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Public comment, workshops on U.S. EPA draft permit renewal, environmental justice assessment for Kettleman Hills landfill

Release Date: 02/15/2007
Contact Information: Maggie Witt, 415/972-3370,

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will open a 60-day comment period on Feb. 20 for a draft permit renewal and environmental justice assessment for the Kettleman Hills hazardous waste landfill, located along the I-5 corridor, 3.5 miles southwest of Kettleman City, Calif.

The EPA will host workshops on March 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. and March 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Kettleman City Community Center, located at 75 5th Street in Kettleman City. At these workshops, the EPA will provide additional information and answer questions. Following the workshop on March 27, a public hearing will also be held at the Community Center from 7 to 9 p.m.

“Public input is an essential component of the permitting process,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division for the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. “We encourage the public and interested organizations to look at the draft permit and environmental justice assessment, attend the workshops, ask questions and provide comments.”

The EPA will accept public comments on both documents beginning Feb. 20 through April 23. Comments may be submitted verbally at the public hearing or in writing at the workshops, public hearing, or by sending them to or Max Weintraub, U.S. EPA Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street (CED-4), San Francisco, CA 94105.

The draft permit and environmental justice assessment are available for review at Kings County Library in Kettleman City, EPA Library in San Francisco, Kings County Library in Avenal and Kettleman City Community Services District. Both documents and additional information are also available on-line at Information is also available in Spanish.

The EPA’s proposed permit renewal would allow Chemical Waste Management, Inc., the parent company for the Kettleman Hills facility, to continue storing and disposing of PCB waste at the Kettleman Hills landfill. It also limits the types of PCB waste the Kettleman Hills facility can receive. Unlike past EPA permits for the landfill, this proposed permit requires air risk analysis and includes conditions for post-closure care, two issues the draft environmental justice assessment found residents had concerns about.

In light of past community concerns over environmental justice issues, the EPA drafted an environmental justice assessment, which gathers community input and examines environmental conditions and potential health impacts in Kettleman City and nearby Avenal. The EPA used the results of the draft environmental justice assessment in reviewing the permit application to help identify areas for additional evaluation, prepare proposed permit conditions and enhance public participation.

Kettleman Hills, the largest hazardous waste landfill in the west, is one of two facilities in California, Arizona and Nevada permitted to accept PCBs – toxic, manmade chemicals formerly used in electrical equipment. Congress banned the manufacture of PCBs in the U.S. in 1976 due to concerns over environmental and public health hazards. The EPA has identified PCBs as probable human carcinogens and links PCBs to a number of serious noncancer health effects in animals, including impacts on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.