[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 1 (Monday, January 3, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 93-32061]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: January 3, 1994]





Notice of Assessment of Need for Supplement to Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement on Long Term Residuals Management for 
Metropolitan Boston

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (Region I).

Action: Notice.


Summary: During 1989, the United States Environmental Protection 
Agency, Region I, Boston, (EPA) prepared Draft and Final Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS and FSEIS, respectively) 
evaluating the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's (MWRA) Long-
Term Residuals Management Program for Metropolitan Boston under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The DSEIS and FSEIS evaluated 
a variety of alternative sites and technologies for managing sewage 
residuals, including the program then proposed by MWRA. Based on this 
evaluation, EPA ultimately approved the MWRA's chosen plan which 
included a primary program and a backup program. In March, 1990 EPA 
issued its record of Decision (ROD) completing the NEPA review.
    The MWRA's primary program consisted of dewatering and heat drying 
sludge into pellets for marketing for beneficial uses (specifically, 
for land application as a fertilizer or soil conditioner). EPA and 
others supported the MWRA's beneficial use program as an 
environmentally progressive approach to sludge management because the 
sludge was to be converted from a disposable waste to a usable product. 
The backup program, consisted of disposal of dewatered sludge and/or 
sludge pellets on an as-needed basis at an MWRA-owned and operated 
landfill which was to be constructed in Walpole, Massachusetts. The 
backup program was designed in recognition of the possibilities that 
(1) technical problems at the heat drying facility could result in the 
MWRA needing to dispose of dewatered sludge; (2) pellet marketing 
success could fluctuate over time due to changing demand or competition 
from other producers; and (3) problems with meeting land application 
regulations could occur.
    Recently, the MWRA proposed a modification to the backup program 
for sludge management. More specifically, MWRA proposed replacing 
immediate construction of the Walpole landfill with a new multi-faceted 
alternative. The new alternative consists of three principal elements. 
First, the MWRA has entered into a contract reserving disposal capacity 
for its entire sludge output over 30 years, whether in pellet or cake 
form, at a commercial landfill in Utah owned and operated by the East 
Carbon Development Corporation Environmental, L.C. (ECDC). This 
contract also provides the MWRA with backup disposal capacity, if 
needed, at a landfill in North Dakota owned and operated by USPCI, Inc. 
(USPCI). Second, the MWRA has developed an ``Emergency Preparedness 
Plan'' (EPP) designed to ensure that the MWRA is immediately able to 
secure alternative commercial disposal services in the event that both 
the Utah and North Dakota landfills were to become unavailable. Third, 
the MWRA has committed to retain ownership of the Walpole landfill 
site, and to maintain the necessary permits and approvals so that the 
landfill could promptly be built if commercial backup services became 
unavailable or unreliable.
    Notice is hereby given that in accordance with its responsibilities 
under NEPA, EPA has assessed the need for a supplement to the 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Residuals Management for 
the Boston Metropolitan Area, in light of the recently proposed 
modifications made by the MWRA.
    EPA has concluded that the MWRA's modified backup disposal program 
appears to be environmentally sound and adequately reliable to support 
the overall residuals management program. EPA has also determined that 
the new backup program will not affect the quality of the human 
environment in a significant manner or to a significant extent not 
already considered in the FSEIS. Therefore, preparation of a supplement 
to the FSEIS is not required and will not be prepared.
    Essentially, just as MWRA residuals were determined to be safe for 
landfilling at the proposed Walpole landfill, the materials should also 
be safe for landfilling at other permitted landfills, such as the ECDC 
or USPCI landfills. In addition, while the transportation impacts of 
the original plan were acceptable, such impacts should actually be 
reduced under the new plan because the MWRA will rely on rail transport 
to the ECDC landfill.
    In addition, EPA believes that the MWRA's modifications to the 
backup plan do not significantly reduce the reliability of the 
residuals management plan. Therefore, the MWRA residuals management 
program is still reasonably and sufficiently reliable. The program 
continues to focus on heat drying and pellet marketing for reuse as its 
primary option, while providing for environmentally sound landfilling 
as the backup. The key change is that the Walpole landfill has been 
relegated to the status of a tertiary backup, while out-of-state 
commercial landfills (i.e., the ECDC, USPCI and EPP landfills) have 
become the primary and secondary backups. While the new program raises 
concerns such as the potential for commercial landfills going out-of-
business or disposal at out-of-state landfills being subject to 
political problems, the MWRA has developed a program that reasonably 
addresses those concerns in light of current conditions. Moreover, the 
new program has one element of added reliability in that the ECDC/USPCI 
contract provides substantially greater disposal capacity than would 
have been provided by the Walpole landfill alone.
    To obtain a copy of EPA's Assessment of Need For Supplement to The 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Long Term Residuals 
Management For Metropolitan Boston contact: Ann Rodney, U.S. EPA, 
Region I, JFK Federal Building, Boston, MA 02203, (617) 565-4424.
Paul Keough,
Acting Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 93-32061 Filed 12-30-93; 8:45 am]