Reading Room

for more information, contact:
Robert Schwartz, Staff Attorney, Tri-Valley CAREs, (925) 443-7148

For immediate release: July 16, 2008

Community Group Objects to Hazardous Waste Permit Renewal

LIVERMORE, CA - Tri-Valley CAREs opposes the proposed renewal of a permit for hazardous waste storage and treatment facilities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Site 300, a high explosives testing range located in the eastern Altamont Hills. The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will hold a hearing on the permit renewal tonight in Tracy.

The permit concerns the continued operation of several facilities that are dedicated to the storage and treatment of hazardous and explosives waste generated at Site 300 and the Livermore Lab main site. The waste is either stored or treated by open burn/open detonation, a process that converts the waste to gases and ash. If the permit renewal is approved, liquid waste storage capacity at Site 300 would rise from 3,300 to 5,500 gallons, a 67% increase.

"The residents of Tracy and the surrounding communities have reason to be alarmed about the permit renewal for these facilities," observed Robert Schwartz, Tri-Valley CAREs' staff attorney. "Open burn/open detonation of this waste will release a variety of hazardous substances into the environment, including known carcinogens."

Tri-Valley CAREs has prepared extensive comments on the permit renewal, which will be presented at the hearing tonight in Tracy. Among other objections, the group notes that one of the facilities meets the definition for an incinerator. Under California law, incinerators are subject to specific requirements that have not been met.

Tri-Valley CAREs is also concerned about impacts to biological resources, including several endangered species, which may result from approval of the permit. "Livermore Lab and DTSC have acknowledged that continued operation of the facilities may contribute to future ecological impacts at Site 300," continued Mr. Schwartz. "Instead of analyzing those impacts before renewing the permit, DTSC has taken a potentially disastrous wait-and-see approach."

A public meeting on the permit renewal will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 17, 2008, at the Tracy Sport Complex, which is located at 955 Crossroads Drive in Tracy. A public hearing will follow immediately after the question and answer period of the public meeting.