Certified Mail - Return Receipt Requested

November 27, 2001

Dr. Inés Triay, Manager                                     Mr. John Lee, General Manager
Carlsbad Field Office                                         Westinghouse TRU Solutions LLC
Department of Energy                                         P.O. Box 2078
P. O. Box 3090                                                 Carlsbad, New Mexico 88221-5608
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88221-3090

RE: Final Determination, Class 2 Modification Requests
WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit
EPA I.D. Number NM4890139088

Dear Dr. Triay and Mr. Lee:

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) hereby approves, with changes, certain Class 2 permit modification requests to the WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit as submitted to the Hazardous Waste Bureau (HWB) in the following document:

  • Request for Class 2 Permit Modifications, Dated 8/28/01, Rec’d 8/29/01
  • These modifications were processed by NMED in accordance with the requirements specified in NMAC (incorporating 40 CFR §270.42(b)). NMED approves with changes Item 1 (Headspace Gas Compositing) and Item 3 (Sampling Through Existing Filter Vent Holes), and denies Item 2 (Safety Conditions for Visual Examination). The approved modifications are incorporated in the following attachments:
  • Attachment 1 lists the modifications made to the WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit, indicating the location of the modifications within the permit and a brief description of the modifications.
  • Attachment 2 contains the redline/strikeout pages of the modified permit to help the reader rapidly identify each modification. Language deleted from the permit is stricken out. Language added to the permit is highlighted. Language changed by NMED is further identified by double underline.
  • A clean replacement version of the entire permit will be provided under separate cover after all outstanding Class 1 modifications have been incorporated.

    WIPP is requested to place Attachment 1 in the front of the permit to provide a historical record of other than Class 1 permit modifications. The effective date of the permit modification approval is your date of receipt of this letter.

    For purposes of version control, please note that the date of these modified pages and attachments has been established as November 27, 2001.

    NMED denied Item 2 (Safety Conditions for Visual Examination) because it was sufficiently vague as to require additional clarification before modifying the permit to incorporate the change. The apparent, and commendable, intent of Item 2 was to offer generator sites certain flexibility with respect to containers undergoing visual examination such that containers deemed "unsafe" would not need to be opened. However, "container safety conditions" was too vaguely defined, and could result in inconsistent interpretation from site to site. Also, the statistical implications of removing drums from the visual examination pool were not adequately explained. While it is often possible to mitigate "unsafe" conditions through physical changes to operations rather than abandoning the container altogether, NMED is concerned that such vague language may result in serious differences of interpretation and potential abuse.

    These Class 2 modifications were subject to a sixty (60) day public comment period, which ran from September 4 through November 2, 2001. NMED received written comments from ten individuals and organizations during this time. NMED will provide full response to all public comments within the next several weeks.

    If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Steve Zappe at (505) 428-2517.


    Gregory J. Lewis
    Water and Waste Management Division



    cc: Paul Ritzma, NMED
    James Bearzi, NMED HWB
    John Kieling, NMED HWB
    Steve Zappe, NMED HWB
    Susan McMichael, NMED OGC
    David Neleigh, EPA Region 6
    Mary Kruger, EPA ORIA
    Connie Walker, TechLaw
    File: Red WIPP ‘01