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New Mexico
Environment Department
Hazardous Waste Bureau

WIPP News 1998 – 2003

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

WIPP News 1998 – 2003 

EPA ID: NM4890139088
State ID: 2394 


2003


November 26, 2003 – NMED today published notice of a public comment period and a public hearing, if requested, of its intent to approve an agency-initiated modification to the WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit. The draft Permit issued today proposes to limit waste eligible for disposal at WIPP to the inventory identified when the permit was originally issued (known as the Transuranic Waste Baseline Inventory Report, or TWBIR). The following documents are available for public review:
Public Notice – discusses public review of the draft Permit, public hearing, public comment, procedure of issuance of final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and additional information
Fact Sheet – discusses background, administrative history, proposed action, availability of additional information, public comment and request for hearing, and final decision
Concerned Citizen Letter sent to the WIPP Mailing List
The affected attachments to the permit (Module II, Attachment B) included in the draft Permit are available for download in two formats (figures are not included):
TWBIR draft Permit in WordPerfect 8 (76 KB zipped) – includes embedded comments
TWBIR draft Permit in Adobe Reader (430 KB zipped)

The 65-day public comment period ended January 30, 2004.

 


September 11, 2003 – NMED issued a Final Determination on several Class 2 modification requests to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on May 14 and May 23, 2003. The subject of the various modifications included (1) addition of packaging-specific drum age criteria (DAC) for newly approved waste containers; (2) removal of underground booster fans; (3) elimination of headspace gas sampling and analysis requirements for LANL sealed sources; (4) removal of formaldehyde as a required analytical parameter for LANL; (5) addition of new hazardous waste numbers; and (6) removal of the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) prohibition in the permit. After considering all public comment, NMED approved all modifications except the additional DAC (Item 1) and LANL sealed sources (Item 3). NMED issued responses to comments on March 15, 2004.
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees
General Comment Response letter sent to the WIPP mailing list
Direct Response to Comments Spreadsheet

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


March 5, 2003 – NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief James Bearzi issued a NOD regarding the Class 3 PMR for RH waste submitted by the Permittees on June 28, 2002. NMED found the PMR to be technically deficient, and provided NOD comments listing the requested information necessary for NMED to consider preparation of a draft Permit.
Cover letter with NMED NOD Comments sent to Permittees

The Permit was not modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


January 30, 2003 – NMED issued a revised Permit today in response to a Final Order from NMED Secretary John D’Antonio regarding the Drum Age Criteria (DAC) permit modification. The Final Order adopted the Hearing Officer’s Report and the Hazardous Waste Bureau’s Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. With additional specific changes identified in the Final Order, the Permit generally reflects the Proposed Final Permit subject to public hearing in August 2002.
NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau’s Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law – issued October 9, 2002
NMED Hearing Officer’s Report – issued December 19, 2002
NMED Secretary’s Final Order – issued December 31, 2002

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


January 14, 2003 – NMED received notification today from the Department of Energy that it was formally withdrawing the Class 3 permit modification entitled Centralized Waste Confirmation. The letter stated:

“The United States Department of Energy (DOE), Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) is requesting that the Class 3 permit modification entitled Centralized Waste Confirmation submitted to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) on June 6, 2001 be rescinded and that further review of this permit modification cease.

“The DOE is currently performing further cost/benefit analyses of this program to verify that this is the most cost effective and efficient mechanism by which to aid small quantity generators in the characterization and confirmation of their waste.

Although not explicitly referenced, this withdrawal appears to be related to an audit report issued December 18, 2002 by the DOE Office of Inspector General entitled “Planned Characterization Capability At The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant” (Report IG-0577), available here (external link, 1089 KB PDF file).

 


2002


December 26, 2002 – NMED issued a Final Determination on a single Class 1* modification request to change the closure schedule for Panel 1.
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees

Permit Attachment I (Closure Plan) was modified as a result of this administrative action. A revised version of the Permit will be issued at a later date.

 


November 25, 2002 – NMED issued a Final Determination on several Class 2 modification requests to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on June 28, 2002. The subject of the various modifications included (1) characterizing repackaged homogeneous solids as retrievably stored waste; (2) the use of radiography for newly generated waste; (3) addition of the HalfPACT shipping container; (4) addition of a new hazardous waste number U134 for hydrofluoric acid; (5) new record keeping and auditing requirements for classified information; and (6) addition of new waste containers and direct loading of other existing waste containers. After considering all public comment, NMED approved all items with and without changes based upon comments. NMED issued responses to comments on December 5, 2002.
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees
General Comment Response letter sent to the WIPP Mailing List
Direct Response to Comments Spreadsheet

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


August 30, 2002 – NMED today announced the availability of a Proposed Final permit regarding the Drum Age Criteria (DAC) permit modification and an extension of public comment on this modification until September 13, 2002. NMED’s Proposed Final permit, dated August 26, 2002, would still allow specific DAC to apply to specific waste packaging configurations, but it includes further changes to the May 13, 2002 draft permit based upon prior public comment. The following documents are available for public review:
Notice of Extended Public Comment Period sent to the WIPP Mailing List
The August 26, 2002 Proposed Final permit (Attachments B, B1, B3, B4, and B6) is available for download in two formats (figures are not included):
DAC Proposed Final permit in WordPerfect 8 (300 KB zipped) – includes embedded comments
DAC Proposed Final permit in Adobe Acrobat Reader (1.2 MB zipped)

The Proposed Final permit uses yellow highlights to denote changes based upon comments from the Permittees, and blue highlights to denote changes based upon other public comments. Any additional comments must be submitted in writing to Steve Zappe no later than Friday, September 13, 2002. See the above Notice for further information on submitting written comments.

 


July 1, 2002 – NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief James Bearzi issued an administrative completeness letter regarding five Class 1 modifications submitted to the Department between February 8 and May 31, 2002. All modifications identified in the Notices of Class 1 Modification listed in the letter as being administratively complete have been put into effect.
Cover letter with NMED Comments sent to Permittees

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


June 19, 2002 – NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief James Bearzi issued a Notice of Deficiency (NOD)regarding the Class 3 permit modification request for Centralized Waste Confirmation submitted by the Permittees on June 6, 2001. NMED found the permit modification request to be technically deficient, and provided NOD comments listing the requested information necessary for NMED to consider preparation of a draft permit.
Cover letter with NMED NOD Comments sent to Permittees

The Permit was not modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


May 13, 2002 – NMED today published notice of a public comment period and a public hearing, if requested, of its intent to approve a Class 3 modification to the WIPP hazardous waste facility permit. The draft permit issued today proposes to establish new Drum Age Criteria (DAC) for taking a representative headspace gas sample from waste containers based on additional packaging configurations. The following documents are available for public review:
Public Notice – discusses public review of the draft permit, public hearing, public comment, procedure of issuance of final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and additional information
Fact Sheet – discusses background, administrative history, proposed action, availability of additional information, public comment and request for hearing, and final decision
Concerned Citizen Letter sent to the WIPP Mailing List

The affected attachments to the permit (Attachments B, B1, B3, B4, and B6) included in the draft permit are available for download in two formats (figures are not included):
DAC draft permit in WordPerfect 8 (300 KB zipped) – includes embedded comments
DAC draft permit in Adobe Acrobat Reader (1.2 MB zipped)

The 45-day public comment period ends June 27, 2002.

 


February 25, 2002 – NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief James Bearzi issued an administrative completeness letter regarding five Class 1 modifications submitted to the Department between July 21, 2000 and February 7, 2002. With the exception of those modifications identified in the letter as being either withdrawn, rejected, or accepted with changes, all other modifications identified in the Notices of Class 1 Modification listed in the letter as being administratively complete have been put into effect.
Cover letter with NMED Comments sent to Permittees

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


2001


November 27, 2001 – NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 modification request to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on August 2, 2001. The subject of the various modifications included (1) using composite headspace gas data and compositing up to 20 samples; (2) establishing safety conditions for visual examination (VE) of waste containers; and (3) taking samples of headspace gas through existing filter vent holes. After considering all public comment, NMED approved items 1 and 3 of the modifications with changes, and denied item 2.
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees
General Comment Response letter sent to the WIPP mailing list
Direct Response to Comments

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


 August 31, 2001 – NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief James Bearzi issued an administrative completeness letter regarding numerous Class 1 modifications submitted to the Department between March 30, 2000 and March 6, 2001. NMED deferred action on one submittal. With the exception of those modifications identified in the letter as being either withdrawn, rejected, or accepted with changes, all other modifications identified in the Notices of Class 1 Modification listed in the letter as being administratively complete have been put into effect.
Cover letter with NMED Comments sent to Permittees

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.

 


August 30, 2001 – NMED issued letters related to two Class 2 modifications submitted by the Permittees on May 2, 2001.

In the first letter, NMED denied the Ten-Drum Overpack (TDOP) Volume request to increase the storage capacity in the Waste Handling Building by approximately 12% and to consolidate the descriptions of containers into one attachment to the permit. Part of the basis for the denial was that it was based on an inappropriate Class 1 modification that NMED also rejected in this letter.

In the second letter, NMED reclassified the resubmitted Drum Age Criteria (DAC) modification from Class 2 to Class 3 (see March 6, 2001 news regarding initial DAC submittal). NMED anticipates issuing a draft permit incorporating modifications based upon public comment and agency initiative within thirty to sixty days.

Below are copies of several public documents related to these administrative actions:
Final Determination (TDOP Volume) letter sent to Permittees
Administrative Action (DAC) letter sent to Permittees
General Comment Response (TDOP Volume) letter sent to the WIPP mailing list
Direct Response to Comments (TDOP Volume)

The Permit was not modified as a result of either of these actions.

 


July 6, 2001 – NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 modification request to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on March 8, 2001. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modifications, with and without changes. The subject of the various modifications included (1) moving inspection forms from the Permit to the operating record; (2) changing Firefighter 1 training requirements; (3) changing Radiation Control Technician training requirements; (4) adding new hazardous waste numbers; and (5) extending the groundwater detection monitoring program data evaluation reporting time.
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees

The Permit was modified as a result of this action.

 


March 26, 2001 – NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 modification request to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on December 7, 2000. After considering all public comment, NMED denied the following Class 2 modification to the Permit:
Drum Age Criteria (DAC) modification

Below are copies of several public documents related to this administrative action:
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees
General Comment Response letter sent to the WIPP mailing list
Direct Response to Comments

The Permit was not modified as a result of this action.

 


March 13, 2001 – NMED Secretary Peter Maggiore today announced the first ever New Mexico “State of the Environment – 2001” report. It is available from the NMED’s Office of the Secretary web page. Included in the report is a two-page feature topic describing NMED’s role at WIPP. Click here for the Adobe Acrobat version of the WIPP feature.

 


2000


October 19, 2000 – NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief James Bearzi issued a letter containing comments on the Permittees’ Centralized Waste Characterization Permit Modification Request received on July 25, 2000. The Permittees withdrew this modification request on September 29, 2000, following the close of the sixty day public comment period. NMED was developing a letter of denial at the time the modification was withdrawn.
Comment letter sent to Permittees
Attachment with NMED Comments

 


August 9, 2000 – NMED Secretary Peter Maggiore announced today that he is withdrawing the WIPP permit condition under which the Department of Energy’s contractor, Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division, has posted $20 million as part of the guarantee for cleanup at the WIPP site when it is closed. The legislation signed by the President on July 13, 2000, renders the permit conditions requiring financial assurance unenforceable. “Congress has enacted controlling legislation which states that a financial guarantee cannot be required of a federal contractor at WIPP. Therefore, earlier today I advised both the United States Department of Energy and Westinghouse that the permit condition requiring financial assurance in the WIPP permit is withdrawn and will not be enforced. The withdrawal of financial assurance provisions should once and for all remove any impediments to the State of New Mexico receiving the promised $20 million in economic assistance, in the form of highway funds, that the Federal government has been withholding”, said Maggiore.

Click here for the full text of Secretary Maggiore’s notification to DOE and Westinghouse.

The affected portions of the WIPP Permit include revisions to Modules I, II, and VI, and the elimination of Attachment K. The current version of the Permit may be obtained from the Download Page.

 


August 8, 2000 – NMED issued a Final Determination on several Class 2 modification requests to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees during April, 2000. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the following Class 2 modifications to the Permit:

Adjust the accuracy ranges for cresols and pyridine (Attachment B3)

Reduce the headspace gas sampling requirements for homogeneous solid and soil/gravel waste streams with no VOC-related hazardous waste codes based upon acceptable knowledge (Module II, Attachments B, B1, B2, B3, B6)

Reduce the headspace gas sampling requirements for waste streams generated using a thermal process (Module II, Attachments B, B1, B2, B3, B6)

Add the allowance for one sub-sample to be taken for VOCs during solid sampling (Attachments B1, B6)

Apply the miscertification rate calculation to a Summary Category Group basis instead of a waste stream basis (Attachments B2, B6)

Substitute radionuclide-specific data for gross alpha and gross beta measurements as indicator parameters in the Groundwater Detection Monitoring Program (Module V, Attachment L)

Below are copies of several public documents related to this administrative action:
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees
General Comment Response letter sent to the WIPP mailing list
List of Class 2 Modifications made to the WIPP Permit

The current version of the Permit may be obtained from the Download Page.

 


1999


October 27, 1999 – NMED Secretary Peter Maggiore issued a final decision to grant a Hazardous Waste Facility Permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). A copy of the decision is available online here as well as on the Download Page. You may also request a printed copy of the decision from:

Ms. Tamella L. Gonzales
WIPP Hearing Clerk
1190 St. Francis Drive, Room N-4075
P.O. Box 26110
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502-6110 Phone (505) 827-2425
Fax (505) 827-2836

 


September 10, 1999 – WIPP Hearing Officer Jeffrey S. Gulin submitted his report to the NMED Secretary and all parties to the hearing. Based upon the Findings of Fact, Discussion, and Conclusions of Law contained in his report, the Hearing Officer recommended that the Secretary issue a final order “… granting a permit to the Applicants subject to the conditions specified in NMED’s Proposed Final Permit of June 25, 1999, except as noted below.” The only exception noted was to add the phrase “after this Permit becomes effective” to the beginning of Permit Condition IV.B.2.b.

