Local News

Hazardous Waste Task Force Ready to Send Recommendations To Governor

Posted December 12, 2006 8:13 p.m. EST
Updated December 13, 2006 8:39 a.m. EST

The task force set up to study whether the state should change its rules governing hazardous waste facilities in the wake of the EQ fire in Apex in October is expected to send its recommendations to Gov. Mike Easley by the end of the week.

The Hazardous Materials Task Force hammered out some final details Tuesday. For about two months, the task force has been examining whether or how to tighten rules at facilities that treat, store or dispose of hazardous wastes. It came up with 13 regulatory recommendations and six suggestions that involve spending state money.
The Environmental Quality Industrial Services facility that burned in Apex and drove about 17,000 people from their homes as a precaution was a storage facility that collected materials until they were shipped elsewhere.

The 13 regulatory recommendations include:

  • Notifying residents within a quarter-mile of a facility about permit applications and the operator’s contingency plans
  • Requiring a facility to have either 24-hour security on-site or a high-tech alarm system that can detect problems on the property
  • Making sure an inventory of materials on site is available at an outside location.

Apex emergency personnel and town officials did not know for certain what was in the EQ the night the fire broke out and sent up clouds of smoke.
The task force also is recommending six changes that together would cost more than $1.5 million. Some of the money would help create a new Institute for Disaster Studies and would better fund regional hazardous-materials response teams.

The task force’s final plan is expected to go to the governor by Friday. Some of the recommendations would require legislative approval. State environmental officials could implement others on their own authority.