1. The technical basis for the July 21, 2000 Class 2 Item 1 Permit Modification Request (Item 1 Permit Modification Request) does not adequately address the primary purpose of the permit modification, which is to allow the characterization of TRU waste on-site. A request for 25% capacity increase would be considered a Class 2 permit modification (and there is question as to whether a greater than 25% increase was requested). However, additional modifications for on-site characterization and associated changes in overall programmatic characterization requirements, including site audits, would constitute a Class 3 Permit Modification Request in accordance with 40 CFR §270.42(b)(6)(i)(C)(2) which states that a Class 3 determination must be made if the "complex nature of the change requires the more extensive procedures of Class 3."
2. The technical basis for proposed on-site characterization is not sufficiently detailed in the Item 1 Permit Modification Request. For example, concern number 1 on page A-2 of the Permit Modification Request states that on-site characterization would decrease the waste transport time:
"The WIPP houses the underground TRU waste repository, the point of disposal for this waste, and therefore, characterizing waste at WIPP will reduce the need to transport TRU waste more than one time."However, if mobile vendors were used to characterize waste at generator sites, the transport time would be equivalent, and waste would be characterized in accordance with the WAP prior to waste shipment, as currently required in the WAP.
With regard to concern number 3 on page A-2, no evidence of financial burden reduction to the taxpayers has been provided; that is, additional information is required to assess the cost for mobile vendors vs. the construction of on-site characterization facilities. Further, the Permit Modification Request clearly applies to all DOE facilities generating TRU waste -- not just small quantity sites as the Permittees have claimed (see General Comments 7 and 8). All of the major sites such as Hanford, RFETS, LANL, INEEL, and SRS currently have full waste characterization capabilities on-site, and construction of a new off-site facility to characterize waste apart from these sites that already have full characterization capabilities may be an unnecessarily duplicative and costly proposal.
Also, with respect to concern number 4 on page A-2, it is unclear how this particular request meets the National Academy of Science (NAS) requirement of risk reduction, as waste shipped to WIPP will not be fully characterized and, hence, potentially poses greater risk to the general public than fully characterized waste. The NAS discussion is based on financial considerations and generator-site risk reduction. However, NMED believes the Permittees must consider additional information, including technical and regulatory reasons and justification for existing waste characterization programs.
3. The acceptance of "partially characterized waste" at the WIPP facility is insufficiently justified in the Item 1 Permit Modification Request. As written, the Permittees intend to allow shipment, receipt, and storage of wastes that have not been characterized in compliance with the WAP, and the Permittees will require only minimal WAP characterization requirements (i.e., partial completion of the Waste Stream Profile Form [WSPF]) by the waste generator. The Permittees would require characterization of waste shipped to WIPP in accordance with 40 CFR §262.11 generator requirements (regulations which do not apply to the WIPP permit), instead of in accordance with 40 CFR §264.13 treatment, storage, and disposal requirements (see General Comment 20). The Permittees continue at the bottom of page A-2, stating that identification of hazardous waste codes, DOT shipment requirements, waste stream description by waste matrix code, determination of prohibited items, and compatibility analysis must be known to safely store waste (i.e., must be known prior to waste shipment), but they infer that this information will be acquired only through acceptable knowledge (AK). However, the Permittees do not propose AK data acquisition in accordance with the permit, but instead indicate that all of the "necessary" information will be acquired through nebulous and unspecified "characterization." Because partially characterized waste would shipped to WIPP with only minimal AK, without confirmatory analysis, and without benefit of the audit process (with NMED observation), the Permittees have failed to demonstrate that sufficiently detailed chemical and physical information can be obtained to treat, store, and dispose of waste in accordance with 40 CFR §264.13. The Permittees assume that information needed to safely store waste is different than that needed to dispose of waste; however, the regulations, the permit, and the Permittees, during the permit hearing, did not differentiate along these lines, and the proposed modification does not provide sufficiently compelling arguments or discussions as to why the characterization requirements should differ.
4. The Permittees do not adequately address several contingencies and questions raised as part of the Item 1 Permit Modification Request analysis. For example, the prohibited item discovery resolution proposed in Attachment B-4b(2)(i) does not address whether a new waste stream would be identified and/or waste segregation would occur, or whether other contingencies would be adopted when prohibited items are identified. Also, a more complete discussion of the confirmation process and any associated modifications to this process should be included in the Item 1 rationale (see middle of page A-3) to explain all possible contingencies, issues, and elements that on-site confirmation might pose, including but not limited to identification of new waste streams, preparation of WSPFs, and calculation of miscertification rates.
5. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request includes numerous proposed changes that are not related to the proposed request and which are completely unjustified. For example, the Permit Modification Request alters the AK language in Attachment B4 to reduce mandatory and supplemental information requirements for all generator sites, which not only significantly reduces the AK assembly requirements, but also substantially modifies the permit well beyond the Class 2 Permit Modification Request. Also, the Permit Modification Request allows the acceptance of visual examination (VE) tapes at the WIPP in place of actual VE performance so long as VE data quality objectives (DQOs) are met (Attachment B-3c), but this would allow any generator site to ship VE tapes not collected in accordance with the WAP, which also significantly alters the permit. Also, the requirement for WSPF certification has been inexplicably removed (Permit Condition II.C.3.k). This listing is by no means exhaustive, but serves to illustrate the Permittees' failure to satisfy a fundamental requirements for any Class 2 or Class 3 Permit Modification Request: to explain why the modification is needed (see 40 CFR §270.42(b)(1)(iii)).
