Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Notes from "Stop the Stink Trucks" call tonight

Call notes. Please send corrections or additions to
These notes are just for the presentations and not the full Q+A.

Click here if you don't see the embedded player below:
MANY THANKS to Rachel, Ron, and everyone for participating!

On the call:
  • Bill Huston
  • Rachel Treichler
  • Joan McKiernan
  • Chris Burger
  • Ron Bishop
  • Fred Sinclair CCAC
  • Jim Little
  • Scott Lauffer
  • James Betley
  • Betsy Norton
  • Gerry Wiley
  • Ron Bishop
  • Gudrun Scott
  • ... maybe a couple of others....?
Bill Huston's intro comments--

Contamination History--
  • Everyone knows Love Canal... but how many people realize Endicott is another Superfund site?
  • IBM corp got it's start in Endicott in 1911
  • History of contamination due neglect, accidents, and intentional dumping
  • In 1979 IBM Endicott reported a spill 4,100 gallons of TCE (methyl chloroform) a commonly used VOC solvent used in electronics manufacturing. 
  • A report prepared by IBM indicated that the plume was larger than expected and contained other industrial solvents. 
  • All of these VOCs and industrial solvents seeped into the groundwater.
  • Dozens of homes were demolished in downtown Endicott and are now a giant parking lot.
  • Since the discovery of the spill groundwater remediation and monitoring has been in effect and continuous to this day. 
  • Many homes, including the one where I live, have sub-slab ventilation systems installed.
  • In 2002 IBM found that the VOCs had in fact moved into the air in buildings on and around the spill site and in 2004 Endicott was classified as a class-2 Superfund site. -- "significant threat to public health and/or the environment and requiring action"

  • In 2002, IBM transferred ownership to the buildings and assets to Endicott Interconnect, Inc. / Huron Campus, which is owned by a pair of local wealthy families (Maines -- food distribution, Matthews-- auto dealership)
  • EIT promised to retain jobs, in return for $30M in tax deferments
  • EIT failed to retain these jobs, and in fact had massive layoffs,
  • Declared Bankruptcy July 2013 -- > became i3 Electronics
The waste treatment plant

  • IBM built a waste treatment plant in the 1970s(??) to treat and dispose of their process wastes created during manufacturing.
  • Very course processes, 
    • organic bio-treatment,
    • heavy metal removal
    • pH equalization
    • dilution
  • As manufacturing dwindled, the facility processed less wastes.
  • The site has 2 state-administered Clean Water Act permits, in NY called SPDES
  • We have heard reports from people that work there, the facility needs to process a minimum volume to keep the facility running.
  • Managers at EIT hatched a plan to turn the waste treatment facility into a commercial operation to handle imported industrial wastes.
  • In April 2011 they began a Pilot program under DEC approval under their existing SPDES permit to treat landfill leachate.
  • As far as we have been able to determine, this was done in secret, there was no public notice, no public hearings, and no environmental review under SEQRA!
  • In Feb 2013, 2 local citizens with WBESC saw a massive cleanup operation going on. After some investigation, they discovered a valve on a rusty tank broke and dumped the entire contents of raw unprocessed leachate into the storm drains, which dump directly into the Susquehanna River.
  • They made a FOIL to DEC, and confirmed the Pilot program for leachate processing.

  • WBESC had it's first meeting on this 2-26-14 with DEC officials. The said the permit was up for renewal
  • Second meeting 5-3-16 to announce the permit was nearly ready.
  • Videos of these are online.
  • DEC printed a public notice of the availability of the permit on Friday July 1. "News Dump Day"
  • DEC DOES NOT provide key documents relating to this permit online, and requires that you FOIL them.
  • I have posted these docs on my website, but have not received all the docs requested.  
Status of the permit

