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Release Date: 4/30/2002
Contact Information: Mike Ardito, Press Office, 415/972-3081

SAN FRANCISCO B The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a 10-year renewal of the U.S. Air Force= s permit to clean-up hazardous waste on Johnston Atoll.

The most environmentally significant action in the permit involves the thermal treatment of dioxin and PCB contamination at three areas. All other Air Force areas are proposed for additional monitoring or no further action. Once the cleanup is complete, the thermal treatment unit will be shut down and removed from the island.

The permit will allow remediation and monitoring of the Air Force = s existing hazardous waste as no more will be brought to Johnston Atoll for treatment or storage. The Air Force expects to finish all treatment and removal actions by 2003 or 2004. The EPA issued the permit for 10 years to allow continued monitoring of certain areas to ensure the areas do not require further remedial action.

This permit renewal is not connected to closure activities being conducted at the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) facility.

In February 1992, the EPA issued a 10-year permit to the Air Force and Defense Nuclear Agency to store hazardous waste on Johnston Atoll, located about 717 nautical miles west and south of Hawai = i. The Air Force submitted an application for permit renewal in August 2001.

The EPA issued a public notice on Jan. 30 regarding the proposed permit renewal and opened the public comment period which lasted until March 15. A public hearing was held March 6 in Honolulu. Comments were received from the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and three interested members of the public. A few minor changes were made to the draft permit based upon comments received.

Copies of the final permit, the EPA = s response to comments and technical reports are available for review at the EPA offices in San Francisco and Honolulu.

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