1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: "Bruce Klafter" <bklafter@orrick.com>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 10:40:26 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: RE: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields

Lenny, I think your use of the terminology is a little imprecise. "Hazardous
wastes" are hazardous substances (toxic, corrosive, flammable & listed
substances) which become "wastes" by virtue of their being discarded, i.e.
there is no intention to use or reuse the substances.  Once the material is
transformed into a "waste", it is subject to the treatment, storage and
disposal regime of RCRA (and the States' equivalents).  A "release" into the
environment includes any emitting, pouring, spilling, leaking, abandonment,
etc.  The release may be of hazardous substances or hazardous wastes.  A
release may be intentional or unintentional (e.g. due to an unforseeable
accident).  The cleanup obligations generally disregard intent; the
responsible party, be it an owner, operator, or generator must effect the
cleanup.  Intent figures into the penalties that might be assessed for the
release on top of the cleanup costs.

I would call the dry cleaner sites hazardous waste sites because the
material released into the environment is usually a waste, such as spent
solvent or sludge, and not new PERC which is to be used in the future.

To complicate matters further, I'm of the view that a "brownfield" doesn't
have to be abandoned, merely unused, underused or slated for a change in
use.  Other attributes, such as location, lead to it being classified as a
brownfields site.

P.S.  Depsite all these different views on terminolgy, I don't feel the
usefulness of the discussion group is compromised.  Everyone seems to be
gleaning useful information.

-----Original Message-----
From: Lenny Siegel [mailto:lsiegel@cpeo.org]
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 1999 4:32 PM
To: cpeo-brownfields@igc.org
Subject: Re: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields

I'm not sure if anyone else has tried to clarify this issue yet, but
it's my understanding that hazardouse wastes include both intentional
and non-intentional releases. Dry cleaners that have released PCE into
the soil and groundwater are hazardous waste sites. If they are
abandonned, they may also be brownfields.

Much of the pollution we're now trying to clean up seemed logical at the
time it occurred.


Peter B. Meyer wrote:

> 1. Keith's note references a "contaminated former refinery site" -- and
> thus gives an example of a polluted property that is not, in law, a haz
> waste site -- which is typically defined in terms of INTENTIONAL
> deposits of hazardous wastes. Any old dry cleaner's shop that did what
> seemed to be logical at one time - throwing the used up cleaning fluids
> out the back door to be absorbed into the ground - is a brownfield, but
> is not a haz waste site. Yes, hazardous materials were deposited, but
> they were not clearly understood to be hazardous and the disposal
> practice was not regulated at the time.


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126
MY OLD E-MAIL ADDRESS: lsiegel@igc.org)

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