Tag Archives: waste

EPA gets rid of waste at Texas toxic sites, won'' t state from where

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017|12:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON– The Environmental Protection Agency says it has recuperated 517 containers of “unknown, potentially harmful product” from highly polluted poisonous waste sites in Texas that flooded last month during Hurricane Harvey.

The firm has not provided details about which Superfund sites the product originated from, why the contaminants at concern have not been identified and whether there’s a threat to human health.

The one-sentence disclosure about the 517 containers was made Friday night deep within a media release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency summarizing the federal government’s response to the terrible storm.

At least seven Superfund sites around Houston were flooded in the days after Harvey’s record-shattering rains stopped. Associated Press journalists surveyed the flooded sites by boat, car and on foot. The EPA stated at the time that its workers had been not able to reach the websites, though they surveyed the places utilizing aerial photos.

The United States federal government likewise received reports of three spills at the United States Oil Recovery Superfund website, a previous petroleum waste processing plant outside Houston infected with an unsafe brew of cancer-causing chemicals.

Records acquired by the AP from the United States Coast Guard revealed employees at the website called a federal hotline to report spills of unknown materials in unknown quantities. Local contamination control officials photographed 3 large tanks used to save possibly contaminated materials completely underwater on Aug. 29. The EPA later stated there was no proof that close-by Vince Bayou had been affected.

PRP Group, the company formed to tidy up the U.S. Oil Recovery website, said it does unknown what does it cost? product leaked from the tanks, soaking into the soil or flowing into the bayou. As part of the post-storm cleanup, employees have actually vacuumed up 63 truckloads of potentially infected storm water, totaling about 315,000 gallons.

It was not immediately clear whether those truckloads represented any of the 517 containers cited in the FEMA media release on Friday. The EPA has not reacted to questions from AP about activities at U.S. Oil Recovery for more than a week.

About a lots miles east, the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site is on and around a low-lying island that was the website of a paper mill in the 1960s, leaving unsafe levels of dioxins and other lasting toxic substances linked to abnormality and cancer. The website was totally covered with floodwaters when the AP surveyed it on Sept. 1.

To avoid contaminated soil and sediments from being washed down river, about 16 acres of the site was covered in 2011 with an “armored cap” of material and rock. The cap was apparently developed to last for approximately 100 years, but it has required substantial repairs on at least 6 events in the last few years, with large areas ending up being displaced or having been gotten rid of.

The EPA has not reacted to duplicated inquiries over the past two weeks about whether its evaluation has identified whether the cap was similarly damaged throughout Harvey.

The business responsible for cleaning up the website, Waste Management Inc. and International Paper, have actually said there were “a small number of areas where the current layer of armored cap is thinner than required.”

“There was no proof of a release from any of these locations,” the business said, including that sediments there were tested recently.

The EPA has actually not yet launched those test results to the general public.

Hotel buffets, a culprit of food waste, face downsizing

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Steve Marcus Ramen chef Joe Tang mans the Ramen Noodle Bar at The Buffet at Wynn on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.

Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017|2 a.m.

Lawrence Eells, the executive chef at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, in Florida, would like his kitchen area, or at least its operations, to be as lean as his roast beef. So in April, he invited a group of scientists taking a look at ways to lower food waste, specifically around the abundant all-you-can-eat buffets.

Professionals from Ideo, the global style company understood for such productions as Apple’s very first mouse and Ikea’s kitchen area of the future, studied all facets of the buffet, from cooking and discussion to the eating patterns of guests. The idea was to try to determine precisely how much food was consumed or repurposed, versus discarded. They also aimed to identify areas where developments might help cut waste.

Their preliminary finding– that guests consumed simply over half of the food put out– shocked almost everybody. Maybe a lot more striking was that only 10 to 15 percent of the leftovers might be donated or repurposed since of food safety regulations, while the rest wound up in the trash. The large waste generated by coffee, juices and other liquids added to the conundrum.

“It was a shock,” said Eells, who supervises some 5,000 occasion buffets each year and much more buffets in the property’s restaurants. “The scope of the problem was an eye-opener beyond belief.”

It likewise presented an opportunity for the hospitality market to make real headway in addressing a prevalent and expensive issue. The United States produces 63 million tons of food waste annually, at an estimated expense of $218 billion, inning accordance with a 2016 report by ReFED, a group of services, not-for-profit groups and federal government leaders devoted to reducing the country’s waste. Of that, roughly 40 percent is estimated to come from consumer-serving business like hotels and dining establishments.

Though no excellent information exists yet about what does it cost? hotels or their buffets specifically contribute to the overall waste overall, the thinking is that hotels are a perfect place to raise awareness and modification habits around sustainability issues, as they have for water conservation.

“If we can alter the method food service happens in hotels, it has the potential to affect a lot of various hearts and minds,” said Pete Pearson, director of food waste at the World Wildlife Fund. Thanks to a grant from the Rockefeller Structure, Pearson is dealing with Hyatt, Ideo and others to establish a list of best practices for the hospitality market to combat food waste.

By targeting buffets, Hyatt and Ideo are zeroing in on a hotel staple that by definition oozes excess.

The concern is why and what can be done to rein it in without scamming guests.

This is potentially difficult area. For starters, hotels are loath to do anything that may distress guests. Ideo discovered that one essential factor to the food-waste issue is a fear of not having enough food, therefore hotel workers and conference organizers both pump up expected head counts to defend against any scarcity. At the same time, guests stack their plates high to avoid going back for seconds, and to ensure that they get enough of the meals they want.

“For all these various stakeholders, running out of food is their worst problem,” said Hailey Brewer, a director with Ideo in New york city. “Everyone is a little overinsured.”

When services are identified, Hyatt plans to roll them out at homes around the nation, and some simple fixes have actually already been made in Orlando. Instead of large platters of meats and cheese, guests see sample plates that can be ordered directly from servers. Yogurt will be offered in single servings, rather of big bowls. Abundant baskets of support, long a buffet standard, are diminishing; since of altering dietary practices, they now rank high amongst remaining foods. Portion sizes of some products are down, too, while more finger pastries are provided in lieu of entire cakes and pies. Eells said that these changes have actually currently cut buffet expenses by about 10 percent, and that guests have not objected.

Other changes remain in the works to engage consumers and to make buffets more data-driven. The Ideo group has actually been testing subtle messaging that might appear on or near buffets, along with methods for hotels to gather more details about visitors’ dietary preferences and meal schedules. These so-called eater profiles would enable chefs and event planners to understand in advance when restaurants plan to consume off-property or if they wish to request special meals.

Up until now, customers appear available to providing more details about their strategies and food sensitivities, particularly if it helps conservation efforts.

“I wasn’t too familiar with the waste, however if we could do our part that would be an advantage,” stated Dinesh Collins, a travel company operator who regularly attends conferences.

The obstacle will be discovering the ideal balance in between delivering a high level of service and decreasing waste.

“Individuals do not wish to be preached to as they are going through the breakfast buffet,” Pearson said. “At the very same time, we should not allow individuals to stack whatever on their plates then just toss it away.”

State EPA accepts waste disposal remarks

Nevada’s Environmental Protection Department will certainly accept public remarks through Aug. 25 on a draft authorization renewal for the federal Department of Energy to run 4 hazardous waste disposal devices at the Nevada National Security Site.

The units consist of one for keeping contaminated materials mixed with low-level radioactive waste, located at the security site’s Location 5 garbage dump, about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

That is the same location where the Department of Energy is throwing away a powerful type of uranium waste from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

To send comments and see documents about the draft authorization, go to the department’s site, http://ndep.nv.gov/admin/public.htm#bff, send an e-mail to [email protected]!.?.!, or compose to: Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Federal Facilities, ATTN: Justin Costa Rica, 2030 E. Flamingo Road, Suite 230, Las Vegas, NV 89119.

Contact Keith Rogers at [email protected]!.?.! or 702-383-0308. Discover him on Twitter: @KeithRogers2.