Moving Forward on Open Waste Burning

The permit that allows the Radford Army Ammunitions Plant to burn hazardous waste from guns outside is up for renewal. Community activists see an opportunity to deal with environmental and health concerns about the open burning — and say regulators see a chance to explore new technology to solve an old problem.
Just a few people turned at the Blacksburg Public Library on a recent afternoon for a meeting of the Environmental Patriots of the New River Valley.

“Is there anything that we could post for more people involved? Yes, petitions, a letter effort … When the EPA was pushed into the wall in Louisiana, they said ‘Uncle. ’ So, we need you Senator Kaine and you also Senator Warner to perform precisely what Senator Vitter did in Louisiana and write into the EPA and inquire ‘How is this not a breach of the clean air act? ’”

Devawn Oberlender is seeking to take a pager from the book of a far off city, where taxpayer protestors succeeded in stopping outside burning explosives of weapons and arms waste at the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant.

“The opportunity that we have at this time only comes up very ten years, since the permit is good for ten years, so what we need to replicate is what they did in north western Louisiana at Camp Minden.

There they formed a”Stop the Burn” motion that finally brought together elected officials, state and local authorities and the army for a plan to provide open burning up and use a modern indoor incineration to dispose of the toxic substances. William Hayden is spokesman for DEQ at Virginia.

“We haven’t reached any conclusions yet but this is something that will be looked at as we move forward. We have asked the Arsenal to come up with alternatives to open burning and we do expect to have some choices that go beyond the concept of just burning it the open”

Brian Salvatore is a professor of Organic chemistry at Louisiana State University who argued for using comprised incineration.

“This is what we fought here at camp Minden. And yes it included another 15million dollars and almost doubled the cost of the contract but that was something that, the EPA was willing to really go to bat for us for. So I’m glad that the people in the EPA and at the country worked together here and they worked together with the Army too to find the additional money. And we’re quite happy here that this alternative — which, at the onset of this we did not know all the details of what these modern incinerations can perform. We are quite convinced here that this is going to do the job and the amount of material that is likely to be released complete is going to be on the order of tens of thousands of g rather than tons of those emissions. ”

A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 3, which includes Virginia, said it could not comment on the possibility of incinerations such as that being embraced at the Radford website, but a spokesperson for BAE Systems, the contractor responsible for the arsenal, confirmed it’s”searching for viable alternatives to its current methods of waste disposal”

The department of Environmental Quality has asked BAE to conduct an environmental impact study on its own current open burning clinic. William Hayden says it’s the very first time DEQ has asked for you.

“Because we’re getting into an issue that has generated a lot of public interest from the Radford area we knew that the further information we had, the better. People from the public have been requesting us information; they’ve been asking Radford (the toolbox ) for information. ”

And among them is Oberlender who says,”We have been burning garbage on the market, open it since 1941. You know, it’s not going off.”

And are the ecological patriots of the new river valley. Taking another page from the narrative of Camp Minden Louisiana’s successful effort to receive its outdoor burning moved indoors. They are scheduling meetings with state and federal officials to keep the pressure on. The first is this Friday using U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith who sits on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has oversight of the EPA. The group is seeking to generate a national issue out of one that has for so long been so local and among the few places where open burning of hazardous waste from explosives is still permitted.

Information from: