Daily Digest: Republic sues drug company over West Lake cleanup
Plus, Philadelphia recyclables going to WTE, a potential dual-stream comeback in New York and more in our daily roundup.
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
SPLITTING THE CHECK IN MISSOURI
Last month, the EPA approved a long-awaited plan for cleaning up radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton, Missouri. Republic Services, which owns the site via a subsidiary, is among three potentially responsible parties that are now expected to pay for it. At the time, there was some question of whether all would agree to the $205 million price tag. Now, according to a new story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it appears that question isn't settled just yet.
Yesterday, Republic subsidiary Bridgeton Landfill LLC filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri in an effort to make them pay up, too. The main rationale behind this is that the company's predecessor, Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, disposed of residue from uranium refining at the site in the mid-1960s.
While the suit doesn't seek a specific amount of money, it calls for Mallinckrodt to cover a wide range of costs incurred for past and future work at the site (including at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill site) along with legal fees and other related expenses.
“Mallinckrodt, a prime participant in the war effort that led to the contamination of West Lake Landfill, belongs at this table. We have asked a federal court to include them," said a spokesperson for Bridgeton Landfill LLC in an emailed statement.
All three potentially responsible parties — Republic, Exelon Corp. and the U.S. Department of Energy — had agreed to split the estimated $75 million cost of a previous capping plan. Both Republic and Exelon said they preferred this method, but Republic called the new plan "arbitrary and capricious." The company reports it has already spent more than $248 million on clean-up and class action settlements involving the site.
Whether this approach will be successful remains to be seen, but in the meantime it shows how complex such negotiations around Superfund clean-ups can be.
IN OTHER NEWS
Half of Philadelphia's recyclables going to WTE — 6 ABC Action News
Philadelphia's recycling contract with Republic Services expired at the end of September, at which point the company asked for $170 per ton until a new long-term contract was approved. Instead, the Philadelphia Streets Department has reached a short-term agreement with Waste Management to take about half of the city's material. That means the remaining material is now going to a local Covanta waste-to-energy (WTE) facility.
While Philadelphia reportedly hasn't made money on its recycling program since 2012, and The Inquirer reported mounting concerns about cost and contamination in July, this news comes as a surprise. There have been a growing number of stories out of Pennsylvania about rate increases, program reductions and other pending changes, but nothing else on this scale. Philadelphia is in the process of seeking bids for a 10-year contract that could stabilize the situation.
Dual-stream an option in New York after Green Stream — Newsday
Brookhaven, New York, which owns a MRF that serves multiple towns on Long Island, has said it's open to ditching single-stream now that processor Green Stream Recycling is walking away. The relatively new company announced its intentions this week after helping retrofit the MRF in 2013. Brookhaven is accepting bids for a six-month contract, during which time the MRF would likely serve as a transfer and storage facility, with plans to make a decision by Nov. 1. The town, and others that rely on its MRF, wouldn't be alone in a switch back to dual-stream if that ends up being the most cost-effective option. The upstate Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency has also announced plans to stop accepting single-stream material by the end of this year, prompting talk of collection changes for area municipalities.
Kansas woman, struck by collection vehicle, required surgery — Fox 4
A 69-year-old woman was struck by a Republic Services collection vehicle backing up on a dead-end street yesterday morning in Shawnee, Kansas. Fox 4 later reported she was undergoing surgery for a broken pelvis, but is expected to recover. Republic released the following statement: "Our thoughts are with everyone involved in the incident earlier today, including our driver who is understandably shaken up. We are cooperating fully with the local authorities as part of their ongoing response to the matter and referring any media inquiries to the authorities at this time." This is the latest in a series of serious or fatal industry incidents that have occurred throughout October.
Unilever and Veolia sign new packaging agreement — Press Release
The two global companies have signed a three-year agreement "to jointly work on emerging technologies that will help create a circular economy on plastics across various geographies," starting in India and Indonesia. This will start by focusing on material collection to help get more recycled content into the supply chain. Both countries have shown a need for more domestic collection and processing infrastructure in order to boost their economies and help mitigate marine pollution. Additional focus on this topic can be expected at the Our Ocean conference in Indonesia next week.
ISWA moving HQ to the Netherlands — Press Release
The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) recently announced its headquarters will move from Vienna, Austria to Rotterdam in the Netherlands by 2020. ISWA has been in Vienna for 10 years and plans to spend the same term in Rotterdam. "The City of Rotterdam shares an exciting global vision with focus on international collaboration to achieving a circular economy," said ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos. The ISWA World Congress is also set to take place in Rotterdam in 2020.
SEEN & HEARD
Kicked off #Recycling2018 last night in St. Louis with a very happy group of 60 @RECYPartnership recycling guru grantees from 49 states. Thank you @kabtweet @LoopFund @rrecycling for partnering with us to make this happen. Looking forward to today! #RecyclingMatters pic.twitter.com/AQutcH93wq— RecyclingPartnership (@RECYPartnership) October 23, 2018
Sustainable Materials Management on Tribal Lands: Building and Abandoned Mobile Homes Deconstruction Electronics Recycling (2-3:30 ET) Featuring speakers from the EPA, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the Craig Tribal Association.
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email [email protected].
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the county where Rotterdam is located.
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