  1. DEC says it does not have the regulatory authority to stop i3 Electronics from turning Endicott into a commerical waste dump.
  2. DEC never denies a permit (if it seems to be filled out correctly).
  3. DEC never performs safety inspections to check the integrity of the tanks or other plant facilities -- which have already leaked 17,000 gal of raw leachate in Feb 2013!
  4. DEC almost never assesses fines for non-compliance.
  5. DEC says there are "no limits" to how much effluent i3 Electronics can dump into the Susquehanna River, as long as it meets "Clean Water Standards" -- BUT NEVER CHECKS!
  6. DEC never performs independent testing of the influent or effluent
  7. ALL reporting is "self-reporting".... It's the HONOR SYSTEM!
  8. DEC does not have staff to check all permitted sites.
  9. DEC says a public hearing is "highly unusual"

Bill's Document Collection is here:

Rachel Treichler:

  • CWA -> state administered permit SPDES
  • NY SEQRA --> permit requires environment review
  • GOAL: get the state to examine the environmental impact
  • So far -- DEC has not given this much attention
  • The don't have staff
  • DEC  @ May 3 meeting: "To get DEC to take action, there must be a lot of concern"
  • 60-70 people at May 3 meeting => GOOD! Public hearing is possible
  • Rachel introduces Ron Bishop, early activist in Fracking fight going back to meeting in Bath in 2008.
  • Ron in 2008: "We're all going to have to learn about fracking"
  • We have to do the same thing with these wastewater treatment systems
  • NOT just in Endicott, although RO Concentrate is concerning
  • Other NY landfills taking drilling waste (Hyland, Chemung)
  • Issuance of a permit or renewal triggers SEQRA
  • What is the impact on the Susquehanna River
  • Region-7-- Environment notice bulletin, June 29, proposed renewal and modification (extended under SAPA)
  • Many SPDES permits are issued for 5 years, then must be renewed.
  • SAPA says, if applicant files timely renewal, and DEC fails to act, the original permit is deemed continued. --> scandal
  • Indian Point Nuke plant -> permit extended for 10 years
  • DEC issued a "negative declaration" under SEQRA. This is an "Unlisted Action", no significant environemtal impacts.
  • SEQRA: Type-1 => full review, Unlisted => may require review, Type-2 => no review
  • "Withdrawing Groundwater in excess of 2M gallons per day" may be criteria for type-1
  • Treatment facility has capacity for 3M gpd.
  • If we can demonstrate will have environmental impact -->  may get EIS
  • DEC decided "no impact" with little support using a SEQRA short form
  • DEC filled out the form, which it looks like the Applicant should have!!
  • Rachel has questions about SEQR assessment form.
    • 3: Total acerage: Not applicable. Why?
    • 4: Adjacent Land Uses: Not applicable. Why?
      • What are the uses? Is there parkland?
    • Description: Accurate?
    • Impact assessment? Lots of questions.
    • 11 questions: Every questions answer is "no" or "small impact".
    • This is not a genuine assessment.
    • WE MUST MAKE a more accurate assessment
    • Determination of Significance.  "No significance"
    • Should be filled out by the applicant. This is filled out by DEC! Not right.
  • GOAL: turn around the negative declaration
  • Having a hearing is a possibility (DEC in May)
  • If Assemblywoman Lupardo is supporting us, good sign.
  • Seneca Lake example:
    • Negative Declaration was expected to sail through
    • 900 people came to hearing.
    • Then issues conference
    • Years of delay
  • Must keep organizing! Keep showing actual impacts.
  • Priority Ranking System: "Environmental Benefit Strategy"
    • They pick certain permits most in need of review.
    • Does not say ranking on the form.
    • However-- DEC website has list.
    • i3 ranking is "up there". Reasons=> Look at them. Accurate or Not? (2015 list)
    • "Any interested party may provide at any time substantive comments requesting a change in a permit's rank based on the ground newly discovered material info exists, that a material change in environmental conditions have occurred, or that relevent tech or applicable regs have changed the conditions of the existing permit".
Ron Bishop:

