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Release Date: 2/21/1997
Contact Information: Paula Bruin, U.S. EPA (415) 744-1587

     (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has issued a final permit that establishes federally enforceable air pollution emission limits and control requirements for a thermal soil remediation facility operated by Diversified Contractors Inc. on the Ak-Chin Indian Reservation near Maricopa, Arizona.

     U.S. EPA issued a draft permit to the facility in August 1996, and requested public comment.  U.S. EPA approved the final permit after making significant changes that include prohibiting the acceptance and treatment of pesticide-contaminated soil. As in the draft permit, the facility will be prohibited from accepting any federally regulated hazardous wastes. The facility will only be allowed to treat petroleum-contaminated soil.

     The revision in U.S. EPA's permit was made to ensure that the facility's emission levels of toxic air pollutants remain below the stringent levels defined in the Clean Air Act as a major source of toxic air pollutants.  In addition, to prevent significant deterioration of air quality under the Clean Air Act, the final permit requires Diversified to use the best available control technology to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which react with sunlight and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere to form smog.

     The Agency has also included stringent conditions in the final permit to ensure that treated and untreated soil stockpiles are properly covered or wetted and contained within the area designated for soil stockpiles. The facility will be required to limit the amount of soil processed per hour and processed per year. The permit was approved after holding a public hearing and receiving numerous comments from the community.

     The facility, which has been operating since March 1994 on the Ak-Chin Reservation 7.5 miles southeast of the town of Maricopa adjacent to the Casa Grande Highway, already possesses a portable equipment air pollution control permit from the state of Arizona. However, because only federal permits have legal standing on tribal lands, U.S. EPA required Diversified Contractors to apply for a permit from U.S. EPA under the Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD)requirements affecting areas that currently meet federal health standards for air quality.

     In addition to requiring Diversified to obtain a federal permit, U.S. EPA is pursuing an enforcement action against Diversified based on its failure to obtain the federal permit prior to moving to the Ak-Chin Reservation.

     The permit is effective unless it is appealed to the Agency's Environmental Appeals Board.  Once the permit is effective, Diversified will be required to monitor and report its emissions.  U.S. EPA  may also conduct an unannounced inspection of the facility at any time to determine Diversified's compliance with the permit and other environmental laws.  The Agency will also continue to investigate potential impacts on soil and water.

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