6. The Permittees do not adequately justify modification to the storage time limitation imposed by the permit. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request includes a provision to increase the length of time that containers can be stored at the WIPP site from the present sixty calendar days contained in permit Condition III.A.1.e, to no time limits at all for storage. The Permittees base this determination on the fact that the facility is both a storage and a disposal facility and that there are no regulatory requirements regarding the length of time that waste can be stored in a storage facility. The Permittees fail to recognize that RCRA permits at disposal facilities throughout the nation often contain permit conditions regulating the time limit for storage of waste. Many states and EPA have included such provisions in their RCRA permits to avoid storing large amounts of unprocessed waste that could be a danger to human health and the environment. There is no benefit to human health and the environment by allowing a disposal facility to store waste on-site in perpetuity.
7. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request proposed very pervasive changes to the permit which inappropriately impart broad-reaching and significant changes to the permit outside of the apparent intent of the Permit Modification Request and which leave significant room for potentially improper interpretation. These changes are implemented through detailed, line-by-line edits which on the surface (or when view as isolated changes) may appear appropriate, but actually modify the entire programmatic waste characterization process and fundamentally change the waste analysis plan intent and scope. The Permit Modification Request should have included additional clarifying information indicating the exact characterization confirmation expectations and tasks assigned to the generator/storage sites, as well as identifying the characterization confirmation activities that will be performed by the Permittees at WIPP. That is, the permit modification would have been more appropriate if the Permittees had chosen to preface the entire discussion (e.g., a.1. Module II.B.1 on page A-5) with specific language that identified the recommended permit modification scope, and then clearly delineated those circumstances to which the permit modification applied rather than to attempt blanket modifications that, perhaps unintentionally, imparted far-reaching changes. Alternatively, the Permittees could have chosen to include the requested on-site characterization in a separate permit section which cross references other sections as appropriate but which leaves the body of the permit unmodified, thus retaining all characterization requirements for facilities fully characterizing waste off-site.
8. As an example of broad revision to the permit with far-reaching impacts, the Permittees consistently remove the phrases "receive" and/or "manage, store" in the Item 1 Permit Modification Request Revised permit text, retaining only the word "disposal." The apparent intent of the proposed modification is to allow all sites to ship waste to WIPP that is only partially characterized and potentially without benefit of site audit - regardless of generator site--so long as full WAP characterization is performed prior to disposal. In so doing, the revised permit text consistently and without explanation allows blanket management and storage of waste not characterized in accordance with the WAP, even those wastes from sites that are fully capable of characterizing wastes in accordance with the WAP prior to shipment. Another apparent intent of this modification is to allow partially characterized waste to be stored at WIPP for future WAP compliant characterization. However, this blanket modification leaves loopholes and open interpretations with respect to off-site and on-site waste characterization requirements. For example, it is unclear whether the Permittees would allow radiography (RTR) information from a generator site that has not been audited, rather than obtaining said radiography information on-site (i.e., at WIPP). Proposed module and attachment modifications in question include but are not limited to:
a.3. Module II.C.1.a
a.5. Module II.C.1.g
a.6. Module II.C.2
a.7. Module II.C.3
b.6. Module III.B.1.a
b.7. Module III.B.2
d.1. Attachment B Introduction
d.4. Attachment B-1b
d.5. Attachment B-1c
d.6. Attachment B-1d
d.7. Attachment B-2
d.9. Attachment B-3a(1)
d.16. Attachment B-4a(4)
g.6. Attachment B3-10a(1)
g.7. Attachment B3-10a(2)
g.8. Attachment B3-10a(3)
g.9. Attachment B3-10b(1)
g.10. Attachment B3-10b(2)
g.14. Attachment B3-13
h.8. Attachment B4-3d
9. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request appears to indicate that radiography and visual examination data generated at the WIPP will not be subject to validation and verification as specified in the permit. However, all characterization data must be subject to the reviews specified in the permit, regardless of the source of that data.
10. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request does not include sufficient information regarding secondary containment in the proposed container storage areas. For example, the Permit Modification Request does not provide sufficient information to verify secondary containment calculations because: 1) the Permit Modification Request does not provide the total number of containers to be stored in each of the container storage areas, and 2) the Permit Modification Request does not include design and profile drawings of the modified container storage areas, including a design showing the secondary containment systems. The total number of containers and the design of the container storage area are among the information necessary to verify the secondary containment calculations.
Additionally, information presented in the Permit Modification Request requires clarification or is incomplete. For example:
· Page A-49 of the Permit Modification Request modification indicates that containment "berms" and "containment pallets" will be used in Room 108 (page A-46) and the Derived Waste Storage Area (page A-47). However, the secondary containment calculations do not provide information on the placement of these "containment pallets" or the location of the "berms" in the container storage areas.
· As submitted, the secondary containment calculations are based on the entire floor capacity of the WHB for all container storage areas. If berms and containment pallets are used, then the location of the "berms" and the size and dimensions of the "containment pallets" must be provided since these structures would constitute the boundary of the secondary containment area, not the entire WHB floor.
· Secondary containment capacity calculations are based on "container equivalent determinations." However, the Permit Modification Request does not indicate whether these "container equivalent" calculations represent the largest "worst case" volume, which is required to assess the accuracy of secondary containment calculations.
· The WIPP permit allows the secondary containment calculation to be based on a container volume using 1% of the container's capacity, because all waste is characterized prior to shipment to ensure that no more than 1% liquid will be present in each container. However, if wastes are not fully characterized prior to being sent as proposed in the Permit Modification Request, then it is possible that prohibited items, such as liquids, could be in the container, which is acknowledged by the Permittees. Since it is possible that liquid in the waste could exceed the 1% limitation because RTR/VE are not necessarily performed prior to shipment, this modification cannot assume that the containers only contain 1% liquids. Therefore, the secondary containment calculation must be based on the fact that liquids could be stored in these containers and adjust the secondary containment calculations accordingly.
10. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request does not adequately address design requirements for the "containment pallets" and "berms." Since berms are new structures not included in the current permit, berm material construction and design information, such as location and dimensions of the berms, must be provided. The design information must include the height and width of the containment berms. In addition, the modification must provide documentation of the compatibility of the "containment" pallets and the "berms" with the waste. With regard to "containment pallets," the permit indicates that "polyethylene trays with a grated deck" would be used, but the Permit Modification Request removes this specific language and replaces it with "containment pallets." However, the term "containment pallets" is not specific enough since the Permit Modification Request does not provide containment pallet design information such as the dimension and depth of the pallets. In addition, since the containment pallet material of construction is not specified, waste-pallet compatibility cannot be assessed. With regard to waste storage on containment pallets or in bermed areas, the Permit Modification Request must address sufficiency of WHB floor coating in these areas; areas of the WHB with insufficient coating should not be included in the secondary containment calculations provided on pages A-49 to A-50. Also the Permit Modification Request indicates that containment berms will be used to provide secondary containment (page A-45), but containment berms would do little to protect the base of the container storage area if this area is uncoated. Specific designs for all of the container storage areas presented in the Permit Modification Request should have been included.
11. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request does not clearly specify that all individuals performing waste characterization in accordance with the permit shall be trained to the same level and degree that off-site facility personnel characterizing WIPP waste are required to meet. If the Permittees characterize waste at the WIPP site, then the Permittees must demonstrate that individuals are trained to perform waste characterization in all applicable permit areas, including but not limited to AK, RTR, VE data validation/verification, etc.
The Permit Modification Request does not sufficiently address additional training of on-site waste handling personnel required if on-site characterization is performed. The Permit Modification Request proposes only minor training modifications to the WIPP training outline, with the only changes being to the job description of the "TRU Waste Handlers" for additional duties to "perform activities in support of on-site waste characterization." However, it is unclear what other activities the "TRU Waste Handlers" will perform to support on-site waste characteristic activities.
12. Figure B-3.1, Item 1.d.25, is a flowchart presenting on-site characterization waste, but the diagram is incomplete. For example, the does not show disposition of wastes that do not meet the documented physical description as found through RTR/VE, of wastes that contain prohibited items, and of wastes that contain additional hazardous headspace gases other than those in the permit.
13. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request does not consider ramifications of the modification on other areas of the permit. For example, the Contingency Plan, procedures to prevent hazards, inspection schedules, and traffic patterns would require revision if the Permit Modification Request occurred. To elaborate, the Contingency Plan and procedures to prevent hazards would be most impacted since the facility proposes to open uncharacterized or partial characterized wastes, which would increase the risk to personnel and the environment. In addition, the inspection requirement should be modified to ensure that incompatible waste are not stored together, or that drums are not stored open, especially after sampling. Since storage of wastes is proposed for a longer period of time than in the permit, a more intensive inspection program may be necessary since drum deterioration could be an issue. Traffic patterns at or in the container storage areas may be impacted by the storage of larger quantities of waste.
14. The Item 1 Permit Modification Request brings to question several regulatory issues. For example, the WIPP is a disposal facility, and the permit was issued with the explicit understanding that storage of waste prior to disposal would be limited in duration, and no treatment or TRU-mixed waste generation (other than derived waste) would occur. Waste characterization requirements in the permit followed 40 CFR §264.13 requirements for treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, but the Permit Modification Request would allow storage of waste that is not in compliance with the WAP, presumably because the Permittees believe that generator characterization requirements are sufficient for waste shipment and storage based on generator site waste identification alone. However, the EPA guidance indicates that the term "waste analysis" refers to the process of identifying waste as per 40 CFR §262.11 and characterizing waste per 40 CFR §264.13 (as stated in the EPA Manual Waste Analysis at Facilities that Generate, Treat, Store and dispose of Hazardous Waste). 40 CFR §264.13, which applies to treatment, storage, and disposal facilities such as WIPP, requires the operator to obtain "detailed physical and chemical analysis of a representative sample of the waste" before the owner operator can treat, store or dispose of the waste. The Permittees have not adequately justified why the proposed modification to obtain lesser characterization information under generator waste determination regulations would be sufficient to satisfy storage requirements under 40 CFR §264.13. The Permittees imply that WIPP could "become" a waste generator facility (thus perhaps justifying characterization in accordance with waste generator requirements; see page A-4 of the Item 1 Permit Modification Request), but the Permittees state elsewhere that they are not a generator/storage facility (Page A-9).
15. The Item 2 Permit Modification Request proposes the elimination of the audit program for waste characterized at the WIPP, stating "The intent of the audit program in the permit is to ensure that generator sites have implemented and complied with the applicable portions of the Waste Analysis Plan (WAP). For waste that will be characterized by the Permittees, the basis for auditing the waste characterization process in the manner specified in the permit no longer exists." This conclusion is implied by the Permittees on the basis that WIPP is in the State of New Mexico and that NMED, through its enforcement program, can inspect WIPP compliance at any time without the audit program in the permit. The basis for the modification request continues, stating that NMED's reasons for implementing the program, as interpreted by the Permittees, had been mitigated through Permittees' mandates that the relevant QA/QC requirements shall be implemented at the WIPP characterization facility, and because the Permittees will ensure that the waste characterization processes performed at the WIPP facility and associated records are open to review and inspection by the NMED at any time.
