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Five Cents

NSWMA weighs in on proposed CERCLA rules and tritium sign disposal.

The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) filed comments opposing a proposed federal regulation mandating that municipal solid waste (MSW) facilities acquire financial assurance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund Act.

“The U.S. EPA should not unnecessarily burden the solid waste industry with these additional financial responsibilities. Rules already in place under RCRA require financial assurance, and the intent of Subtitles D criteria is to prevent these situations,” said Bruce J. Parker, president and CEO of NSWMA, in a press release. “Also, our industry no longer manages CERCLA wastes that these proposed rules are intended to cover. Our industry has a tradition of supporting reasonable regulation; unfortunately, these proposed rules seem to be a solution searching for a problem.”

Meanwhile, in comments filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), NSWMA said that tritium exit signs should not be placed in MSW landfills. According to an NSWMA press release, “tritium exit signs, used in many commercial and high-occupancy residential buildings, contain a radioactive form of hydrogen.”

NSWMA said that NRC should ban the disposal of the signs in MSW landfills in part because exposure to tritium increases a person's risk of developing cancer. “A damaged exit sign likely will have relatively high levels of tritium in it, and should not be handled or disposed in a” MSW landfill, the press release says.

“America's solid waste industry provides an essential service that helps protect the environment and public health. We support all efforts to keep potentially harmful materials out of landfills,” said Parker. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to express our support for this potential rule change by [NRC].”

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