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EPA assists the CNMI's Department of Environmental Quality with removal of hazardous chemicals and pesticides
Release Date: 2/11/2004
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711
HONOLULU--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently assisted the CNMI's DEQ with removing and disposing of old stored chemicals and banned unregistered pesticides temporarily stored at the DEQ office and at high schools that posed a hazard to the environment.
The DEQ requested assistance from the EPA with two removal projects:
-Work crews removed 340 pounds of chemicals used in high school classroom laboratories and accumulated over the years at Rota, Saipan and Tinian. The stored chemicals, wastes and solutions were outdated or unused, with a few of the original chemical containers deteriorating.
-The second removal project was for 195 pounds of unregistered pesticides that were confiscated from tourists arriving from foreign countries, cruise ships and other sources. Many of the pesticides are banned in the United States.
"Many of the containers were rusted and in very poor condition," said Christopher Weden, the EPA's on-scene coordinator for the removal. "The removal was necessary because the chemicals were no longer usable and eventually would begin to leak and cause a larger environmental and public health problem. The pesticides posed a similar hazard and none of the pesticides were registered for use in the United States."
Weden supervised the packing and temporary storage of the chemicals and pesticides until they could be shipped with other wastes from Guam to proper hazardous waste facilities in Utah and Oregon. The EPA's Superfund program paid for both removals, at an estimated cost of about $108,777. The wastes arrived at the disposal facilities in January.
"CNMI's DEQ can always ask the EPA for assistance in situations such as this that may need specialized help or technical expertise," said John McCarroll, manager of EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Pacific Islands Office.
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