The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has notified Waste Management that its Kettleman City landfill has violated disposal rules for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), a banned toxin found in electrical transformers and coolants and has 60 days to correct the problems, reports Sacramento Bee.
Federal inspectors found several problems with disposal of PCBs at the landfill near Kettleman City in February.
If Waste Management does not comply, the EPA will stop sending PCB to the landfill from its cleanup sites, and the company could face fines.
Low levels of PCBs were first found by U.S. EPA inspectors at the Kettleman Hills toxic waste disposal site in 2007, but despite a notice of violation the EPA took no follow-up action, according to the newly appointed EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld, reports Central Valley Business Times. The California EPA says a state investigation is underway.
Residents in the San Joaquin Valley community believe toxic substances at the landfill could be responsible for birth defects and other health issues. In January, the EPA said it planned to investigate the allegations by migrant farm workers in Kettleman City. Residents have also filed a lawsuit to stop the landfill’s expansion.
Kings County supervisors approved a permit for the expansion in December but also needs permits from federal and state agencies, according to Sacramento Bee.
Blumenfeld told the newspaper that Waste Management has to correct the PCB disposal problem before he will consider a permit.
Waste Management said in a press release it has cleaned the storage building and the affected soil will be cleaned immediately per EPA requirements. The company spokesperson also said the health and safety of Kettleman City residents is the company’s highest priority.