The hearing, which will be conducted by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Solid Waste Management, will be held Aug. 12 in the large courtroom of the Unicoi County Courthouse. Prior to the formal public hearing, an informational session will be held from 5:30-6 p.m. The session will include a question-and-answer format in which the public can ask questions of the DSWM staff and NFS representatives. The public may also view and discuss the draft permit, a fact sheet, statement of basis and other materials at this time.
The formal public hearing will begin at 6, at which time public comments will be collected for the hearing record without response from the DSWM during the hearing. The DSWM will also explain its tentative decision to reissue the permit and receive oral comments from the public on the draft permit.
A mixed hazardous waste storage permit was first issued to NFS in March 1991, and the second such permit was issued to the company in September 2002. The second permit was set to expire on Sept. 30, 2012.
NFS submitted a permit renewal application to the DSWM in March 2012. This action, which came six months before the permit’s expiration date, continued the permit until a final decision regarding its re-issuance could be made.
The current permit allows NFS to store approximately 28,300 gallons of radiological and hazardous waste in a warehouse building on the company’s property. The active permit allows NFS to store 12 types of waste.
Based upon NFS’s reissue application, the DSWM has drafted a permit for public review. The proposed permit will allow NFS to continue to store up 28,273 gallons of mixed waste, but it will reduce the types of hazardous waste that can be stored from 12 to three — lead, mercury and pyridine.
Corrective action conditions for the solid waste management units (SWMU) and areas of concern are also spelled out in the draft permit.
“NFS shall be required to continue to investigate any release of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents at the facility, regardless of the time at which waste was placed in a unit, and to take appropriate corrective action for any such release,” the DSWM’s notice states.
According to TDEC, the DSWM has made a preliminary determination to reissue the permit. If final authorized to reissue the permit is given, it would be effective for 10 years. The decision to either deny or issue the permit will come after all public comments have been given consideration.
The public comment period opened Wednesday, and the comments made at the Aug. 12 meeting will be recorded as part of the process. Written comments may be submitted to Dilraj Mokha, Treatment, Storage and Disposal Section, DSWM, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 14th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243; or via email at Dilraj.Mokha@tn.gov. Comments must be received by Aug. 26 for consideration.
Copies of the permit application, draft permit, public notice, fact sheet, statement of basis, comment previously made during the application process, and other materials are available for public inspection at the Unicoi County Public Library, 201 Nolichucky Ave., or the Johnson City Public Library, 100 W. Millard St., Johnson City. The materials can also be viewed at the TDEC Johnson City Environmental Field Office, 2305 Silverdale Road, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.