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Sims subject to EPA restrictions at Va. site

Keywords: Tags  Sims Metal Management, Environmental Protection Agency, scrap, scrapyard, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — Sims Metal Management Ltd. is subject to proposed regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that could result in soil and groundwater use restrictions at the New York-based company’s Suffolk, Va., scrapyard.

The EPA in June released its corrective action program for the site, which has been monitored by the agency since the 1990s due to improper hazardous waste management by previous owners and operators Old Dominion Wood Preservers. Sims Metal Management purchased the site in 2006 and has since been subject to the EPA jurisdiction of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

In the past three years, traces of arsenic and chromium above the EPA’s residential soil screening levels were detected in soil samples from the site, with arsenic, benzene and lead found in groundwater samples.

While the EPA’s summary of risks at the site concluded that "soils and groundwater at the site do not pose a threat to human health or the environment under the current and anticipated future use scenarios," Sims Metal Management will be subject to "institutional controls" under the corrective action program. These include restrictions on the use of the site for "residential, agricultural or recreational purposes," as well as limits on "earth-moving activities," including excavation, drilling and construction.

Sims Metal Management was found directly responsible for contaminated groundwater that the agency will monitor with a natural attenuation process, an EPA spokeswoman told AMM, adding that since the company is "environmentally liable" for the site it is financially liable for carrying out the controls and regulations.

A 30-day comment period on the EPA’s proposed decision ends July 26. The agency has yet to receive any comments, the spokeswoman said.

Sims Metal Management couldn’t be reached for comment on the EPA’s proposed decision.

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