The Report of the Hearing Officer is available from the Download Page.

 


June 25, 1999 – NMED submitted its Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law and relevant exhibits to the WIPP Hearing Officer. He will consider this and submittals by other parties to the public hearing while developing his recommendations for the final WIPP Permit to the NMED Secretary. The NMED Secretary will then render a final permit decision, currently anticipated to occur this fall.

The following files are available from the Download Page:
Response to Comments Matrices
NMED Direct Technical Testimony (presented at the Public Hearing in March 1999)

Copies of transcripts from the public hearing may be obtained directly from the court reporter. Direct inquiries to:

Hunnicutt & Ptacek Reporting
4010 Rodeo Rd
Santa Fe, NM
Phone (505) 474-9770, (800) 304-9770
Fax (505) 474-9771

 


February 22, 1999 – The WIPP public hearing began in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Hearing Officer scheduled the following times for non-technical oral public comment in Santa Fe:

PERA Building, 1120 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe:

Monday through Friday 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Except

Governor O.A. Larrazolo Auditorium, Harold Runnels State Office Building, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe:

Thursday 2/25 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., in lieu of the 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. sessions
Tuesday 3/2 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., in lieu of the 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. sessions
Thursday 3/4 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., in lieu of the 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. sessions
Thursday 3/18 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., in lieu of the 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. sessions

Here are maps providing the locations for the public hearing at the PERA Building and the Runnels Building

Persons interested in scheduling a specific time to present oral public comment may contact the Hearing Clerk, Ms. Tamella Gonzales, at (505) 827-2425.

DOE’s comments on the revised draft permit (received on December 23, 1998) are available on the Download Page.

 


1998


December 8, 1998 – NMED published a notice which announced the availability of a supplemental fact sheet for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for public review, and also provided notice of two errors contained in the revised draft permit issued on November 13, 1998. Below are copies of the legal notice and supplemental fact sheet.
Legal Notice which includes information on the following topics:
Supplemental Fact Sheet
Errors

Document Locations

Further Information

Supplemental Fact Sheet which includes information on the following topics:
     Introduction
     Legislative Background

     Regulatory Background

     NMED-Proposed Revised Draft Permit Conditions


November 13, 1998 – NMED issued a revised draft permit for WIPP, and also published notice of a public hearing and the opportunity to provide public comment. Below are the items sent to each organization and individual on NMED’s WIPP mailing list:
Citizen Letter
Legal Notice which includes information on the following topics:

     Public Hearing
     Public Comment and Participation in the Hearing

     Final Permit Decision

     Document Locations
 
    
Further Information

Also available is a Fact Sheet which includes information on the following topics:
     Introduction of Facility and Purpose of Permit
     Organization of the Permit

     Description of the Permit

     Issues and Major Permit Conditions

     Availability of the Revised Draft Permit and Other Documents

     Public Hearing

     Comment Period and Regulatory Contact

     Permit Decision

MAPS!
Here are maps providing the locations for the public hearing in Santa Fe and Carlsbad.

The deadline for submitting written public comment is January 18, 1999. The public comment period will extend to the close of the public hearing as specified in the Legal Notice.

 


August 29, 1998 – Secretary Peter Maggiore notified those requesting a hearing that a public hearing will be held and, following completion of revisions to the draft permit, NMED would provide public notice of the hearing, including the date, time, location, contact person and the process for public involvement.

 


August 20, 1998 – Division Director Ed Kelley notified those requesting an extension that their request was denied, but noted that there will be further opportunity for public comment upon revision of the WIPP draft permit.

 


August 14, 1998 – The public comment period for the WIPP draft permit ended. By that date, NMED received comments from 30 individuals and groups totaling approximately 3300 pages. Besides comments on the draft permit, 6 commentors requested a hearing on the draft permit, and 9 commentors requested an extension to the public comment period. DOE’s comments on the draft permit (received on August 14, 1998) are available on the Download Page.

 


May 15, 1998 – NMED issued a draft permit for the WIPP for public comment. The information for this version of the draft permit has been superseded by the public notices issued November 13 and December 8, 1998, and the final permit issued October 27, 1999.

 


WIPP News links:
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Quick Contact:


2905 Rodeo Park Drive East, Building 1 Santa Fe, 87505

Phone: (505) 476-6000
Fax: (505) 476-6030

Harold L. Runnels Building // 1190 St. Francis Drive, Suite N4050 // Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 // tel (800) 219-6157, (505) 827-2855

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