Unfortunately, the Permittees misunderstand NMED's justification and reasoning for implementing the audit program. As clearly stated in NMED's testimony at the Hazardous Waste Facility permit hearing, NMED recognized that the permit application did not include the chemical and physical analysis required at 40 CFR §270.15(b)(2). Instead, the Permittees proposed methodologies by which this required chemical and physical analysis would be obtained, and the Permittees imposed acquisition of these required chemical and physical analysis on the generator/storage sites prior to waste shipment, thus fulfilling the requirements of 40 CFR §264.13(a)(1): "Before an owner or operator treats, stores, or disposes of any hazardous waste…. he must obtain a detailed chemical and physical analysis of a representative sample of the waste." NMED concluded that "the provision of detailed and representative chemical and physical analysis could be obtained through implementation of the WAP at generator Sites, as confirmed by audits conducted by the Applicants with NMED oversight" (NMED Direct Testimony, Audit Requirement, p. 2) and that "the permit conditions regarding audit reporting and oversight is critical to the WIPP permit because they ensure compliance with the WAP" (ibid., p. 3). NMED did not predicate audit performance on the location of the generator/storage site. If waste characterization is performed at WIPP, then WIPP becomes the "generator/storage site" responsible for all characterization of that waste (much like, for example INEEL is responsible for RFETS waste it has accepted on-site). Further, site audit is a critical permit element that cannot be replaced by enforcement oversight. Performance of site audits is the key element to demonstrate ongoing WAP compliance, and any permit modification to remove this requirement would constitute a Class 3 Permit Modification Request in accordance with 40 CFR §270.42(b)(6)(i)(C)(2) which states that a Class 3 determination must be made if "The complex nature of the change requires the more extensive procedures of Class 3."
16. The Item 2 Permit Modification Request to eliminate site audits with respect to WIPP does not address how or if audits will be performed if "partial" waste characterization takes place at an off-site facility. Item 1 language infers that any portion of waste characterization can be performed off-site, with any outstanding characterization performed at WIPP. This process, however, is very nebulous with respect to the audit process, and could mean that processes required by the WAP could go unaudited. That is, it is unclear whether the Permittees intend to allow off-site facilities to provide some measure of WAP compliance information (i.e., RTR/VE tapes), with other WAP requirements being fulfilled at the WIPP site without the benefit of audit.
17. The Item 2 Permit Modification Request includes several revisions that are either poorly justified or unrelated to the Permit Modification Request. For example, additional explanation and justification is required with regard to why the Permittees believe that only headspace gas data requires review, verification, and validation, since RTR and VE data are also subject to verification and validation. Also, the Permit Modification Request could apparently be interpreted to allow all data generation level, project level, and Permittees' level validation to be performed at the Permittees' facility. Under the permit, data generation level and project level reviews are currently performed by staff familiar with both the waste and the characterization activities. However, delegation of these activities to Permittees' validation and verification staff would reduce the effectiveness of the process because the Permittees staff would not have inherent waste stream knowledge and would not have access to the subject matter experts. In addition, the proposed combination of project and Permittees level reviews eliminates a level of organizational as well as personal independence that is in the current permit. Further, NMED expected the Permittees to develop data usability criteria; the Permit Modification Request allows each site to develop their own criteria, which is not appropriate with respect to data comparability. The proposed permit modification also unjustifiably weakens the overall radiography training program for the radiography performed at the WIPP. The proposed permit modification would also allow "designees" to perform particular sign-offs and calculations rather than the permit-specified individual. Also, the WIPP facility is not required to meet completeness requirements with respect to radiography (with no explanation or justification), and the WSPF completion requirement language modifications are relaxed unnecessarily in some instances (i.e., page A-65).
18. The Item 2 Permit Modification Request unjustifiably eliminates the audit process at generator sites shipping waste to WIPP for characterization, instead indicating that the WIPP will assist in the assembly of all "necessary" AK documentation that would then be available to NMED only during enforcement inspections. In light of NMED's concern regarding thoroughness of information acquired via AK prior to waste shipment (refer to General Comment 3), elimination of the audit program at generator sites shipping waste to WIPP with respect to generator site AK requires additional justification.
19. The Item 2 Permit Modification Request includes the statement "for
those facilities which are subject to audit" in several proposed permit
modification sections. In light of General Comment 16 above, these statements
are unnecessary and are unjustified. Note that almost all of the revised
permit text with respect to Item 2 includes this statement.
SPECIFIC COMMENTS, ITEM 1
a.1. Module II.B.1 - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request adds a paragraph which attempts to define the off-site vs. on-site waste characterization activities, but this explanation is inconsistent with language presented in proposed Attachment B Introduction Language:
a.1. Module II.B.1 states:
Full characterization of TRU waste (excluding the characterization required for transportation), will be performed at either the WIPP (referred to as on-site characterization) or at an off-site facility. Therefore, for the purposes of implementation of waste characterization activities as specified in this permit, the designation "generator/storage" site may be interpreted to include the off-site generator/storage sites or the WIPP facility for those wastes stored at WIPP for subsequent characterization.However, d.1. Attachment B Introduction Language states:
Characterization of TRU waste (excluding the characterization required for transportation), will be performed at either the WIPP (referred to as on-site characterization) or at an off-site facility. Therefore, for the purposes of implementation of waste characterization activities as specified in this permit, the designation "generator/storage" site means the off-site generator/storage sites. For waste characterized at WIPP, specific requirements are identified throughout the WAP.The permit modification would be clearer if a section with identical language were added as/where appropriate which specifically defines the waste categories for which the modification is requested, followed by appropriate modifications to permit language; see General Comment 8, above.
a.4. Module II.C.1.e - Based on the proposed language in which the "generator/storage site" is either the WIPP or the off-site facility, the Item 1 Permit Modification Request is inconsistent with the remainder of the permit which clearly requires AK confirmation for wastes characterized off-site. Although the second sentence of the proposed language modification attempts to rectify this apparent discrepancy, the language modification is an example of proposed permit language changes that are either ambiguous or unclear. The Permit Modification Request is apparently intended to relax AK requirements for sites shipping waste to WIPP for characterization such that these sites would not have to comply with any WAP AK requirements. NMED believes that the proposed AK allowances (or disallowances) are too vague to ensure that appropriate AK will be collected to meet even the proposed shipment criteria (see General Comment 3, above). The Permittees should require more AK information from off-site generator/storage sites that wish to ship waste to WIPP for complete WAP characterization (i.e., completion of WAP AK requirements up to but not including AK confirmation, and provision of said information in an AK summary provided with the WSPF). The "Part A" of the WSPF (Figure B-1, Item 1.d.23) would then be revised to include information up to but not including sampling/analysis.
a.7. Module II.C.3 - The Item 1 Permit Modification request changes the permit so that failure of only "applicable" TSDF-WAC is not allowed; it is unclear why this particular language change was made, since all TSDF-WAC must be met for all waste prior to disposal. Justify why the change to "applicable" waste was necessary as part of the Permit Modification Request. Additionally, the proposed language changes for radiography, headspace gas, and WSPFs should be revisited; each should be clarified with regard to removal of the phrase "is not acceptable" for off-site fully characterized waste . Clarify why the word "certified" was removed.
b.3. Module III, Table III.A.1 - The footnote to the table stating "The distribution of that total capacity is at the discretion of the Permittees so long as the individual area capacities listed in Table III.A.1 are not exceeded" is unclear. Each area in the table is described by the floor space and maximum capacity, allowing for no discretion in, say, using excess capacity in the NE Storage Area to allow for more storage in the TRUDOCK Storage Area. Furthermore, the elimination of the column labeled "Container Equivalent" is unjustified, since the values provided do not prescribe the types of containers allowed and are only used to express in visual terms the quantity of waste allowed in the area. Finally, the redline capacities expressed in ft3 and m3 do not add up to the values provided in the "Total" row, and the increased capacity requested (1107 ft3) exceeds the 25% allowed under a Class 2 modification (2718 ft3 + 1591 ft3 = 4309 ft3; 4309 ft3 x 0.25 = 1077.25 ft3) by nearly 30 ft3.
d.1. Attachment B Introduction - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request is inconsistent with the proposed Module II.B.1 request (see comment a.1. above).
d.2. Attachment B Introduction - The Permittees propose a list of requirements that "must be performed" before a site can ship waste to WIPP for on-site characterization. This list includes a bullet which states:
"Compile (or assist the Permittees in compiling) relevant acceptable knowledge documentation regarding the waste stream."The Permittees do not address what would be considered "relevant" AK information. Further, since the Permittees are required to meet WAP requirements with respect to AK, there is question as to the depth of information that will be provided pre-shipment if WAP AK information (up to but not including confirmation) is not obtained. The Permittees should completely justify why they are not requiring assembly of WAP-required AK information prior to waste shipment, or should require assembly of all AK information up to confirmation prior to shipment. Also, the Permittees included two bullets (page A-11) explaining characterization requirements with respect to on-site vs. off-site characterization, and this type of clarification is very appropriate. The Permittees should provide additional information, where appropriate, which specifically mandate the characterization requirements with respect to AK, clarifying what the Permittees expect from off-site facilities that ship waste to WIPP for confirmatory analysis. Furthermore, the language is written in the passive voice, rendering it unclear who is responsible for fulfilling these requirements.
The Permittees' modification goes on in the next paragraph to edit the WSPF language to diminish the contents of the WSPF provided by the generator/storage sites that do not perform their own full waste characterization. Due to concerns with respect to AK data collection prior to waste shipment (see General Comment 3), the Permittees should consider whether the WSPF should be completed through confirmation for all off-site facilities, with confirmation data (i.e., full WSPFs) required of those sites performing full off-site characterization.
The Permittees added a paragraph indicating that the implementation of the TSDF WAC may be "phased" depending on where characterization if performed:
Implementation of the TSDF-WAC in this permit may be phased depending on whether waste is being characterized fully at the off-site generator/storage site or if some portion [emphasis added] of the characterization is to be performed at the WIPP. At a minimum, those facilities shipping waste to WIPP must demonstrate that the waste meet applicable transportation requirements (i.e., hazardous waste codes, physical form) and the storage requirements (i.e., hazardous waste codes, physical form, absence of prohibited items). This demonstration can be based on acceptable knowledge (AK), as defined in this Permit, and applicable requirements of 220.127.116.110 NMAC (incorporating 40 CFR Part 262) or the equivalent regulation in the generator/storage site's state….
This paragraph appears to indicate that generator sites may perform any portion of the WAP, and then ship waste to WIPP for any "missing" characterization elements. However, this proposal is not adequately justified or addressed in the permit modification request, as several elements and requirements are not clarified or addressed. For example, the permit does not indicate whether said sites would still be subject to audit for elements performed off-site, nor does it address (if audits are not anticipated) how the full characterization process required by the WAP will actually be implemented when portions of the confirmation process are performed at a generator site, but full AK is not required of the generator site.
d.4. Attachment B-1b - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request is not necessary because the discussion on page A-3 states that the Waste Matrix Code shall be required of all generator/storage sites, even those that would not perform on-site confirmation. Again, passive voice is used here unnecessarily.
d.5. Attachment B-1c - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request removes the audit requirement of generator/storage sites, but the Permittees will continue to audit generator/storage sites that perform full off-site characterization. The revision should have retained the audit provision, but clarified the events that will take place when confirmation is performed at WIPP.
d.6. Attachment B-1d - The Permittees propose to revise the WSPF requirements such that only minimal information is required of generator sites that do not perform on-site confirmation, including provision of only very little AK information that is not collected in accordance with the AK elements of the WAP. Additionally, the proposed revisions do not clarify how the WSPF would be completed for sites performing "partial" waste characterization (see d.1, above). Section A of the WSPF should include all information up to but not including AK confirmation sampling. The Permittees should have clearly distinguished between the WSPF requirements associated with waste fully characterized on-site vs. those fully characterized off-site. Further, there is no justification for removing the shipping record removal requirements, waste characterization confirmation requirement, nor is it clear why the Permittees shall be allowed to identify "any additional waste characterization activities that shall be required for disposal of the waste." Also see Commentary on Figure B-1.
