Emergency Response, Battery Spill

KEMRON was contacted by the West Virginia Parkways Authority to respond to a semi-truck wreck at near Mahan, West Virginia. The truck was hauling approximately 750 lead acid batteries to Oshkosh Corporation for military trucks and industrial forklifts. The wreck resulted in damage and dislodging of many batteries releasing battery acid throughout the overturned semi-trailer and releasing an estimated 50 gallons of battery acid onto the roadway. Approximately 600 batteries had damaged casings from the wreck. Most batteries remained within the overturned trailer, but many were damaged and released battery acid within the trailer. KEMRON responded to the scene within one hour of being contacted. KEMRON technicians in Level C PPE and air purifying respirators (APR) assisted emergency personnel with the neutralization of battery acid in the I-77 roadway and within the overturned trailer. KEMRON coordinated the delivery of three rolloff boxes to the wreck site and KEMRON technicians manually moved 750 lead acid batteries from the roadway and trailer to the rolloff boxes safely and without incident. The rolloff boxes containing the batteries were properly manifested and transported to Eco-First in Lesage, WV for segregation allowing most batteries to be sent to Revere Smelting and Recycling in Middletown, NY for recycling, saving the client an estimated $100,000 in hazardous waste disposal cost.

Superior Drum

EPA, NJDEP and Gloucester County officials identified the Superior Drum Site in Gloucester, NJ as an imminent threat when thousands of containers, mostly 275-gallon totes and 55-gallon drums were discovered, located along the road as well as in the woods, wetlands, and elsewhere throughout the 25 acre property. Containers were stacked several high in various locations and were shown to be in various states of deterioration: leaking, void of tops, exposed to weather elements, rusted, damaged due to gunshots, stored improperly, and laying on their sides. Numerous trailers were also found to be open and containing 55-gallon drums. The containers throughout the site appeared to be full, however most did not have labels. Among those with labels, many warned of flammable liquids, corrosives, marine pollutants, flammable solids, and non-hazardous material. NJDEP referred the site to EPA due to the severe conditions at the site, including drum contents spilled in wetlands, contents pooling alongside the road, and unsecured access to the facility. Upon TO award, KEMRON’s Response Manager contacted EPA’s On-Scene Coordinator to review site logistics and commenced field activities. KEMRON immediately secured all access points into the building and around the properties, constructed an earth berm around the outside perimeter of Area 3, collected inventoried, stabilized, secured, segregated, repacked and overpacked drums and containers of waste, provided HazCat services for waste characterization of the materials, conducted air monitoring for volatile organic compounds and fugitive dust emissions during the cleanup, documented site activities with a daily summary report, and prepared an H&S plan and a Work Plan for field activities. A total of 2,300 samples were collected and field characterized. KEMRON personnel continued staging waste containers by waste streams, preparing for bulking operations, overpacking containers, and transferring contents from totes that did not meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications for shipment. KEMRON’s chemist shipped 57 composite samples to the laboratory for analysis. 143 containers of hazardous waste were shipped to a disposal facility, and 14,200 gallons bulk hazardous liquids were shipped for treatment and disposal.

Stafford Act Response

Since the early 2000s, KEMRON has efficiently supported EPA under the Stafford Act to provide response actions and contingencies that might be necessary in the event of natural disaster such as flooding, hurricanes, tornado, etc. During any natural disaster, environmental impacts can be considerable and many times complicated by adverse weather conditions; community involvement issues; widely encompassing geographic areas; rapid environmental and financial impact to residences, businesses, and sensitive areas; impact to life-sustaining operations such as water supplies, utilities and other services; impact to surface and coastal waters; involvement and coordination with all types of emergency response organizations and agencies. Very often these responses can involve multiple facilities and environmental consequences. KEMRON includes personnel currently trained in varying levels of Incident Command System. KEMRON’s experience with the Stafford Act includes the response to Super Storm Sandy; Hurricanes Irene, Rita, Ivan and Opal; Tropical Storm Lee and multiple floods.

As an example, for Hurricane Sandy, KEMRON was tasked with two major areas of work: 1.) Household Hazardous Waste Collection; and 2.) Decontamination and restoration of sewage treatment plants. Other tasks included response crews for specific hazards identified by the EPA OSCs, boat operations, dive operations and Vacuum truck crews collecting oil. The effort was headed up by two KEMRON Response Managers who were stationed at the Region 2 EPA headquarters and manage multiple crews in the field. KEMRON also managed a dive team responsible for repairing a damaged sluice gate which allowed the sewage plant to pump down the flooded plant and start repair operations. Decontamination of two sewage plants by KEMRON crews allowed plant personnel to start repairs on the sewage plant pumps and electronic systems damaged by flood waters. KEMRON’s field employees worked nonstop, including Thanksgiving Day.

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