Everything you've always wanted to know about Alcoa's SWMUs but were afraid to ask

At the URRC's April meeting last year (presumably in response to a request), Dexter Matthews, Director of DENR's Waste Management Division (DWM), delivered a report on Alcoa's Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) in the Badin area.  That information was posted on the Inside Stanly blog.  Since it's gone offline, that information was no longer publicly available anywhere, so I went looking for it.  DWM Update, Alcoa Site Cleanup (Badin) April 2012

Before I found last year's information, I emailed Dexter Matthews, who sent me an updated chart.  Alcoa SWMU Table March 2013  Apparently, a lot has been accomplished in the last year.  Of the 47 SWMUs and 2 Areas of Concern (AOC), 41 now have "No Further Action", "Certificate of Closure" or "No Further Investigation" status.  I asked a few follow up questions about the remaining sites and found:

SWMU #35 ("Old" Waste Oil Storage Area)

Interim measures have been completed.  Impacted soil was excavated and it is not anticipated that additional work will be required at this unit.  (It's my understand that "interim measures" consist of remediation/stabilization work Alcoa went ahead and performed without waiting for the lengthier environmental review necessary for final measures, although work remains subject to review by DWM, and subject to public comments if applicable.)

SWMU #2 (Alcoa/Badin Landfill); #3 (Old Brick Landfill); #11 (Waste Oil Accumulation Area/Miscellaneous Storage Area/Pot Pad Burning Area/Old Bake Furnace Site); #37 (Pot Pad Burning Area (2)); #40 (Former Anode Bake Furnace); #44 (Pine Tree Grove Area); #46 (West SPL Area)

These 7 units are included in a corrective measures study prepared by Alcoa which is currently under review by DWM.  The corrective measures study will be public noticed to accept any comments from the concerned public.  Interim measures have been conducted at some or all of these sites.

So -- in spite of the fact that the Yadkin Riverkeeper is alarming people about the "concentrated levels of toxins" in these SWMUs, we find that DWM is satisfied with 41 of 49, and that Alcoa is engaged in the final phase of remediating the remaining 7 or 8. 

-- in spite of the fact that the Yadkin Riverkeeper has been demanding since 2009 that the 401 Water Quality Certificate must include addressing these areas, and demanded that Alcoa not be allowed to cap sediment in Badin Lake without including remediation of these areas, we find that they are being addressed quite capably through other channels.

BTW, I specifically asked if there were any known areas of PCB contamination remaining in the Badin plant site area, and Director Matthews (per Rob McDaniel) replied, "All of the known areas impacted by polychlorinated biphenyls at the former Alcoa plant site have been sampled and addressed."

I get the distinct impression that we'll finish dealing with this in the not-too-distant future.

Views: 283

Tags: alcoa, badin, dean naujoks, environment, yadkin riverkeeper

Comment by Don K. Hauté on March 28, 2013 at 4:49pm

Alcoa has information about this on their website. 

Managing Environmental Waste Sites in Stanly County

Do other waste sites exist?

Comment by Ann on April 18, 2013 at 4:22pm

Please note that the Public Meeting being held by DENR on May 13 will concern corrective measures for the last of these solid waste sites, and that there will be a public hearing and formal public comment period in the future.

We know the Yadkin Riverkeeper has been alarming people about these sites for several years.  According to this information sheet he has online advertising for an intern, he's planning to continue agitating in the West Badin community, a traditionally African American neighborhood.  He's been stirring up racial tensions there since last year. 

Dean Naujoks continues to use misinformation as a tool.  The linked information sheet states that Alcoa's aluminum smelting operation has been linked to PCB contamination in Badin Lake, although state and federal environmental agencies disagree.  Not to mention that it ignores that any PCBs Alcoa may have put into the mix were in sediment which Alcoa voluntarily capped, even though the YRK opposed that remedial project.

More egregiously the information sheet states "The majority of the hazardous waste has been identified in the historically African American neighborhood of West Badin, disproportionately impacting the health and well-being of a minority population."  I asked DENR what if any hazardous waste had been identified in West Badin, and they said: "At this point in time there has been no documented disposal of hazardous waste in the West Badin community."

How long are the people of the Yadkin River valley going to put up with this inveterate liar?

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