d.11. Attachment B-3c - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request would allow observation of VE tapes in lieu of actual VE activities if "VE follows procedures that assure that the data quality objectives of this WAP are met and the data are documented on visual examination data forms." The DOE sought to use VE tapes for pre-existing data -- that is, data that were acquired prior to the effective date of the permit. However, this modification would allow the sites to examine audio/visual tapes of waste visually examined after the effective date of the permit, so long as the site performing the VE met general DQO requirements. This effectively diminishes the visual examination and, presumably, visual verification requirements in the permit. Further, the modification goes on to state that only off-site generator/storage sites must meet the liquid waste assumptions for non-transparent containers. It is unclear why this requirement would not apply to waste characterized on-site at WIPP, unless the Permittees intend never to perform actual on-site VE, instead relying only on tapes for this requirement. In other words, the proposed permit modification would allow a WAP activity to be performed off-site with no audit or other examination/approval of these activities save for DQO assessment and tape examination. This allowance was granted by NMED for pre-existing data, but NMED did not intend it to extend to data characterized after the effective date of the WAP. Further, the permit modification request is not consistent with the overall intent of the proposed class 2 permit modification, and impacts the WAP compliance requirements for waste across the DOE complex.
d.12. Attachment B-3d - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request removed the requirement that generators/storage sites delineate wastes into waste stream by AK. However, it is unclear how the proposed "required" elements listed on page A-3 of the Permit Modification Request could be met without designating the waste into a waste stream, particularly if the Waste Matrix Code must be defined prior to shipment. Clearly, all generator/storage sites will still delineate wastes using AK, including delineation by waste streams, and it is unclear how sufficient AK information would be obtained even for shipment (as the Permittees contend) if wastes could not be delineated into waste streams prior to shipment.
d.15. Attachment B-4a(3) - The Permittees state that sites which fully characterize their waste prior to shipment shall generate a QAPjP that is sent to NMED by the Permittees prior to waste shipment. However, the Permittees do not commit to providing NMED with a QAPjP if waste characterization occurs at WIPP.
d.16. Attachment B-4a(4) - It is unclear why the phrase "generator/storage" was universally removed, as the audit program applies to off-site generator/storage sites. Also see General Comment 7.
d.17. Attachment B-4a(6), d.20. Attachment B-4b(1)(i) - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request changes the permit so that only sites that fully characterize waste prior to waste shipment are required to use the WWIS. However, the Permit Modification Request is not adequately justified. Clarify how data transfer will occur from sites that "partially" characterize waste, and how that information is transmitted to the WWIS at WIPP (it is assumed that this is done because the WWIS is used as a centralized tracking system). Also, it appears that the Permit Modification Request allows WWIS use at the WIPP site following less stringent requirements than are mandated for sites that fully characterize waste prior to shipment.
d.21. Attachment B-4b(2) - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request adds the words "as appropriate" to the requirement that waste pass Phase II waste screening prior to acceptance. The modification allows interpretation with respect to whether wastes that fully characterize waste prior to shipment are subject to Phase II screening. The Permittees should clearly indicate those wastes that the proposed modification applies to.
d.22. Attachment B-4b(2)(i) - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request adds the receipt of prohibited items as a shipment discrepancy, stating that if a prohibited item is identified it will be segregated and then shipped back to the generator, shipped elsewhere, or "managed in an appropriate manner with NMED approval." The intent of this section is to deal with manifest discrepancies noted via paperwork comparison; the inadvertent shipment of a prohibited item actually won't be identified until RTR/VE are performed at the WIPP site and it is therefore inappropriate to include prohibited item identification in the referenced section. The apparent reasoning for including prohibited item identification in this location is so that receipt of the prohibited item would not be considered a permit violation . As such, is it not appropriate for the referenced section to deal with prohibited item identification.
e.1. Attachment B1 Introduction - Refer to General Comments 7 and 8, above.
e.2. Attachment B1-3b - The Permittees state that training will be "sufficiently broad" to include waste generated at all of the sites that will send waste to WIPP, but "sufficiently broad" is nebulous and indefinite, and does not specify the scope of training that must be performed at WIPP particularly with respect to radiography.
e.3. Attachment B1-3b(1) - Clarify why the phrase "as appropriate" was added. Additionally, removal of the phrase "Waste Stream Profile Form" was apparently intended to account for on-site characterization with a reduced WSPF, but removal of the phrase changes how test drums are examined from facilities that perform full on-site characterization. See General Comments 7 and 8.
e.4. Attachment B1-3b(3) - Refer to Comment d.11.
e.5. Attachment B1-3b - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request significantly weakens the training requirements for visual inspection as it does not require training to specific waste matrix codes. This modification changes general training requirements, and is not justified nor addressed under the Permit Modification Request.
f. Attachment B2 Introduction - The addition of the words "as appropriate" to the statistical sampling/analysis is not justified.
g.2. Attachment B3-1 - The proposed data usability modification makes it is the responsibility of each site to develop their own data usability criteria. However, during the RFETS site audit A-00-08, the Permittees agreed to develop site-wide data usability criteria that would be universally implemented.
g.12. Attachment B3-12 - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request dilutes or negates the data transmission requirements for any site shipping waste to WIPP, which is neither included in nor justified by the Permit Modification Request. The Permittees must justify such an apparent sweeping change; in fact there is no need for this modification, given that significant allowance is given to small generator sites in the previous sentences.
h.1. Attachment B4-2 - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request changes AK requirements for all sites shipping waste to WIPP, not just those that ship waste to WIPP for confirmation, and this change is not fully or adequately justified in the Permit Modification Request. NMED points out that sites which ship waste to WIPP for characterization will not be audited, and NMED will never know through first hand observation whether the waste characterization performed at the site is adequate (NMED will find out only through operating record inspections). Further, the proposed modification with respect to waste with poor required AK effectively guts the permit requirement which requires that waste to be "characterized as specified in Permit Attachment B, Section B-3d(1)," i.e., as a newly generated waste requiring visual verification. Insertion of the word "relevant" regarding supplemental information is unjustified. This permit modification is wholly unrelated to the subject Class 2 request and must be considered separately.
