by Terry Duffy
CWM Chemical Services in Porter announced Wednesday that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has approved its application for renewal of its 6 NYCRR Part 373 overall site wide/RMU-1 permit for its Balmer Road hazardous waste landfill facility.
"The NYSDEC has reviewed all public and CWM comments, including those made during the legislative public hearing and have not identified any substantive and significant issues specifically related to the CWM Permit renewal application," wrote David S. Denk, DEC regional permit administrator, in a letter to Jill A. Banaszak, CWM technical manager. "Therefore DEC has determined in accordance with NYS Uniform Procedures Regulations in 6NYCRR Part 621 that an adjudicatory hearing is not warranted with respect to this particular application, and has decided to issue a permit renewal of CWM's Part 373 Hazardous Waste Management Permit.
"The renewed Part 373 Permit which is being issued to CWM is a revised version of the Draft Part 373 Permit. Such revisions were made as a result of the comments received by DEC and from the public and CWM."
Lori Caso, public affairs spokesperson for Waste Management, parent of CWM, reported no "significant changes" were made to the permit that would affect company operations. However, CWM did comply with changes to its financial assurances and to its physical plant at RMU-1 to conform to DEC wishes.
"While there were no significant changes made to the permit that would affect operations, it should be noted that the financial assurance required by CWM was increased from $70 million to $100 million," Caso said. "The permit renewal also included the installation and operation of two new groundwater pumping systems and the addition of two new hazardous waste storage tanks to store the pumped groundwater prior to on-site treatment. A new access road onto the landfill was also temporarily approved to accommodate trucks as we begin construction of the final cover."
DEC reported it received 83 comment documents from the public and 145 comments from CWM on the Part 373 Permit renewal. The agency reviewed all comments and responded with revisions to the final approved renewal. It did not elaborate.
The approval covers CWM's existing RMU-1 landfill; it does not include CWM's newest application on file with DEC and under review for the company's sought-for RMU-2 landfill expansion.
In response to this news, activist and Lewiston resident Amy Witryol wrote, "We are relieved that after 40 years, DEC has approved the Final Cover and closure of CWM's last hazardous waste landfill in Lewiston-Porter. CWM's 10-year-old application for a new landfill enters its final phase this fall, and is unlikely to overcome U.S. EPA and NY DEC findings that New York does not require additional hazardous waste disposal capacity. CWM has sharply curtailed operations and is expected to close within the year."