth in Attachments B and C of a letter from U.S. EPA to CWM dated April 18, 1990. If the Trenton proves to be an unsuitable monitoring zone, CWM shall continue drilling of the well until a suitable monitoring zone is found. Within 10 months after the issuance of the exemption, CWM shall complete the monitoring well and begin monitoring in accordance with the approved plan;

(6) CWM must submit, within 30 days after the exemption is granted, an approvable Laboratory Core Testing Plan to confirm the conservative nature of the modeling input parameters through core testing with representative wastes. This plan must include all substantive elements outlined in Attachment A of a letter dated April 18, 1990, from U.S. EPA to CWM and must be implemented according to a schedule found in the Attachment of a letter dated May 29, 1990, from CWM to U.S. EPA. CWM must complete the plan within 240 days after the exemption becomes effective.

(7) Seismic reflection studies shall continue in accordance with conditions set forth in CWM's permits-to-operate and the ongoing agreement between CWM and Ohio EPA, in order that CWM confirm the absence of faults and fractures within the Area of Review. If not already required by the Ohio permit, within 60 days after an exemption is granted, CWM must submit an approvable plan to evaluate time profiles from intermediate processing stages, to enhance shallow data, to justify seismic processing adjustments, and to investigate the possibility of a fault(s) bounding the west side of the anticline. No later than 180 days after the exemption is granted, requested seismic information which, if necessary, shall include selected re-processing of time profiles and incorporate other geophysical information, and a report summarizing the evaluations shall be submitted to U.S. EPA for review;

(8) CWM must submit, within 60 days after an exemption is granted, an approvable plan to further investigate two poorly documented oil and gas wells that have caused concern as expressed in public comments on the proposed exemption, and to outline appropriate plugging and abandonment procedures. This plan must meet the substantive requirements set forth in 40 CFR 146.64, and U.S. EPA's guidance document "Current Technology for Determination of Abandoned Well Locations" (1986). Within 240 days after the exemption is granted, CWM shall either plug and abandon the old oil and gas wells or demonstrate the absence of fluid movement into or between USDWs through these wells;

(9) CWM must fully comply with all requirements set forth in the UIC permits issued by Ohio EPA for operation of Well Numbers 2, 4, 5, and 6.

Substantive requirements set forth in Conditions 1, 2, 3, and 5 are being incorporated into existing UIC permits for these wells by Ohio EPA.

DATES: This action is effective as of August 7, 1990.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James D. Paulson, Lead Petition Reviewer, U.S. EPA, Region V, telephone (312) 886-1497. Copies of the petition and all pertinent information relating thereto are on file and are part of the Administrative Record. It is recommended that you contact the lead reviewer prior to reviewing the Administrative Record.

Jerri-Anne Garl,
Acting Director, Water Division.

(FR Doc. 90-20015 Filed 8-23-90; 8:45 am)


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