General Motors Corp. and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 have recently agreed on a more flexible approach to cleaning up hazardous waste at the company's Flint, Mich., facility.
EPA will allow GM flexibility in meeting specific cleanup goals so the cleanup can occur at a faster pace. The agreement also lets GM do the work independently, with less formal oversight from EPA.
The new approach focuses on achieving environmental results, in contrast with traditional, process-based requirements. GM will review the nature and extent of contamination at its facility by investigating releases, sampling and assessing potential risk.
GM has agreed that, by June 30, 2004, it will prove that the facility does not pose health risks, and by June 30, 2005, it will prove that it has controlled the migration of contaminated ground water. The company has also agreed to submit a final cleanup plan to EPA by Dec. 31, 2006, for the southern half of the site and by Dec. 31, 2008, for the northern half of the site.
"EPA has agreed to allow GM more freedom in an attempt to achieve faster environmental improvements. The company will still be held accountable for meeting those goals," said Robert Springer, the agency's director of the regional Waste, Pesticides and Toxics Division. "EPA is pleased that GM has embraced this new approach for its remaining facilities."
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, facilities that generate, treat, store, transport, or dispose of hazardous waste must ensure that it does not present a threat to human health or the environment.