h.2. Attachment B4-2a - The phrase "as necessary" is unjustified; the AK record, whether it be at the generator site or at WIPP, must contain the required information. This is an apparent attempt to remove the necessary and mandated information deemed necessary by the Permittees during the hearings, and must be considered separately from the subject Class 2 permit modification request.
h.3. Attachment B4-2b - The removal of the word "required" and replacement with as "necessary" is unjustified; the process information is required for all waste. Further, the revision removing the word "required" and replacing it with "necessary" is vague and dilutes the intent of the permit with respect to the expected level of detail required at generator/storage sites with respect to AK. The modification to remove the word "all" and replace with "appropriate" with respect to waste codes is completely unnecessary and incongruent with the proposed permit modification request. The modifications proposed in this Permit Modification Request element are unrelated to the Class 2 Permit Modification Request.
h.4. Attachment B4-2c - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request attempts to remove the requirement to collect supplemental information; this change is incongruent with the proposed permit modification request and requires separate and detailed justification.
h.5. Attachment B4-3 - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request removes the requirement for mandatory (required) and supplemental information with no justification or discussion. NMED approved the permit application that included these commitments and wrote the Permit to include these commitments. Removal of the required and supplemental waste characterization information assembly dilute the entire AK process and leaves determination of appropriate AK up to the sites, which is incongruent with the commitment in the permit application and permit. In fact, if the Permittees believe that additional information is required to adequately characterize waste than that presented in the mandatory section, the sites/Permittees are certainly allowed to collect this as part of their supplemental information package. Further, the proposed revision includes no justification for this type of change, and it is unclear why these permit AK requirements --which have been easily met by all generator sites audited thus far --are inappropriate.
h.6. Attachment B4-3b, and h.7. Attachment B4-3c - See Comments h.1 - h.5, above. Also, all AK procedures used must be WAP compliant and should be so specified in Permit Modification Requests.
h.8. Attachment B4-3d - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request makes revisions that apply to both waste characterized at the WIPP and waste characterized off-site. For example, all waste characterized off-site must be confirmed prior to shipment (in contrast to the proposed modification which infers that all confirmation will occur at the WIPP site itself).
h.9. Attachment B4-3e - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request appears to require AK DQO compliance of generator/storage sites, but not of the Permittees when waste is characterized on-site (i.e., at WIPP). This relaxation of AK DQO applicability is inappropriate and is unjustified in the Permit Modification Request.
h.10. Attachment B4-4 - The Item 1 Permit Modification Request changes the permit so that confirmation of AK is not required at ANY site prior to disposal. Further, the notification requirement that is removed with respect to the WSPF still applies to wastes characterized off-site and should be retained in this capacity. Also, the last sentence of the proposed modification is inappropriate for waste characterized off-site; see General Comment No. 8
SPECIFIC COMMENTS, ITEM 2
Note that a specific comment regarding use of the phrase "for those facilities which are subject to the Audit Program" could be offered for every suggested permit text revision offered by the Permittees. Rather than repeat each section revision for the same comment, General Comment 21, above, is presented.
b.1. Attachment B Introduction - The Item 2 Proposed Permit Modification Request proposes changes that inappropriately and unjustifiably redefine retrievably stored and newly generated waste. The proposed language change removes the requirement for NMED approval of a site's characterization process prior to considering a waste newly generated. In so doing, there is no distinction between newly generated and retrievably stored for waste characterized at WIPP, thus confusing the intended WIPP waste characterization process proposed by the Permittees.
b.4. Attachment B-1c - The Item 2 Proposed Permit Modification Request specifies the purpose of radiography and/or visual examination at the WIPP. While the purpose of said examination includes the elements listed in the permit modification, other purposes of RTR/VE are included in the permit. It is unnecessary, therefore, to specify these elements as the purpose of RTR/VE are spelled out elsewhere.
b.6. Attachment B-3b - The Item 2 Proposed Permit Modification Request revisions to the acceptable knowledge appear to have been made to accommodate the proposed audit revisions, but NMED has indicated in other completeness/technical adequacy comments that weakening of AK provisions requires more explanation (i.e., see General Comment 3). Also, the proposed revisions unjustifiably modify the permit so that none of the AK requirements apply to sites shipping waste to WIPP for characterization, and so that AK requirements specified in the permit do not apply when waste is characterized at WIPP.
b.8. Attachment B-4a(1) - The Item 2 Proposed Permit Modification Request does not justify the addition of the phrase "or their designee" with respect to reconciliation of DQOs, and this request does not appear to be related to the Item 2 Proposed Permit Modification Request.
b.9. Attachment B-4a(3) - The Item 2 Permit Modification Request implies that the QAPjP will be provided to NMED prior to the generator/storage site audits for off-site facilities only; NMED believes that the on-site QAPjP must also be provided to NMED prior to audit of the WIPP site waste characterization program.
b.11. Attachment B-4b(1), b.12 Attachment B-4b(1)(iii) - NMED believes that generators shipping waste to WIPP for characterization must still fill in the WSPF up to acceptable knowledge confirmation activities. The Item 2 Permit Modification Request, however, gives the impression that the Permittees will not verify WSPFs received from facilities shipping waste to WIPP for complete characterization (with the understanding that these WSPFs would have less information than the WSPFs from sites that fully characterize waste prior to shipment).
c.1. Attachment B1-3b - The statement that "similar training programs will be instituted at the WIPP facility…" is unacceptable. The same training requirements implemented at generator/storage sites must be instituted at the WIPP facility to ensure WAP compliance,
d.1. Attachment B3 Introduction - The Item 2 Permit Modification Request does not require performance of data verification/validation with respect to radiographic and visual examination data for data generated at the WIPP. However, radiography and visual examination data validation/verification must be followed at every generator/storage site, including the WIPP. Further, the verification and validation requirements for headspace gas must specifically meet WAP requirements (which do incorporate SW-846 and TO-14, but are more specific). The final paragraph of this revision is also unnecessary.