  • Last point Rachel made is critical. "Substantive change"
  • Very large change!!  6.8x increase in leachate production in one year!
  • Endicott is the preferred disposers for the SMI (not new)
  • crunching data from SMI annual reports. (SEE BELOW for links)
  • total raw leachate 2014 = 6M gallons  2015 = 40 M gallons!  much is coming to endicott
  • 2014: 5M gal to Endicott + 133k of RO Concentrate.
  • 2015: 1M gal raw leachate + 2M RO Concentrate 15x increase!
  • "Mt Trashmore" dramatic increase in productions
  • This was NOT how the permit was set up. It was set up as "gallons of leachate"
    up to 30k gal .... Now up to 2M gal of 10x Concentrated. 
  • Chemistry of how to treat
  • Inorganic chemicals / Heavy metals + Salts
    • Precipitate them out, starting with Lime (carbonates)
    • Sulfur (Sulfides)
    • Sent to treatment plant in Canada to reclaim metals
    • Other salts -- don't precp out well.  Diluting soluable salts with other stuff
  • Only effluent data from i3 was 2013/2014.
  • This was prior to massive scaleup of RO Concentrate
  • Tough to find out from DEC, because this is "proprietary info"
  • Other stuff is biological material
    • Use a digestor for this, chlorine or other biocide to kill it.
    • This increases biocides going into the river
Additional NOTES:
  • SRBC! water withdrawal?  Bill checks--
    • IBM Corporation, Endicott Facility, Village of Endicott, Broome County, N.Y., to modify approval to increase total groundwater system withdrawal by an additional 499,000 gpd for a total of 1.509 million gpd (30-day average) (Docket No. 20090329). 
    • Other facts-- very strange.
    • SRBC Water Resource Portal lists 12 wells.
    • All say Facility IBM Corp-Endicott / "Approval Number" 20090329
    • All sites are at same location??? Approx 42.09785, -76.04916
    • All sites have 0 Mgal/d avg, 0 Mgal/d peak. 
      1. EN185 0/0
      2. EN160 0/0
      3. EN154 (decommissioned 2011)
      4. EN133 0/0
      5. EN120 0/0
      6. EN107 (decommissioned 2011)
      7. EN276 0/0
      8. EN253 (decommissioned 2011)
      9. EN222 0/0
      10. EN218 0/0
      11. EN195 0/0
      12. EN194 0/0
    • This DOES NOT JIVE with other info:
  • Benefit Program-- 2015 ranking-- reasons? 
    REVIEW per Rachel
  • "zombie permits" paper mentioned on the call is here:
  • Gudrun writes:

    I looked up the Code of Rules and Regulations of the State of NY  6RR-NY 617.5  were there are many examples of what constitutes a Type II action which is an action that calls for a negative declaration and no further environmental assessments no leader to conduct the environmental issues.
    Here is the lengthy list of actions that are Type II and these are the actions that are declared to not require an environmental impact declaration evaluation and the label will stick to the action:
    Read the various conditions that qualify for Type II  and there are over 30 different briefly described and here is the case of permit renewal :

    (26) license, lease and permit renewals, or transfers of ownership thereof, where there will be no material change in permit conditions or the scope of permitted activities;
    In the Endicott case there has been material change in the permit and also a change in scope all pointed out by Ron Bishop and so the situation is NOT Type II and that means not a negative environmental declaration. 

    I used the same law 6RR-NY 617.5  sentence (26) in the Hyland landfill case because they are using a new material (frack waste) and DEC allowed the increase of 49% more daily wastes in 2016-- DEC also warned that this was another no environmental impct case too.
    I found the email of Teresa...
    Teresa Diehsner
    NYSDEC Headquarters
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233


Use this link to get you to landfills, annual reports, pick year,
region 8, and then Seneca Meadows:

Each annual  report is over 500 pages long. The leachate data is in the first half.

Direct Link to SMI 2015 report:

SMI 2014 report:

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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