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The Daily Tar Heel

NC receives EPA grant for hazardous waste disposal

North Carolina will receive over $1 million from the Environmental Protection Agency by the end of the month for its ability to safely monitor the storage of hazardous waste throughout the state. 

“The money will support (North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) program activities, including efforts to minimize hazardous waste production and oversee the safe handling, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes across the state,” the EPA said in a statement.

Davina Marraccini, spokesperson for North Carolina's EPA Region 4, said in a statement that the EPA provides regional funding divided among the eight Southeastern states, including North Carolina, based on their respective percentage of activities.

The grant, announced Sept. 5, will help the NCDEQ run programs to monitor waste while protecting the environment, she said.

Marraccini said that among the many goals for the grant program, NCDEQ will focus on hazardous waste generators that have never been inspected, non-notifies, repeat violators and facilities that are the subject of citizen complaints. She said North Carolina has 156 large quantity generators and 52 small quantity generators.

“The state will also assist newly regulated facilities, facilities subject to new regulations and facilities with compliance issues,” Marraccini said.

The EPA press release said portions of the funding will also support North Carolina’s efforts to remove hazardous chemicals from schools and from vehicles at the end of their life.

“Technical assistance will be provided to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction regarding responsible chemical management in schools," the press release said. "Separately, NCDEQ will continue to assist, monitor and enforce the removal of mercury-containing switches from vehicles prior to crushing, shredding or smelting. As part of its outreach to vehicle dismantlers, NCDEQ will also encourage recycling of lead tire weights.”

Laura Leonard, spokesperson for NCDEQ, said North Carolina is a designated state program that enforces the RCRA, which creates a framework for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste.

“We are an authorized state, which means we enforce RCRA laws on behalf of the federal government,” she said. 

Leonard said North Carolina inspects RCRA generators, implements corrective action on sites where there is existing contamination and issues permits for RCRA sites.

She said this grant was vital in helping to pay for the much-needed manpower to help monitor the hazardous waste sites.

“I think we do an excellent job, and we get positive reviews each year when EPA reviews our program to make sure that are doing what we need to be doing," Leonard said. "We could not do the same level of work without this grant to protect the safety of the citizens of North Carolina.”


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