d.2. Attachment B3-1 - The Item 2 Permit Modification Request implies that data usability assessment shall not be required when data is characterized on-site (i.e. at WIPP), and that data usability will be done on a site specific, not complex wide basis. NMED has expressed its concerns to the Permittees several times during audits at generator/storage sites about the establishment of complex-wide data usability criteria, and the Permittees indicated that they would establish the criteria. Clearly, this modification does not meet NMED's expectation of complex-wide data usability criteria established by the Permittees, as each site is to establish their own data usability criteria.
d.3. Attachment B3-4 - See Specific Comment b.8 above regarding "designee." Also, audio/videotapes and radiography data forms generated at WIPP must be subject to validation as indicated in B3-10 (see Specific Comment d.1 above).
d.4. Attachment B3-9 - The Item 2 Permit Modification Request removes AK auditing for sites shipping waste to WIPP for characterization. NMED questions this tactic (see General Comment 16, above). Also, it is unclear how the Permittees will assess data usability with respect to AK for those sites shipping waste to WIPP for characterization. The proposed permit modification request implies that AK data usability will not be assessed for wastes shipped to WIPP for characterization.
d.5. Attachment B3-10 - The Item 2 Permit Modification Request attempts to differentiate between the on-site vs. off-site data validation/verification, but in so doing may have diminished the requirement to proceduralize on-site characterization with respect to review, validation, and verification.
d.7. Attachment B3-10c - The Item 2 Permit Modification Request should indicate how the inventory check of the batch data reports shall be conducted on-site (i.e., at WIPP). Also, the addition of "for waste characterized at the originating site" is unnecessary, and the WSPF could be modified to clarify what is required at sites that ship waste to WIPP for characterization. The WSPF completion has been clarified elsewhere.
e.1. Attachment B4-2 - See General Comment 16. Also, it is unclear how the Permittees will ensure that permit requirements with respect to traceability of AK data shall be ensured, and how "inspection of the operating record" will ensure WAP compliance. All AK procedures, whether developed by the Permittees or generator sites, must comply with the WAP. State requirements with respect to hazardous waste designations are already included in the WAP (see Checklist B6-3) and need not be specified via permit modification request.
e.2. Attachment B4-3 - See General Comment 16. The Permit Modification Request is unacceptable because the removal of the audit program (for AK) with respect to off-site generators shipping waste to WIPP is not well justified, and the proposed modification significantly diminishes and dilutes WAP permit requirements with respect to AK. For example, it is unclear whether the Permittees intended to apply the three elements (which ensure AK consistency between sites) to only those sites performing complete waste characterization prior to shipment to WIPP. The Permittees should also reconsider whether the audit program should be removed for off-site facilities sending their waste to WIPP for characterization, or whether the audit should be retained , but modified to include only those elements (i.e., up through confirmation) that the generator storage facility is responsible for.
ATTACHMENT B: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
Figure B-1, WIPP Waste Stream Profile Form - The Permit Modification Request to revise Figure B-1 inappropriately changes WSPF requirements. For example, the word "required" must be retained, as no justification was provided in the permit modification request for removal of this permit requirement. Also, based on NMED's concerns regarding acquisition of AK information at generator sites that must ship waste to WIPP for characterization, the "Part B" Supplemental Information, Required Waste Stream Information, and Required Program Information, and Acceptable Knowledge Information must be revised to indicate that these elements are instead "Part A" requirements, as this information should be obtained from the generator/storage site as part of the AK data package. Likewise, Footnote 3 should read: "Full waste characterization shall either occur at the generator/storage site or at the WIPP site. For those sites electing to characterize waste at WIPP, only Part A information must be included on the WSPF for waste transport; both Parts A and Parts B, however, must be completed for these wastes prior to disposal. For those sites fully characterizing their waste, both Part A and B information is required prior to management, storage, and disposal of waste at WIPP."
Figure B-3.1, Data Collection Design for Characterization of Retrievably Stored Waste When Waste is Characterized at the WIPP Facility - With regard to Figure B-3.1, the Permit Modification Request does not clarify why repackaging/reassignment of waste streams shall not occur (presumably because this could "take" the waste into the newly generated realm, and the Permittees wish to avoid this). The returning of waste to "population or other problem resolution system" is too vague, as specific remedies and actions must be defined. Also, it is unclear how issues with respect to visual examination would be resolved; Figure B-3 indicates a new WSPF could be prepared, but that is not specified on Figure B-3.1
Figure B4-1, Compilation of Acceptable Knowledge Documentation - NMED agrees that the titles for Figures B4-3 and B4-1 were inadvertently switched, and should be changed. However, the added text beginning "for generator storage sites…" and the phrase "gather any necessary" are not justified. Information also must be assessed with respect to applicable prohibited items as well as hazardous waste codes.
Figure B4-2, Confirmation of Acceptable Knowledge - The Permit Modification Request does not clarify why the requirement for "data packages" has been replaced with "batch data reports." Also, the confirmation process shall occur prior to shipment when waste is characterized at generator/storage sites, and Figure B4-2 must recognize this as well as the requirement that confirmation data be obtained prior to disposal when waste is characterized at WIPP. As such, Figure B4-2 should include a simple footnote stating that confirmation taking place at generator/storage sites shall be completed prior to waste management, storage, and disposal at WIPP, while confirmation taking place at the WIPP shall occur prior to waste disposal.
Part A, Figures 02-1 and 02-2 . Figures 02-1 and 02-2 were switched during the copying process. As provided in the Permit Modification Request, the Planimetric map is provided in Figure 02-1 as the "General Location of the WIPP Facility," and the general location information is specified as the Planimetric map.