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Release Date: 10/17/2001
Contact Information: Mike Ardito, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-2328, email:

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced conditional approval of the remedy proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for treatment and disposal of PCB- contaminated soil currently stockpiled near the Lower Base Cemetery of Tanapag Village in Saipan.

     The conditionally approved remedy is for on-site treatment of the soil by a specifically designed unit using an indirect thermal desorption process and off-site disposal of PCB residuals.  The contaminated soil will be heated so that PCBs separate from the soil, leaving the soil clean of PCBs.  This treated soil will then be enriched with organic nutrients for reuse.  The remaining concentrated PCB material from the treatment process (known as filter cake) will be shipped off-island for proper disposal on the U.S. mainland.

     "The Corps' proposed remedy uses a nationally recognized method for successfully eliminating PCB contaminants from soil.  EPA will actively oversee the process to insure it operates safely and effectively," said Keith Takata, the EPA's Pacific Southwest director for the Superfund program.  "The concentrated PCB residuals from Tanapag will be taken to an approved disposal location on the U.S. mainland."

     A public meeting regarding this PCB treatment and disposal remedy will be held at the Tanapag Elementary School cafeteria on Wed. Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m.  Representatives of the EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Environmental Quality will discuss this remedy selection and the next steps for implementation of the cleanup plan.

     In order for the Corps to begin actual treatment of the contaminated soil, the EPA's conditional approval requires that the Corps develop a work plan for using the treatment process and off-site shipment of PCB residuals to the mainland for disposal.  The plan must be submitted to CNMI DEQ and the public for review and to the EPA for approval.  

     The treatment process unit will then undergo performance testing on site, using stockpiled contaminated soil, to insure that air and water emissions are safe and that the treated soil is clean.  When the unit passes the performance test, a full approval will be granted by the EPA for the unit to begin treating the contaminated soil.  


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