Category Archives: Hazardous waste

CDPHE v U.S Army (Again)

Big surprise.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment’s (CDPHE) Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division filed lawsuit in U.S. District Court in April to force the U.S. Army to comply with standards set by Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund.  There are “four claims for relief” that range from lack of dewatering of the Shell Trenches to demanding the Army provide a plan concerning surface water standards for former Basin E.

A copy of the lawsuit is located here: RMA_19cv1105_CDPHE sues Army_April2019

Deep-Well Injection

A newish CRS report titles Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection briefly discusses the Army Chemical Corps decision to dispose of its wastes through deep-well injection. The CRS report describes the process, that lead to

an M 4.8 earthquake that struck northeast Denver, on August 9, 1967 was generally accepted as the largest recorded human-induced earthquake in the United States. The M 4.8 earthquake was part of a series of earthquakes that began within several months of the 1961 start of deep-well injection of hazardous chemicals produced at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal defense plant. The earthquakes continued after injection ceased in February 1966.21 The disposal well was drilled through the flat-lying sedimentary rocks into the underlying older crystalline rocks more than 12,000 feet deep, and injection rates varied from 2 million gallons per month to as much as 5.5 million gallons per month.

For additional background, see the original report on deep-well injection (posted below) and of course, that historical treasure, The Blue Book.


The Devil’s Bargain

I recently came across this short film titled The Devil’s Bargain created by students whose school is in proximity to RMA:


The National Contingency Plan

Confusing letters between the RMA Subcommittee and the EPA on 10 x -6 risk and Superfund.

Readers are advised to scan over 40 CFR 300 before reading our letters; our assumption was that cleanup standards/cancer risk for RMA would follow 10 x -6 as outlined in the National Contingency Plan, not 10 x -4 as applied to the Arsenal and in many CERCLA cleanups.

first letter | EPA response | SC response…then we gave up.

Lots of RMA History & Documents

History, lots of history…

  • The Blue Book (Parts 1 and 3 not included).
  • CDPHE [1995] Citizen Health Summary.
  • CDPHE press release on the 10th Circuit decision.
  • Chemical Agent Program History [no author – a contractor doc?].
  • City and County of Denver comments on the Onpost proposed plan.
  • Colorado Dept. of Health [1975], Chemicals & Spills.
  • Colorado Dept. of Health [1993], Concerns, Offpost Proposed Plan.
  • Conceptual_Agreement, Sierra Club comments, [1995].
  • Corrective Action Management Unit, Sierra Club comments to CDPHE, [1996]: The Arsenal was one of the first federal facilities to reinvent cleanup via the CAMU. It is my understanding the original intent of the CAMU was to provide a framework for the development and use of alternative and innovative technologies by allowing flexibility in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Land Disposal Rule (LDRs). But at one time, the use of CAMU subverted the LDRs rule by allowing untreated dioxin laden waste landfilled without treatment. This capricious misapplication of the rule is contrary to the law, and was not the intent of Congress, the EPA and the Colorado Hazardous Waste Commission which promulgated LDRs. EPA changed requirements in 2002 [see 3.3 of this EPA doc].
  • Department of the Army [1970], Review and Analysis.
  • Draft EIS, USFWS wildlife refuge, Sierra Club comments to USFWS [1995].
  • Daigle v. Shell Oil.

RMA & Shell Oil

Perhaps the most controversial party to RMA cleanup, on April 30, 1952, Shell Oil purchased Julius Hyman & Company, which manufactured “high-potency insecticides.” Hyman officially became integrated into Shell on January 1, 1955 [see Kendall Beaton’s Enterprise in Oil: A History of Shell in the United States, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1957].

A few scanned files: