Kansas City, Kan. -- A formal permit modification request by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the General Services Administration (GSA) for the Bannister Federal Complex in Kansas City, Mo., represents a significant step forward in resolving the property’s long-term environmental issues under a single, comprehensive plan, officials of EPA Region 7 and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) said today.
Comments by EPA and MDNR officials came in response to today’s announcement by the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and GSA Region VI, which own properties at the complex. NNSA and GSA will submit a formal application to EPA and MDNR to modify permits related to hazardous and solid waste management that will establish a comprehensive, complex-wide plan for environmental correction actions at the property.
NNSA and GSA jointly announced they will formally apply for modifications to a Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I permit and an EPA Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments Part II permit. These modifications will enable the development of a single set of cleanup goals under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and RCRA-equivalent state laws and regulations as administered by the State of Missouri’s EPA-authorized Hazardous Waste Management Program.
“Through EPA’s work with the Interagency Environmental Leadership Council, we have focused on some complex issues that, until now, have made resolving the environmental issues at Bannister tremendously challenging,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said. “We believe that placing the entire property under a single environmental program will allow for a more cohesive, comprehensive and efficient plan to ensure protection of public health and the environment.”
If the permit modifications are approved, EPA Region 7 will defer moving forward with actions to place the complex on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). Federal regulations allow such deferrals with the expectation that a site will receive attention more quickly than it otherwise would, while providing an appropriate mechanism to assess issues and perform cleanups. The NPL deferral will remain in place until all obligations under the permit modifications are completed.
The permit modification request will require DOE/NNSA and GSA to review previous complex-wide environmental investigations and data, assess current environmental issues, conduct a risk screening based on current and potential future property uses, and evaluate additional opportunities for cleanup in light of NNSA’s Kansas City Plant pending move to new facilities. MDNR and EPA will provide comprehensive technical and regulatory oversight of all activities at the complex under the modified permits.
“The permit modification process will allow the assessment and cleanup of the facility to move forward, address potential public health and environmental concerns, and will ultimately allow for the safe redevelopment and reuse of the site,” said Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “We urge interested individuals and community groups to participate in this process.”
As part of this process, NNSA and GSA will establish a 60-day public comment period to allow interested parties from the community to participate. Once the two agencies have received public input, they will respond to questions raised during the comment period and provide that information to MDNR and EPA. MDNR and EPA Region 7 have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement that establishes how each agency will conduct oversight and decision-making on the permit modification request.
Once the permit modification proposal is complete, MDNR and EPA will review the permit modification request and prepare a draft Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I permit and EPA Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments Part II permit. MDNR and EPA will then place the draft permits on a 45-day public comment period to allow public participation during the permit modification process. Following the second comment period, MDNR and EPA will issue a formal response to all public comments and make final permit modification decisions.